The Senior Management Team is chaired by the UNEP Executive Director and includes the following members:
|Erik Solheim||Ibrahim Thiaw|
Director, West Asia Office
Patricia J. Beneke
Director, North America Office
Director, Strategic Programme and Policy Division
|Jorge Laguna Celis
Secretary, Governance Affairs Office
Director, Europe Office
Director, New York Office and Assistant Secretary-General of United Nations
Director, Latin America Office
Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo
Director, Africa Office
Director, a.i. Asia and the Pacific Office
UNEP Chief Scientist and Director, Science Division
Anne Le More
|Mette Løyche Wilkie
UNEP Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ibrahim Thiaw was the former Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), He 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.
The Division spear-heads the ecosystem management sub-programme - an approach to natural resources management that focuses on sustaining ecosystems to meet both ecological and human needs as well as promoting a shared vision of a desired future by integrating social, economic and environmental perspectives. This vision has been fostered the best in the area of marine and coastal ecosystems. Here, key areas of work include environmental aspects of fisheries, integrated management of marine protected areas, marine biodiversity and ecosystems, and impacts of climate change on the marine environment. DEPI also coordinates UNEP's efforts in assisting countries to implement the Mauritius Strategy for further implementation of the programme of action for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States.
The focus of the Disaster and Conflict sub-programme is on helping States minimize the threats to human well-being from environmental causes and consequences of disasters and conflicts. In this regard, the Division manages the Haiti programme to oversee its sustainable recovery, environmental assessment of Ogoniland, Nigeria, the DR Congo programme to contribute to its peace-building programme through equitable use of its renewable resources and the on-going programmes in Afghanistan.
Within UNEP, DEPI oversees the Poverty-Environment Initiative - a collaborative initiative between UNEP and UNDP to support country-led efforts to mainstream poverty-environment linkages into national development planning. In cooperation with UNESCO and other partners, the division is active in promoting education for sustainable development through innovative programmes for universities.
Some of the recent achievements of the Division include: the intergovernmental negotiation process leading to the establishment of the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), 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, Ibrahim Thiaw worked as the IUCN Regional Director for West Africa and later as the Acting Director-General of IUCN. With more than 24 years of experience in the field of natural resource management at the national, regional and international levels, Ibrahim Thiaw's particular contribution has been in the successful development and implementation of large scale environmental programmes and projects.
Ibrahim Thiaw started his career with the Ministry of Rural Development of Mauritania and holds an advanced degree in Forestry and Forest product techniques.
He is fluent in French and English.
Secretary-General Appoints Ibrahim Thiaw of Mauritania as Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme
Secretary, Governance Affairs Office
Jorge Laguna Celis joined UNEP in 2014 as a Senior Programme Officer responsible for intergovernmental policy coordination within UNEP’s New York's Office. He brings to UNEP 15 years of experience in intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder processes, global sustainable development policies and sustainable development - related governance. Jorge began his professional career in the late 1990s at the editorial house Fondo de Cultura Económica in Mexico City. In 2002 he joined the Institut d’Estudis Catalans in Barcelona as a research fellow. In 2003 he worked as international consultant for the Directorate of Public Governance and Territorial Development of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In 2005, Jorge joined the Mexican Foreign Service where he first worked on international migration and development and later served, from 2006 to 2010, as Deputy Chief of the Mexican Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and Deputy Permanent Representative to UNEP. During that period, he was also appointed member of the High Level Advisory Panel of the Fifth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5). From 2010 to 2013, Jorge was a lead negotiator during the Rio+20 Conference and senior delegate for Mexico to the Second Committee of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In June 2013 Jorge was commissioned by the Government of Mexico to serve as Senior Advisor for sustainable development and the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the Office of the President of the General Assembly. Jorge holds a BA degree in International Relations from El Colegio de México (Colmex) and an MA degree in International Trade from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences-Po) Paris. He is the author of numerous columns and publications on issues related to international affairs and sustainable development. His latest book entitled "From Rio+20 to a New Development Agenda: Building a Bridge to a Sustainable Future", was published in 2014 by Routledge.
