Who is the new executive director of UN Environment?

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The Danish took over for four years and will give priority to climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Know who she is

Who is the new executive director of UN Environment?

Inger Andersen is the name of the new executive director of UN Environment. On June 15, the United Nations announced that for the next four years, Andersen will be the executive director for the environmental program. Last February, Andersen had been nominated by Secretary António Guterres to fill the position.

Leer en español: ¿Quién es la nueva directora ejecutiva de ONU Medio Ambiente?

“I am proud and excited to begin work at the UN Environment Programme in beautiful Kenya at a critical time for humanity”, said the new director. She added that “good environmental stewardship has never been more important. Climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution in all its forms pose a clear and present danger to human and planetary health, and to prosperity".

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Who is Inger Andersen?

  • She is an economist and environmentalist born in Denmark.
  • She has a degree from London Metropolitan University North.
  • She has a Master's degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, specializing in development economics.
  • She is 61 years old and, according to the UN, she has "more than 30 years of experience in the economics of international development, environmental sustainability and policy formulation, as well as in the design and implementation of projects and the generation of impact in the field".
  • Her biography highlights that Andersen served as the Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) between 2015 and 2019.
  • In addition, "she was Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, and previously Vice President of Sustainable Development and Chief of the CGIAR Fund Council."
  • She worked at the United Nations for 12 years.
  • She started in the Sudanosaheliana Office of the United Nations that works on issues of drought and desertification.
  • Later, she was appointed Coordinator of Water and Environment of the United Nations Development Program in the Arab Region.

What challenges does she face?

Inger Andersen does not have it easy. The new director faces a world overwhelmed by environmental problems ranging from climate change to excessive contamination by plastics.

The planet is at a critical point where it must implement effective actions and policies to mitigate the human footprint and encourage change. Andersen will face skeptical politicians like Donald Trump who does not believe in phenomena such as climate change and the devastating consequences we are already experiencing. In addition, next year begins the Paris Agreement and should promote the environmental commitment of the public and private sector for positive results.

On the other hand, it should also prioritize the accelerated loss of flora and fauna worldwide, as well as deforestation in regions such as Latin America. Water will be another factor to consider in its agenda since 2020 is the date that several scientists have pointed out in which cities in Africa and India will be left without water resources. The situation would result in mass displacement and the violation of human rights.

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The picture is not encouraging. On the contrary, Andersen has a number of challenges on the table that he must face. In this regard, the director said: “What I can say now is that the best tool at our disposal is global unity. With challenges as monumental as those we all face, we will succeed together or we will fail together. I will be looking to deepen collaboration with the UN Environment Programme’s partners, old and new, to work towards a healthy environment that allows all of humanity to thrive”.


LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza

Translated from "¿Quién es la nueva directora ejecutiva de ONU Medio Ambiente?"