CAST OF CHARACTERS

This book creates a rich empirical depiction of UNEP’s first fifty years through formal interviews with about two hundred individuals, including current and former UNEP and UN leaders and staff members, government representatives, intergovernmental organization officials, and civil society representatives. The Cast of Characters section provides an overview of the women and men whose voices appear several times throughout the narrative and illustrates their relationship to and perspective on UNEP. For many others quoted in the book identities remain protected. A dagger (†) following a name indicates that the person is deceased.

Maria Ivanova, Zakri Abdul Hamid, Ban Ki-Moon, Irina Bokova, and Winston Oluwole Soboyejo
Maria Ivanova, Zakri Abdul Hamid, Ban Ki-Moon, Irina Bokova, and Winston Oluwole Soboyejo

UN Scientific Advisory Board with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Dan Magraw and Maria Ivanova
Dan Magraw and Maria Ivanova

Achim Steiner at Global Civil Society Forum (2009)
Achim Steiner at Global Civil Society Forum (2009)

Maria Ivanova, Zakri Abdul Hamid, Ban Ki-Moon, Irina Bokova, and Winston Oluwole Soboyejo
Maria Ivanova, Zakri Abdul Hamid, Ban Ki-Moon, Irina Bokova, and Winston Oluwole Soboyejo

UN Scientific Advisory Board with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

INGER ANDERSEN

Inger Andersen is Under-Secretary- General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Between 2015 and 2019, Ms. Andersen was the Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Ms. Andersen brings a passion for conservation and sustainable development with more than thirty years of experience in international development economics, environmental sustainability and policy making, as well as in designing and implementing projects and generating on-the- ground impact. She has played a key role in supporting riparian countries on international water management and hydro-diplomacy. Ms. Andersen also held various leadership roles at the World Bank for fifteen years, including as Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa and as Vice President for Sustainable Development; and at the United Nations, starting in the UN Sudano-Sahelian Office working on drought and desertification issues.

IDUNN EIDHEIM

Idunn Eidheim joined the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment prior to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and has served as chief negotiator, chair, and bureau member at many summits, international processes, and conferences related to environment and development. Ms. Eidheim served as Deputy Director General for International Cooperation at the ministry and has been responsible for environmental matters in the UN. She was involved in the creation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and in advancing sciencepolicy related initiatives and processes, including UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook and the Global Chemicals Outlook, among others. She was instrumental in bringing the challenges of plastic pollution in the ocean to the international agenda.

KOFI ANNAN†

Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving two terms, from January 1997 to December 2006. During his tenure, he was instrumental in revitalizing the organization through a number of initiatives. One of his main goals was to comprehensively reform the United Nations to make it more effective; he championed a human-rights approach and established ties with a variety of stakeholders from civil society and the private sector. Mr. Annan was an avid advocate of the rule of law and the Millennium Development Goals. He strengthened UN peacekeeping operations, including establishing two intergovernmental bodies, the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. For this work, Mr. Annan and the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. Born in Ghana, he was also a champion for Africa and the environment. He made the environment one of the ten core principles of the UN Global Compact (2000) and acted as founding Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (2012). After his work at the UN, Mr. Annan founded the Kofi Annan Foundation, whose mission is to catalyze the political will to address issues related to human rights, security, and development. He also acted as chairman of The Elders, an international organization created by Nelson Mandela.

BAN KI-MOON

Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, served for two terms, from 2007 to 2016. Previously, he was a diplomat in South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ban Ki-moon is well-known for his leadership on climate change and focus on peacekeeping. The Paris Agreement on climate change was a major accomplishment during his tenure, for which he was named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers and featured on Forbes’s list of The World’s Most Powerful People. In 2013, Ban Ki-moon established the Scientific Advisory Board to the UN Secretary-General; this board focused on science, technology, and innovation and comprised twenty-six scholars from around the world. He teaches at Yonsei University’s Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment in Seoul, South Korea.