Secretary, Secretariat of Governing Bodies and Stakeholders
Jiri Hlavacek brings to UNEP years of experience in diplomatic and environmental fields. Prior to joining UNEP in 2011 as the Deputy Director of the Division of Regional Cooperation (now the Regional Support Office), Jiri worked with the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic in (1996-2011) in key senior positions, including as the Director General for International Relations and Deputy Minister for International Environmental Affairs and Sustainable Development Agenda. He played an instrumental role in establishing the Government Council for Sustainable Development (2003) and the National Strategy of Sustainable Development in the Czech Republic (2004). Internationally, Jiri was elected to numerous leadership positions in governing bodies of multilateral environmental agreements and intergovernmental bodies, including of the Conferences of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Meetings of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the Environment Policy Committee of OECD and UN Economic Commission for Europe.
Previously, Jiri worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1982-1996), having been assigned to posts in Tanzania, Somalia and finally in Kenya, where he served as the Head of the Embassy and the Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN-Habitat. Jiri also acted as a lecturer at the Prague University of Economics and as a Chairman of “Czech-African Friendship Society” (2004-2008). Jiri is the author and co-author of many articles on issues ranging from sustainable development to African history and politics, e.g. “Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production of the Czech Republic”, “The Czech Republic and Africa”, “International Environmental Law and Environment Protection”, “The Environment for Europe process: Successes and Challenges”
A recipient of “The Montreal Protocol Implementers Award” (2007) by UNEP and the “Award of the Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic” (2009), Jiri has M.A. in International Relations, Juris Doctorate in International Law and Ph.D. in Environmental Studies.
Director, Corporate Services
Theresa Panuccio took up position of Director, Office for Operations and Corporate Services as of 1 August, 2015. Having served for 25 years in a variety of positions in two United Nations agencies in Rome, Italy, Theresa brings a wealth of operational, budgetary, corporate governance, administrative and managerial experience to her directorship at UNEP.
Theresa previously served as the Director of Corporate Administrative Services in the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Rome since 2008, where she provided strategic oversight in streamlining key management, procurement and administrative processes and created efficiencies and cost savings for the organization. Prior to joining FAO, she worked at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, holding various positions over a twenty-year span. She started her career in IFAD as an Economist, then moved to Conference Services, Documents and Publications, ultimately taking on the position of Chief of Administrative Services in 2002 and Director in 2004. During her time in IFAD, she led the design phase of the Organization’s ERP (Peoplesoft) as well as the first phase of the go-live of the new system.
Additionally, Theresa has been involved in a number of UN-related corporate governance roles:
A native New Yorker, Theresa is a graduate of St. John’s University, New York, with a BSc Degree in Sociology. She also received an MSc. Degree in Business Administration from Boston University and a Certificate in Investment Appraisal and Management from Harvard University. She is married with three children.
Director, Programme Management, UNEP Office for Operations and Corporate Services
Christophe Bouvier, a national of France, is the Director of the Office for Operations and Corporate Services (OfO), which he has been heading since September 2011. He joined UNEP in 2007 as UNEP's Representative and Regional Director for Europe.
Christophe has over 30 years of experience within the United Nations system, and has held posts at increasing levels of responsibility, at country, regional and global levels. He has managed and supervised complex operations involving a multiplicity of partners, at international and local, public and private levels. He is known for his negotiating, management and strong leadership skills. He received the UNOPS joint Staff Council/ Executive award for best human resource management in 1996.
In 2007, he was Senior Strategic Advisor on Iraq for UNDP in Amman, Jordan, and as such facilitated the first multi-year UNDP country programme for Iraq, including a joint UNDP/ UNEP emergency and environment pillar.
Prior to the above, he was the UNOPS Regional Director for Central Asia, North Africa, near East and Europe and Director of its Rehabilitation and Social Sustainability Division in Geneva. Inter alia he supervised a team of legal, IT, finance and human resource officers providing support to operational teams in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, and coordinated corporate collaboration with UN entities based in Geneva, Nairobi, Pristina, Guatemala, Rome and Vienna. He helped pioneer partnerships between the UN and the private sector as part of the launch of the Global Compact. In 1996 he negotiated the first operational partnership between the UN and the global associations of Cities and Local Authorities.
