Acting on the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN General Assembly in 2006 unanimously elected Achim Steiner as the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP for a four-year term. He became the fifth Executive Director in UNEP's history. At its 83rd plenary meeting in 2010, the UN General Assembly, on the proposal of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, re-elected Mr. Steiner as Executive Director of UNEP for another four-year term. On 14 March 2014, Mr. Steiner was extended as Executive Director for another two years.
The Secretary-General also appointed Mr. Steiner as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), where he served from March 2009 to May 2011. UNON provides the administrative, conference, security and logistics services to the UN family in Kenya, hosts offices and projects of more than 60 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and over 5,000 staff.
Before joining UNEP, Mr. Steiner served as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 2001 to 2006, and prior to that as Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams. His professional career has included assignments with governmental, non-governmental and international organizations in different parts of the world including India, Pakistan, Germany, Zimbabwe, USA, Vietnam, South Africa, Switzerland and Kenya. He worked both at grassroots level as well as at the highest levels of international policy-making to address the interface between environmental sustainability, social equity and economic development.
Mr. Steiner, a German and Brazilian national, was born in Brazil in 1961. His educational background includes a BA from the University of Oxford as well as an MA from the University of London with specialization in development economics, regional planning, and international development and environment policy. He also studied at the German Development Institute in Berlin as well as the Harvard Business School.
Mr. Steiner also chairs two UN system wide entities:
HLCP - High-level Committee on Programmes of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB); and EMG - United Nations Environment Management Group. He serves on a number of international advisory boards, including the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED).
Mr. Steiner is the recipient of a number of international awards and prizes including:
2010 Leadership Award for Principled Pragmatism - Tällberg Foundation; Shark Guardian of the Year 2008 - Shark Project; Schubert Preis - 2008 Bruno H. Schubert Stiftung Steiger Award - Umwelt 2007. In 2009 His Serene Highness, Prince Albert of Monaco conferred upon Mr. Steiner the decoration of Officer of the Order of Saint Charles.
- "Secretary-General Appoints Achim Steiner as Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme". Press release. United Nations. 16 March 2006.
- "Secretary-General Proposes Re-election by General Assembly of Achim Steiner of Germany to Head United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)". Press release. United Nations. 21 April 2010.
- "United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner to Serve Two More Years, by General Assembly Decision". Press release. United Nations. 14 March 2014.
- This article incorporates information from the revision as of 1 June 2006 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.