AMBASSADOR DR. KIPYEGO CHELUGET

Ambassador Cheluget served as Assistant Secretary-General for Programmes at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). He was appointed to the position by the Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Kampala, Uganda, in November 2012. Before joining the COMESA Secretariat, Ambassador Cheluget served as Deputy High Commissioner of Kenya to New Delhi, India, as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Zambia and Malawi, and as Permanent Representative to COMESA.

ARTHUR DAHL

Arthur Dahl joined UNEP in 1989 as Deputy to the Director of the Oceans and Coastal Areas Programme Activity Centre in Nairobi. Mr. Dahl later served as Deputy Assistant Executive Director in Geneva from 1996 to 1998 and as Director of the Coral Reef Unit from 2000 to 2002, in addition to coordinating the UN system-wide Earthwatch from 1992 to 2000. After retiring from UNEP, he has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton (UK) and an international consultant on indicators of sustainability, environmental assessment and observing strategies, coral reefs, biodiversity, islands, environmental education, and social and economic development. In 2018, Mr. Dahl and colleagues received the New Shape Prize for global governance reform of the Global Challenges Foundation.

ELIZABETH DOWDESWELL

Elizabeth Dowdeswell served as UNEP Executive Director from 1993 to 1998. Before joining UNEP, she served as Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment, where she oversaw the Atmospheric Environment and Meteorological Service and negotiations for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 1996, Ms. Dowdeswell ranked sixty-six in the New York Times Magazine’s list of the one hundred most powerful women in the world. From 2002 to 2010, she served as founding president and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization in Canada. From 1998 to 2010, Ms. Dowdeswell was an adjunct professor at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health at the University of Toronto, and from 2010 until 2014 she served as President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. In September 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Ms. Dowdeswell as Ontario’s 29th Lieutenant Governor.

MOHAMED EL-ASHRY

From 1994 to 2003, Dr. Mohamed El-Ashry served as CEO and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which he helped establish. Under his leadership, the GEF grew from a pilot program created in 1991 to the largest single source of funding for the global environment with 173 member states. Dr. El-Ashry served as Chief Environmental Adviser to the President and Director of the Environment Department at the World Bank, and as Senior Vice President of the World Resources Institute (WRI). He was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on System-wide Coherence. In 2006, Dr. El-Ashry was honored with UNEP’s Champions of the Earth Award for his policy leadership. He is currently a senior fellow at the UN Foundation.

AMBASSADOR LARS-GÖRAN ENGFELDT

Ambassador Lars-Göran Engfeldt served as a Liaison Officer for Sweden at the 1972 Stockholm Conference. He worked at the Swedish Mission to the United Nations in New York from 1968 to 1970 and was Assistant Under-Secretary for UN Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1988. In 1989, he was appointed Ambassador and served as the Permanent Representative to UNEP as well as the Chairman of the Friends of the Chair group for the 1997 Nairobi Declaration. He represented Sweden as Environment Ambassador on the Preparatory Committee to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Ambassador Engfeldt also served as Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden at the Permanent Mission in New York.

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES

Christiana Figueres served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016. She led the UNFCCC to the successful 2015 Paris Climate Conference and Paris Agreement. Throughout her tenure, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the Paris Agreement. For this achievement, she has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy. Together with Tom Rivett-Carnac, she founded Global Optimism Ltd., a purpose-driven enterprise focused on social and environmental change. They are co-authors of the book The Future We Choose and produce the podcast Outrage and Optimism.

RICHARD GARDNER†

Richard Gardner was a longtime professor at Columbia Law School and an advisor to Maurice Strong during the preparatory process for the Stockholm Conference. Gardner had served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for international organization affairs under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He also served as US Ambassador to Italy and Spain under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, respectively, and as a senior advisor to the US Ambassador to the United Nations. A renowned scholar, Richard Gardner published numerous books and articles and shaped careers of generations of students. His popular seminar Legal Aspects of US Foreign Economic Policy run from 1955 to 2012 when Gardner retired, making it the longest-running course of its kind at Columbia Law School.