Christophe implemented UNDP's PRODERE/ CIREFCA programme in Central America from 1989 to 1995 in partnership with ILO, WHO and UNHCR.
From 1980 to 1989 he served successively as programme officer at FAO's Representations in Brazil, China, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
Christophe holds a post graduate degree from the French Institut National Agronomique, with specialization in economics and comparative development. He speaks five languages fluently (English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese), and still remembers some Chinese and Russian.
Director, Strategic Programme and Policy Division
Michele Candotti joined UNEP in December 2010 as Principal Advisor to the Executive Director and Head of the Office for Policy and Inter-Agency Affairs (OPIA).
Michele brings to UNEP over 25 years of international professional experience in the fields of development cooperation, programme & policy management and the environment, as well as a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
Michele has work experience both in international organizations and in the non-governmental sector. He began his professional career as a Research Officer at a Regional Centre for Agriculture Research in Italy between 1984 and 1986, after which he joined the European Commission as a Junior Professional officer posted in Zambia until 1988. He was subsequently appointed Coordinator of the European Commission's Microprojects Programme in Zambia until 1991.
As Adviser to the National Authorising Officer of the European Development Fund (EDF), initially in Zambia from 1988 and 1994 and later in Kenya, between 1994 and 2000, he was responsible for ensuring coordination of the EDF Country Programme and the liaison between the European Commission and the Governments of Zambia and Kenya.
Subsequently, he joined WWF Italy towards the end of 2000 as a Regional Secretary in Northern Italy. He was appointed Secretary-General of WWF Italy in 2003 and held this position for seven years until his appointment to UNEP.
Michele holds a University Degree in Agriculture Sciences from the Catholic University in Italy and is an Italian national.
UNEP's Programme Strategy and Planning Director
Peter holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Management and a PhD in Forestry and Forest Product Techniques.
He brings to UNEP more than 20 years experience as an environmental scientist, project manager and strategist with the US Government, academia, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and, currently, the private sector where he collaborated closely with the US space agency NASA.
As a scientist, Peter has gained international recognition and respect, particularly in the field of environmental assessment. His career has been characterized by successes in applying environmental science, assessment and information to promoting and developing environmental policies at all levels. Peter is an American national.
Anne Le More, a national of France and a UN staff member, was Senior Adviser to the Chair of OECD Development Assistance Committee. Her work has focused on international engagement in conflict and post-conflict environments, linking the security, political, development and humanitarian spheres.
Ms. Le More brings to the UN Environment Programme excellent diplomatic, communication, leadership and management skills, gained in over fifteen years of professional career, mainly within the United Nations system at New York Headquarters and in complex field environments in the Middle East and Africa.
Prior to the OECD, Ms. Le More worked with the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative / Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the UN peace operation in Mali and was Acting Director of the Stabilization and Recovery section. She came to Bamako from the peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire where she advised the UN Special Representative. She also worked for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, and was involved in a number of political mediation processes, including Darfur and the Middle East peace process.
Ms. Le More holds a Doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford.
Director, Law Division
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema is the Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC), and has worked with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for over two decades. Prior to joining DELC in her current role in June 2014, she was the Deputy Director to the Division of Policy Implementation (DEPI) in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery from 2012 and for one year, also serviced as Acting Director to the same Division.
In 2009 she had been appointed as the Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Acting Executive Secretary of the UNEP/ASCOBANS and Interim Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Gorilla Agreement, all based in Bonn, Germany and held that position until 2013, a year after she joined DEPI.
Elizabeth's work at UNEP has focused on the development, implementation and enforcement environmental laws both at national, regional and international level. She has played different roles in UNEP over the years that have included being a Coordinator of capacity building and compliance and enforcement projects related to environmental law and the multilateral environmental conventions. She was a Senior Legal Officer and Chief of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Support and Cooperation Branch in the then Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC), and later a Principal Legal Officer and Chief of the Biodiversity/Land Law and Governance Branch in the UNEP Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC).
