Klaus Töpfer

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Klaus Töpfer
Flickr - boellstiftung - Conference, Countdown to Copenhagen Klaus Töpfer.jpg
Klaus Töpfer, 2009
Born Klaus Töpfer
(1938-07-29) 29 July 1938 (age 79)
Waldenburg, Silesia
Nationality German
Occupation Politician, UN official

Klaus Töpfer (born 29 July 1938 in Waldenburg, Silesia) is a German politician (CDU) and environmental politics expert. From 1998 to 2006 he was executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Early life and education[edit]

Töpfer studied economics in Mainz, Frankfurt and Münster. In 1968 he earned his doctorate at the University of Münster.

Early career[edit]

In 1971, Töpfer was appointed Head of Planning and Information of the Federal State of Saarland, a post he held until 1978. During that time, he also served as a visiting professor at the Academy of Administrative Sciences in Speyer, and consulted several countries on development policy, among them Egypt, Brazil and Jordan. He spent the following year at the University of Hannover as Professor and Director of the Institute for Spatial Research and Planning.

Political career[edit]

Töpfer became State Minister for the Environment and Health in the regional government of Rhineland-Palatinate in 1985. In 1987 he became Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. From 1994 to 1998 he served as Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Civil Engineering and Urban Development. He was member of the Bundestag from 1990 to 1998 and member of the Steering Committee of the CDU from 1992 to 1998.

In 1998 Töpfer was appointed Under Secretary General of the United Nations, General director of the United Nations office in Nairobi and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In June 2006 he was succeeded in this office by Achim Steiner. As director of UNEP, he has had a key role in gauging and attempting to remedy the environmental costs of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

In 2009 Töpfer was appointed founding director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) which performs research between climate problems and sustainable economics. This institute is located at Potsdam, Germany. The institutes funding is provided by the federal government of Germany Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany).

Töpfer was rumored as a possible successor to the German presidency after Christian Wulff's resignation.[1] He later served as co-chairman of the Federal Government’s Ethics Commission on a Safe Energy Supply.

Since 2013 Töpfer has been heading the project "DEMOENERGY – The Transformation of the Energy System as the Engine for Democratic Innovations"[2] together with Claus Leggewie and Patrizia Nanz (both Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen, Germany). In 2016, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) appointed Töpfer as co-chairman (alongside Juan Somavia) of an Independent Team of Advisors on positioning the UN development system for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Other activities[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]