Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP Deputy Executive Director and Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations


Ibrahim Thiaw
UNEP Deputy Executive Director and
Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations

Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw took office in August 2013 as the Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) upon his appointment by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Following the decision of Rio +20 to strengthen and upgrade UNEP, Mr. Thiaw will continue to play a critical role in the implementation of UNEP’s mandate and its Medium Term Strategy and Programme of Work, as well as catalyzing UNEP’s political engagement with governments and intergovernmental processes on the first and further sessions of the United Nations Environmental Assembly. Mr. Thiaw’s role also includes advancing the on-going internal performance and reform agenda. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Executive Director Mr. Thiaw served as the Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI). As Director for DEPI, Mr. Thiaw was responsible for conceptualizing and managing UNEP’s activities in two of its core thematic areas of focus – ecosystem management and services and conflicts and disasters. He also managed the adaptation component of UNEP’s climate change sub-theme. Under his leadership, DEPI became one of UNEP’s largest Divisions with staff located in 16 countries around the world and a total biennial budget of USD 220million. He was implemental in building partnerships the UN system as well as with non-UN bodies such as the UNREDD programme (a solid partnership between UNEP, UNDP and FAO) and the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Partnership with IUCN and UNDP. He also managed the UNEP –UNDP Poverty and Environment Partnership, among others. Among the Division’s achievements during his tenure include the intergovernmental negotiation process leading to the establishment of the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) and the establishment of an Economics for Ecosystems Programme – both of which are a follow-up to the recommendations of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA).

Before joining UNEP in 2007, Mr. Thiaw worked as the IUCN Regional Director for West Africa and later as the Acting Direct Director-General of IUCN. With more than 30 years of experience in the field of natural resource management at the national, regional and international levels, Mr. Thiaw’s specific contributions have been in the successful development and implementation of large scale environmental programmes and projects.

Mr.Ibrahim Thiaw at first stresses on the current threat that the world faces due to the overexploitation of resources. He is of the opinion that Government’s monitoring and regulation policies need to be implanted to improve the situation. For developing countries, he asserts that a bird’s eye view is necessary for the assessment of commercial aspects and the long term benefits should be gauged holistically. He explains the ways to make prevalent Practices sustainable and t the ways to tackle increased consumption. Also he stresses that people need to develop awareness in order to pursue sustainable lifestyles .Abundance goes hand in hand with scarcity and these two things are omnipresent. He says that even abundance of resources leads to conflicts and gives various examples how it fuels conflicts.

Mr.Thiaw stresses that there is a need to develop coherent systems that work and are beneficial to all the countries on a global level. He concludes by saying that the World Level Conferences are elemental to make us look at our environment conservational efforts holistically and making us strive for betterment of the Earth.

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