MARK HALLE

Mark Halle served as Executive Director of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD-Europe) from 2002 until his retirement in 2016. From 1975 to 1980, he was a program officer at UNEP and engaged in the preparation and launch of the World Conservation Strategy. He joined WWF as Conservation Officer in 1980 and IUCN in 1983 where he served as Assistant, then Deputy Director, of the Conservation for Development Centre. He was responsible for all personnel and operations in the field, including IUCN’s growing network of regional and country offices. Mr. Halle subsequently served as Director of Development and Director of IUCN’s Global Policy Division.

CALESTOUS JUMA†

Professor Calestous Juma was an international authority in the application of science and technology to sustainable development. New African magazine recognized him as one of the most influential Africans in 2012, 2013, and 2014. He was Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School. Born and raised in Kenya, Professor Juma founded the Africa Center for Technology Studies—Africa’s first independent policy research institution on technology in development—in Nairobi in 1988. He was the first Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1995–1998) and established the Permanent Secretariat in Montreal.

DONALD W. KANIARU

Donald W. Kaniaru served as an environmental lawyer in Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later at UNEP from 1975 to 2003, where he was Director of the Division on Environmental Policy Implementation as well as Director of the Division of Environmental Conventions. In the early 1970s, Mr. Kaniaru was Second Secretary at Kenya’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and was known as Ambassador Odero-Jowi’s “right-hand man” who helped get UNEP to Nairobi. Mr. Kaniaru is Managing Partner at Kaniaru & Kaniaru Advocates and was Chairman of the National Environment Tribunal of Kenya for nine years, until the end of 2013. He also served at the Center for International Environmental Law, based in Washington, DC, for over ten years.

WANGARI MAATHAI†

Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, an environmental organization that empowers communities, particularly women. In 2004, Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in rural Nyeri, Kenya, she was also the first woman to receive a doctorate (1971) in East and Central Africa and to attain the position of Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Nairobi. Professor Maathai served in Kenya’s Parliament and as Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources. She mobilized a social movement in Kenya and saved the Karura Forest from certain destruction in the 1990s.

JAMES “JIM” MACNEILL†

Jim MacNeill served as Director of Environment at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris from 1978 to 1984 and as Secretary General of the World Commission on Environment Development (1984), where he contributed as lead author to the Our Common Future report (1987). He was Special Advisor to Maurice Strong during his time as Secretary-General of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. In 1997, Mr. MacNeill became a member and, in 1999, Chairman of the World Bank’s Inspection Panel. He served in several capacities with the Government of Canada, including at the Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources; as Acting Assistant Deputy Minister of Water and Renewable Resources; and as Special Advisor on the Constitution and Environment in the Privy Council Office.

DANIEL “DAN” MAGRAW

Dan Magraw is President Emeritus of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), which he led from 2002 to 2010. From 1992 to 2001, Mr. Magraw was Director of the International Environmental Law Office at the US Environmental Protection Agency. He served on numerous US delegations to international negotiations, co-chaired a White House assessment of regulation of GMOs, and served as Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of International Activities. He taught at the University of Colorado and was a Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He is Senior Fellow and Professorial Lecturer at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

WILLIAM “BILL” H. MANSFIELD III

Bill Mansfield served as Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations and as UNEP Deputy Executive Director to Dr. Mostafa Tolba from 1986 to 1992. In 1993, Mr. Mansfield served as senior consultant to UNEP’s Executive Director. From 1995 to 1996, he ran the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Nairobi. From 2000 until his retirement in 2017, Mr. Mansfield was Senior Advisor to the Director of the UNEP regional office for North America in Washington, DC.

