Achim Steiner

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(bureaucrat, diplomat)
Achim Steiner.jpg
Born17. May, 1961
NationalityBrazilian, German
Alma materWorcester College (Oxford), School of Oriental and African Studies, Harvard Business School

Achim Steiner (born 17 May 1961) is an environmentalist, of Brazilian-German ancestry, who currently serves as the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Before joining UNDP, he was Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP (2006–2016), and director of the Oxford Martin School (2016–2017). He has also was Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Secretary-General of the World Commission on Dams.

Early life and education

The son of a German farmer who had emigrated to Rio Grande do Sul,[1] Achim Steiner was born in Brazil in 1961 and holds German as well as Brazilian citizenship. He went to school in Carazinho and at Dover College.[2] He obtained a bachelor's degree from Worcester College of the University of Oxford and a master's degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London, specializing in development economics, regional planning, international development and environmental policy. He also studied at the German Development Institute and the Harvard Business School.[3]


Steiner started his career in 1989 at the Rural Regional Development Department, GIZ, in Germany. From 1991 to 1997 he worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Southern Africa and Washington, D.C. He was Chief Technical Adviser of the Mekong River Commission (1997–1998) before becoming Secretary-General of the World Commission on Dams. In 2001 he returned to IUCN as Director-General.[4]

United Nations Environment Programme, 2006–2016

Acting on the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 unanimously elected Steiner Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a four-year term. At the time, he was not nominated by a Member State, but prevailed over candidates such as Børge Brende of Norway and Rajendra K. Pachauri of India.[5] His mandate was later extended twice, this time on the proposal of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Secretary-General appointed Steiner as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), where he served from March 2009 to May 2011. Within the UN system he also chaired the High-level Committee on Programmes of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination and the United Nations Environment Management Group. On 3 May 2016, Ban Ki-moon announced that the post of Executive Director of UNEP would be taken over by Erik Solheim in June 2016.[6]

Oxford Martin School, 2016–2017

Upon leaving UNEP, Steiner was appointed director of the Oxford Martin School, a post he took up in September 2016.[7] In addition to his role at the University of Oxford, Steiner was appointed Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement by the Federal Government of Germany in October 2016.[8]

In late 2015, Reuters reported that Steiner was one of three candidates shortlisted to succeed António Guterres as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, alongside Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark, Jasmine Whitbread of the United Kingdom, and Filippo Grandi of Italy;[9][10] the post eventually went to Grandi.[11]

United Nations Development Programme, 2017–present

In April 2017, following consultations with the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Steiner as the programme's new Administrator.[12] On 19 April 2017, the United Nations General Assembly confirmed him for a four-year term.

In November 2018, Guterres also appointed Steiner to co-chair (alongside Maria Ramos) the United Nations' Task Force on Digital Financing of Sustainable Development Goals.[13]

Other activities


Event Participated in

WEF/Annual Meeting/202021 January 202024 January 2020World Economic Forum
This mega-summit of the world's ruling class and their political and media appendages happens every year, but 2020 was special, as the continuous corporate media coverage of COVID-19 started more or less from one day to the next on 20/21 January 2020, coinciding with the start of the meeting.


  14. World leaders unite under new initiative to provide quality education and training for young people
  16. Members
  17. Governing Board