Erik Solheim according to Norwegian newspapers is to be announced today as the new Executive Director of UNEP. And later today Monday the 2nd of May ABC News confirm too.
He faced stiff competition for the number one job on the environment in the UN system. In the 6 Executive Directors of UNEP it will mean that developed countries will have had 5 of them with two Canadians (Strong and Dowdeswell) and Germany (Toepfer and Steiner). The only Executive Director to come from a developing country was Dr. Mostafa Kamal Tolba who died recently.
Erik brings considerable experience to the position having held been from 2007 to 2012 the combined portfolio of Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development; he also served as Minister of International Development from 2005 to 2007. During his time as minister Norwegian aid reached 1%, the highest in the world.
Since January 2013 he has been the Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). In the DAC he has emphasized reform of Official Development Assistance, focusing more assistance to the least developed countries and using assistance "smarter" in blending with private investment and supporting domestic resource mobilization through better taxation. He has brought new members into the DAC as well as underlined the need for DAC to partner with China, Arab donors and other main providers of assistance.
He also had been serving as United Nations Environment Programme’s special envoy for environment, conflict and disaster.
He was a member of the Storting, the Norwegian parliament, for the Socialist Left Party (SV)
from 1989 to 2001. He was party leader from 1987 to 1997. The key themes of his leadership were the transformation of the party into Norway’s leading green party, adaptation of Norwegian socialism to the post-Cold War period and the preparation of the party for government participation. Mr Solheim was leader of the Socialist Youth League from 1977 to 1980, and party secretary of the Socialist Left Party from 1981 to 1985. Mr Solheim is widely regarded as one of the architects of the present red green coalition governing Norway.