JULIA MARTON-LEFÈVRE

Julia Marton-Lefèvre served as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 2007 to 2015. Prior positions included Rector of the UN-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica, Executive Director of LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development) International, and Executive Director of the International Council for Science. She began her international career in a programme on environmental education at UNESCO. Ms. Marton-Lefèvre was Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Yale University. She chairs the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). She is a member of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

WANJIRA MATHAI

Wanjira Mathai is the Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the Chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation and the former Chair of the Green Belt Movement, the organization that her mother, Wangari Maathai founded in 1977. Ms. Mathai has led initiatives driving social and environmental change at both the local and global level. She has served in strategic and advocacy roles on climate change, youth leadership, sustainable energy, and landscape restoration at Women Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER) and the Green Belt Movement. Ms. Mathai is one of a few Six Seconds EQ Practitioners in Kenya and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine in 2018.

JOHN MATUSZAK

John Matuszak served for thirty years with the US federal government at the State Department, USAID, and the US Department of Agriculture. He worked as Senior Policy Advisor and Division Chief for Sustainable Development and Multilateral Affairs with the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Mr. Matuszak was elected Vice President of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) Bureau for UNEA-2 in 2016 and UNEA-3 in 2017. He served on the High-Level Group advising UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook publications. Mr. Matuszak was Vice President of the Bureau of Rio+20 and served on the Bureau of the UN Economic Commission for Europe Committee on Environmental Policy. He represented the United States on the ministerial intergovernmental preparatory committee of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

AMBASSADOR JOHN W. MCDONALD†

Ambassador John W. McDonald served as an American diplomat in the fields of development and peacebuilding. As Director of Economic and Social Affairs at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the US State Department in the 1970s, he was instrumental in UNEP’s creation, for which he received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award. In 1974, he was appointed deputy director general of the International Labour Organization. Subsequently, he was appointed as Ambassador twice by President Jimmy Carter and twice by President Ronald Reagan to lead multilateral diplomatic efforts. Ambassador McDonald then joined the State Department’s Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs and retired in 1987 after forty years of service. In 1992, he co-founded the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, which addresses international ethnic conflicts and environmental conditions. He led the establishment of the Pakistan-India Kartarpur Peace Corridor, which gave Sikhs peaceful access to three of their religion’s holy shrines.

AMINA MOHAMMED

Appointed in 2017, Amina Mohammed serves as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. She was Nigeria’s Federal Minister of Environment from November 2015 to December 2016. She worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals and coordinated $1 billion annually in relevant interventions. Ms. Mohammed was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals, while serving as Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning. Ms. Mohammed teaches as Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University and advises many international boards, including the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Women’s Millennium Initiative, and 2016 African Union Reform, among others.

AMBASSADOR JOSEPH ODERO-JOWI†

Ambassador Odero-Jowi was best known for bringing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters to Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Odero-Jowi served as Minister for Economic Planning and Development in 1969, as Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations, and as UN Development Programme chief advisor. An economist, author, and history teacher, he studied at Kagumo Teachers College and in India.

JANOS PASZTOR

Janos Pasztor is the Executive Director of C2G, the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative. Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary-General in the Executive Office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and as Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Change from 2015 to 2016. He was Executive Secretary of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability and Director of the Climate Support Team. Additionally, Mr. Pasztor served as the Director for the Environment Management Group (EMG), a core coordination initiative by UNEP. Early in his career, he was an energy program officer (1986–1989) at UNEP, which led him to the position of Senior Program Officer in the secretariat of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

AMBASSADOR FRANZ PERREZ

Ambassador Franz Perrez is the head of the International Affairs Division of Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment. As Switzerland’s environmental ambassador, Ambassador Perrez is the nation’s lead negotiator on environmental issues such as climate change. He has also worked with the Department of Public International Law, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. Ambassador Perrez served as President of COP11 of the Basel Convention and of COP8 of the Rotterdam Convention, and was panelist in the WTO dispute on tuna-dolphin between Mexico and the United States. He lectures at the University of Bern School of Law on international environmental law.