Before joining UNEP, Elizabeth worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOF&IC) of the United Republic of Tanzania and left as a Counsellor/Senior Legal Counsel. During her time with the MOF&IC, she was also a lecturer in Public International Law and Conference Diplomacy at Tanzania's Centre for Foreign Relations and Diplomacy. Currently, she is a visiting lecturer at the University of Nairobi & Kenyatta University - Law Schools and in the past at the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), Rome, Italy.
A lawyer and career diplomat with LLB (Hons) from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, LLM from Dalhousie University, Canada and Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy (Summa Cum Laude) from the Centre of Foreign Relations and Diplomacy in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. She has published several articles related to international environmental law, compliance and enforcement of conventions and developed, among others, a number of multilateral environmental agreements negotiation tools, handbooks and guidelines currently used by UNEP in its capacity building programmes.
Director, Ecosystems Division
Mette Løyche Wilkie took up the position as Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) on 1 June 2014.
Mette brings more than 25 years of experience in providing technical and policy advice to developing countries, partner organizations and international conventions on sustainable forestry, environmental management and rural development issues as well as an extensive experience in managing large and complex programmes.
She commenced her career in Africa and Asia, where she worked for more than ten years on long- and short-term assignments for the UN, bilateral aid programmes, NGOs and private consultancy companies in Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Sudan and Malaysia.
In 1998 she took up a position within the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at their headquarter in Rome, leading the work on identifying and promoting the implementation of best practices in sustainable forest management within a larger landscape approach.
From 2004 to 2011 she led FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment Programme and successfully coordinated the 2005 and 2010 assessments of the status and trends in the extent of the world’s forest resources, their uses, socio-economic values and management status. She also helped set up the Global Forest Observations Initiative under the Group on Earth Observations.
Prior to joining UNEP she held the position of Deputy Director of the Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division in FAO as well as Deputy Coordinator for one of FAO’s five organization-wide strategic objectives - leading staff and divisions through transformational change and towards the implementation of a matrix structure.
She has written extensively on forestry; Small Island Developing States; integrated coastal area management; mangroves; watershed management; land cover assessments; climate change; REDD+ and biodiversity issues.
Mette is a Danish national and holds a BSc and MSc in Forestry from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen as well as an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of London.
Deputy Director and Officer In-charge, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC)
Masa Nagai is Deputy Director, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He joined UNEP in June1988. Since then he has been based in Nairobi, Kenya, the headquarter location of UNEP. Over the past 25 years, as an expert in law and institutions in the field of the environment, he has been dedicating his expert services to the development of international law, institutions and related policies to address emerging environmental issues of global significance and continuously providing support to multilateral negotiations.
He has made specific contribution to the development of international environmental law by providing substantive legal services to the negotiations of global environmental treaties, including the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and, most recently, the Minamata Convention on Mercury. He also contributed to intergovernmental processes addressing international environmental governance and establishment and operationalization of international institutional arrangements, such as the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services.
Also, he steers UNEP’s work in the further progressive development of environmental law and support efforts in countries to strengthen laws and institutional capacities in a range of areas under the UNEP’s long-term environmental law strategic programme, widely known as the Montevideo Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law. Furthermore, he regularly provides legal advice regarding legal and institutional matters concerning the work of the governing body of UNEP. He is a national of Japan, and holds Master’s degree from Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.
Director, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC)
Bakary Kante joined UNEP in February 1999 as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, and was later appointed director of the Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC).
Prior to his appointment, Bakary was well known to UNEP, having played an important role in the field of environmental development at the national and regional levels. He served as Director of the Environment in his native Senegal from 1984 to 1999; he was Chairman of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change; and was Senegal's representative to the UNEP Governing Council from 1984 to 1998. He also led his country's negotiations during many African and G-77 meetings which dealt with global environment and development issues. Upon joining UNEP, Kante was appointed member of the UN Secretary-General's Task Force to assess environmental damage in the war-torn Balkans.