MANUEL PULGAR-VIDAL

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal was Peru’s Minister of Environment from 2011 to 2016 and President of COP20 of UNFCCC in Lima. He works as a lawyer on climate and energy issues and currently serves as Leader of Climate and Energy Practice at WWF International. He has held leadership positions such as Executive Director of the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law and President of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense. His expertise includes watershed conservation, agricultural research, mining, and natural resource management. Mr. Pulgar-Vidal is also a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in the areas of environmental law, natural resource management and mining, and energy and environment.

JOHN SCANLON

John Scanlon is an international lawyer and Chair of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime and CEO of the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation. From 2010 to 2018, he served as Secretary-General of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. He was Principal Adviser on Policy and Programme, as well as Team Leader of the Strategic Implementation Team at UNEP from 2007-2010. He also served as Director of the Environmental Law Centre and Head of the Environmental Law Programme at IUCN. Before that, Mr. Scanlon was Chief Executive of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs in South Australia. In 2019, John was awarded the prestigious Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to wildlife conservation and protection through roles with international organizations.

YOUBA SOKONA

Youba Sokona is special adviser for sustainable development at the South Centre. He has been engaged in energy, environment, and sustainable development in Africa for over thirty-five years. Mr. Sokona served as Vice- Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and as co-chair of IPCC Working Group III on the mitigation of climate change for the Fifth Assessment Report after being lead author since 1990. Previously, Mr. Sokona served as Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre and Executive Secretary of the Sahara and the Sahel Observatory.

ERIK SOLHEIM

Erik Solheim was appointed as UNEP Executive Director in 2016 and resigned from the position in November 2018. Before joining UNEP, Solheim was head of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). He was leader of the Socialist Left Party in Norway and served in Parliament. He was special advisor to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka, where he was the chief negotiator of the truce between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers in 2002. Solheim has also been involved in peace processes in Nepal, Myanmar, and Sudan. In 2005, he became Minister of International Development, and in 2007 he was appointed Minister of the Environment and held both posts until 2012. During his tenure, Norwegian development aid rose to 1 percent. After resigning from UNEP, Mr. Solheim returned to Norway, where he joined the Green Party and the World Resources Institute as senior advisor. He is also convener of the Belt and Road International Green Development Coalition.

JAMES GUSTAVE “GUS” SPETH

James Gustave “Gus” Speth cofounded the Natural Resources Defense Council and subsequently the World Resources Institute and served on the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of US President Jimmy Carter. Mr. Speth was senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and guided a US environmental task force on international development and environmental security. From 1993 to 1999, he was Administrator of the UN Development Programme. He served as Special Coordinator for Economic and Social Affairs under UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, piloted the UN Development Assistance Plan, and chaired the UN Development Group. From 1999 to 2009, Mr. Speth was Dean of the Yale School of the Environment and after his retirement, he continued teaching at Vermont Law School. He is author of several books on environment and development.

ACHIM STEINER

Achim Steiner served as Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme from 2006 to 2016 and, since 2017, as the Administrator of the UN Development Programme. In the interim, he was the Director of the Oxford Martin School. Prior to joining the UN, Mr. Steiner served as Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He started his career at the Rural Regional Development Department, GIZ, in Germany and from 1991 to 1997 worked at IUCN in South Africa and in Washington, DC. He then became chief technical adviser of the Mekong River Commission and subsequently Secretary-General of the World Commission on Dams. Mr. Steiner was born in Brazil to a German farmer and has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

MAURICE STRONG†

Maurice Strong was a Canadian businessman specializing in oil and mineral resources who also served as UN Under-Secretary- General and became UNEP’s first Executive Director (1973–1975). By his early thirties, Mr. Strong was President of the Power Corporation of Canada. Later, he served as the head of PetroCanada, Canada’s national oil company, as Chairman of the Canada Development Investment Corporation, and as Director of the American private conglomerate Tosco. He later worked as Deputy Minister for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). In 1970, UN Secretary-General U Thant appointed Strong as Secretary-General of the 1972 Stockholm Conference. Mr. Strong also served as Secretary-General of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, as President of the Council of the University of Peace from 1998 to 2006, and as an active honorary professor at Peking University.

IBRAHIM THIAW

Ibrahim Thiaw has been the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification since 2019. Prior to this position, in 2018, Mr. Thiaw was Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General for the Sahel. He was UNEP’s Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations from 2013 to 2018, having previously served as Director of the Division for Environmental Policy Implementation at UNEP. Before joining the UN in 2007, Mr. Thiaw worked as Regional Director for West Africa, and later as acting Director General at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and served in the Ministry of Rural Development in Mauritania for ten years.

MOSTAFA TOLBA†

Dr. Mostafa Tolba was the second and longest-serving UNEP Executive Director, from 1976 to 1992. Dr. Tolba led the Egyptian delegation to the 1972 Stockholm Conference and served as UNEP’s Deputy Director during the mandate of Maurice Strong. Prior to joining UNEP, Dr. Tolba was on the faculty of sciences at Cairo University, where he established a department of microbiology. He was professor and head of the department of botany at the University of Baghdad from 1954 to 1959. Thereafter, he joined the Egyptian civil service as Undersecretary of State for Higher Education and Minister of Youth. He was the first president of the newly established Academy for Scientific Research and Technology in 1971. In 1994, upon his retirement from UNEP and return to Egypt, Dr. Tolba established the International Center for Environment and Development (ICED) a non-profit organization financing environmental projects.

KLAUS TÖPFER

Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer started his career in academia and later transitioned into politics. Dr. Töpfer became minister for the Environment and Health in the regional government of Rhineland-Palatinate in 1985. Subsequently, he served as Federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety from 1987 to 1994 and as Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Civil Engineering, and Urban Development from 1994 to 1998. He was actively involved in the preparations for the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and in December 1997, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Dr. Töpfer as UNEP Executive Director. Dr. Töpfer also became Acting Executive Director of UN-Habitat and served in that role until 2000. In 2009, the German government appointed Dr. Töpfer as the founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam.

ANNABELL WAITITU

Annabell Waititu is the Vice President for programs at Big Five Africa Ltd. She works in the water and environment sector in East Africa, particularly on water-sector reforms, climate-resilience integration, and gender-equality mainstreaming. She is an investment committee member of KIFFWA (Kenya Innovative Finance Facility for Water), board member at Sanivation, and associate of (WOCAN) Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management. She has consulted on Water for Africa Cities, the Nile Basin Initiative, Kenya’s water sector reforms, and the Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Program of the World Bank/ WSP, Water and Sanitation projects of USAID, UNICEF, and the Dutch government. Ms. Waititu served at the Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) in Nairobi.

BARBARA MARY WARD, BARONESS JACKSON OF LODSWORTH†

Barbara Ward was an author, an economist, and a longtime champion of social and environmental justice. An early proponent of sustainable development, Ms. Ward was commissioned by Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, to write the Only One Earth report. In 1971, Ward founded the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and served as President and Chair. She was active in the 1974 Cocoyoc Declaration, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and the Vancouver Habitat Conference on Human Settlements. Ms. Ward also taught as a professor of economic development at Columbia University for five years.

MICHAEL ZAMMIT CUTAJAR

Michael Zammit Cutajar headed the UN Climate Change secretariat from 1991 to 2002, organizing the negotiations of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and serving as the Convention’s Executive Secretary (1996–2002). As Malta’s first Ambassador on Climate Change (2002–2011), he took part in and chaired negotiations under the UN Framework Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. In 2015, he advised the French delegation in its Presidency of UNFCCC COP21, which adopted the Paris Agreement. Before his engagement in the climate change arena, Mr. Zammit Cutajar had worked in and around the UN on international trade, development, and environment questions, including on the start- up of UNEP (1971–1974).