Formerly, as Director of the Division of Policy Development and Law (DPDL), Bakary provided policy guidance and advice in support of the development and implementation of environmental strategies and programmes of action, including water and land policies. He advanced the involvement of civil societies and other major groups in the work of UNEP and facilitated the provision of policy and technical assistance to Governments in the field of environmental law. He played an important role in promoting UNEP's involvement in the work of the UN Development Groups, and spearheaded DPDL's efforts to develop a number of major projects and programmes including the intergovernmental strategic plan on capacity building and technology support, and international environmental governance.
Bakary now spearheads UNEP's work in the field of Environmental Law and Conventions.
He holds a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences. He is married with four children.
Director, Economics Division
Ligia Noronha was appointed Director of UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) in April 2014.
Before joining UNEP, Dr Noronha was Executive Director (Research Coordination) at TERI and Director of the Resources, Regulation and Global Security Division.
She was Secretary, Asian Energy Institute - a network of Asian and non-Asian institutes, (2005-2011); Coordinator, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnerships (REEEP) South Asia, (2005-2009); and Michael Hintze Energy Security Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Security Studies (CISS), University of Sydney, Australia, 2009-11. In 2004-2005, she was Team Leader, Ecosystem approaches to Human Health, at the International Development Research Centre of Canada.
She has served on the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India, and on several expert committees and panels of the Government of India and the Government of Goa, including the Expert Committee on Climate Change, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, and the Task Force on Natural Resources of the Commission on Centre State Relations. She was also a member of the Planning Board of the Government of Goa and Member of the Goa Jubilee Development Council tasked to produce the Goa Vision 2035. She was Member of the External Review Committee, Sustainability Reporting, Shell International, and Member of the Global Assurance Group, Minerals, Metal and Sustainable Development (MMSD) Project.
Dr Noronha has published nationally and internationally on issues relating to energy and resource security, climate change, India's environmental and coastal policy, responsible mining, and resource federalism.
She has a Masters in Economics from the University of Bombay, a Masters in Sea Use Law, Economics, and Policy, and a PhD from the London School of Economics.
UNEP Chief Scientist and Director, Science Division
Jacqueline McGlade is currently Chief Scientist and Director of UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment. Prior to joining UNEP as Special Advisor to the Executive Director on knowledge management and science, Professor Jacqueline McGlade was Executive Director of the European Environment Agency from 2003-2013. Before this, she was Professor in Environmental Informatics in the Department of Mathematics at University College London, Director of the Centre for Coastal and Marine Sciences of the UK Natural Environment Research Council, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick, Director of Theoretical Ecology at the FZ Jülich and Senior Scientist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in the Federal Government of Canada.
Professor McGlade has held a number of key advisory roles, including the Environment Agency for England and Wales, Trustee of the Natural History Museum, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity, International Resource Panel the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research and in various international research programmes on global systems modelling, oceanography and fisheries, governance, climate change and adaptation, indigenous knowledge. She is also a member of a number of environmental prize juries.
Her activities continue to be focused on participatory knowledge systems and citizen science, the dynamics of ecosystems and planetary systems, sustainable development and the governance of natural resources, environmental informatics with particular reference to socio-economic transitions, technological innovation and policy analysis. She has over 200 peer-reviewed papers, articles, books and legal submissions to the International Court of Justice and has produced and presented award winning feature films, TV and radio series. As founder of her own software company, she has developed many software systems and applications particularly in the area of fuzzy logic and decision-making under high uncertainty. She has been elected as a fellow of two learned societies (FLS and FRSA) and has received international prizes and honours from Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Romania, Sweden, UK, the USA including the Zayed prize as a team member of the Millennium Assessment and Global Citizen 2013 for her work on environmental informatics and citizen science.
Director New York Office and Assistant Secretary-General of United Nations
On 1 April 2015, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Elliott Harris as Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Mr. Harris joined UNEP as Director of the New York Office and of the Secretariat of the Environment Management Group (EMG) in September 2013. Prior to joining UNEP, he worked as an Economist in the IMF from 1988 to 2013, gaining extensive policy and programmatic experience in African and Central Asian countries, as well as in the Fiscal Affairs Department on public expenditure policy issues. From July 2002 onward, Mr. Harris served as Advisor and Assistant Director in the IMF’s Strategy, Policy and Review Department, including as Chief of the Development Issues Division. From September 2008 until May 2012, he was also the IMF’s Special Representative to the United Nations, and was closely involved in interagency collaboration in the areas of social protection, the green economy, and fiscal space for social policy. From September 2009 until October 2013, he was the Vice Chair of the High-Level Committee on Programs (HLCP) of the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination.
Special Adviser to the Executive Director on South-South Cooperation
Ms. Tomoko Nishimoto joined UNEP as the Director, Division of Regional Cooperation from May 2010 to October 2013, where she was responsible for overseeing the six regional offices of UNEP: North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Africa; Asia and the Pacific; West Asia; and Europe.
Ms. Nishimoto has over 23 years of experience in sustainable development work within the United Nations. Her professional career has included assignments with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), for 18 years, and with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), for 5 years. She has held senior posts in seven countries. Among other roles, she served as the UNDP Country Director for Kenya (2008-2010), the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Ethiopia (2005-2008) and the UNICEF Zambia Deputy Representative (2001-2005).
During these assignments Ms. Nishimoto supervised and managed diverse functional groups across a wide spectrum of programmes and operations, including programme management, monitoring and evaluation, financial management, human resource management and communications. She provided guidance to a wide variety of programmes and projects in areas such as environment and energy, poverty reduction, water and sanitation, disaster risk reduction, sustainable livelihoods and recovery, food security, good governance, HIV/AIDS, gender, and ICT.
She has been involved with projects executed by various United Nations agencies (such as the United Nations Office for Project Services, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Labour Organization, the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNESCO, and the World Health Organization) with funding from key donors, including the European Commission, the UK Department for International Development, the United States Agency for International Development, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Canada and the World Bank. Ms. Nishimoto has also worked extensively with civil society organizations throughout her career.
Ms. Nishimoto is a trained Facilitator for Human Rights-based Approach to Programming. She is a Japanese national, and holds a BA from Kobe University in Kobe, Japan, and a Masters degree in International Relations from the Graduate School of Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.
Director, Communications Division
Mr. Naysán Sahba, was appointed as Director of UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information in January 2014. Throughout the 17 years of his professional career, which includes assignments with WHO and UNICEF in Africa and Asia, Mr. Sahba has been engaged in significant communication, advocacy, partnership and participation programmes in a wide range of domains related to sustainable development, such as health, education, climate change and disaster risk reduction.
From 2009 to 2013, he served as UNICEF's Chief of Communication, Advocacy, Partnerships and Participation in Mozambique, where he was responsible for public and media relations and communication for development activities.
Prior, Mr. Sahba worked in India with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, supporting communication for immunization interventions in the state of Uttar Pradesh – one of the final frontiers in India's successful fight against wild poliovirus. In 2005 he transferred to UNICEF India’s Delhi office from where he spearheaded UNICEF’s entertainment-education programmes. One of his noted achievements is the conceptualization of a primetime TV serial tackling hard-hitting issues effecting women and children that was made accessible to 400 million Indian households including 41 million under-privileged women aged 15-35, the positive impact on many of whose lives has been measured and documented.
Mr. Sahba began his communication for development career working with indigenous community radio stations in Latin America and producing multimedia content about sustainable approaches to development. He's worked on diverse advocacy, social mobilization, and change communication initiatives and enjoys the action-learning required to accompany individuals, communities, and institutions on the development journey.
Mr Sahba's academic qualifications include a Bachelor degree in English Literature from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts in International Development and English Studies from the University of Guelph.
He is a Canadian national.
Director, Regional Support Office
Munyaradzi Chenje is the Director for the UNEP Regional Support Office (RSO). He has many years of experience in environmental assessment, policy and governance at sub-regional, regional and international levels. Prior to this appointment, Munyaradzi was the Deputy Director of UNEP's New York Office at UN Headquarters, where he was integral to supporting UN member states during the General Assembly's consultations on resolutions on UNEP as a follow-up to the Rio +20 conference outcome document - The Future We Want. He was a member of the UNEP team to the Rio +20 Conference in Brazil and active in the post-2015 follow-up processes in New York.
Munyaradzi’s technical and global and sub-global expertise in environmental assessment saw him head the UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Section at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. He was responsible for facilitating and coordinating the comprehensive and scientifically-credible, policy-relevant assessment on the state and trends of the global environment – the fourth GEO in the integrated assessment series. This assessment report, launched in 2007, pays special attention to the role and impact of the environment on human well-being as well as to the use of environmental valuation as a tool for decision-making.
At the sub-regional level, Munyaradzi was the UNEP Africa Regional Coordinator for early warning and environmental assessments, implementing the Africa Environmental Information Network (AIEN). As Africa Regional Coordinator, he led the team which produced the second integrated assessment report – Africa Environment Outlook: Our Environment, Our Wealth.
Before joining UNEP in 2000, Munyaradzi was the founding Director of the Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre in Southern Africa based in Harare, Zimbabwe, and produced the first State of the Environment report in southern Africa.
Munyaradzi is a member of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences, the Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS) and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication.
Director, West Asia Office
Responsibilities: Lead the regional team of UNEP West Asia in identifying and assessing relevant needs, priorities, trends, developments, and policies at the national, sub-regional, and regional levels, in order to incorporate them into UNEP policy and programme development. Identify and build/strengthen strategic partnerships at all levels, both with West Asia Governments, the private sector and civil society at large to mobilize support for sound environmental action. Represent the Organization at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conferences
Expertise: Senior level expertise in sustainable development, environment, innovation and knowledge management. Strong knowledge in strategic planning, visioning and programme implementation and oversight working with local, national, regional and international organizations.
Professional Background: Twenty seven years of experience with the private sector, scientific and international organizations on sustainable development, water resources management and Environmental Impact Assessment. Before joining UNEP,
He served 14 years in UNDP in a number of positions starting as Assistant Resident Representative for programmes in Jordan, then as the Global Practice Manager of the Energy and Environment Group in New York.
He worked as a Senior Policy Adviser on Environment and as a Knowledge Management Team Leader and head of Innovation unit at the Regional Center in Cairo. Having served in a diverse development domains, Iyad adopts a holistic multi-sectoral approach to development ensuring cross-thematic integration with internal and external partners.
Education: Doctorate degree in Bio-Chemical Engineering from the University of Bath/UK, an outstanding graduate of the Virtual Development Academy - John Hopkins University, and a BA in Chemical Engineering from University of Jordan.
Language: Arabic and English
Director, North America Office
Patricia J. Beneke was appointed Director and Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America in May 2014. Prior to that, she served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for nearly 20 years, specializing on legislation and oversight matters relating to energy policy, water resources, and environmental issues.
In 1995, Ms. Beneke was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, and served in that capacity until 2000. As Assistant Secretary, she played a leadership role with respect to several ecosystem restoration efforts, including those involving the Florida Everglades, the California-San Francisco Bay Delta, and the Platte River. In addition, she was responsible for programs of the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. She was heavily involved in water resource issues and in initiatives to provide quality science for natural resource decision-making.
Early in her career, Ms. Beneke was an attorney at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and she also handled environmental litigation as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, Ms. Beneke served as the Associate Solicitor for Energy and Resources at the U.S. Department of the Interior, and she has also worked in the private sector.
Ms. Beneke has taught natural resources law and policy on an adjunct basis at Harvard Law School, Columbia University Law School, the University of Virginia School of Law, the Georgetown University Law Center, and the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy. She holds a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. degree from Iowa State University.
Director, Europe Office
Jan Dusík was born in Plzeň, Czech Republic. He graduated from the Law School of Charles University, Prague in 1998 and received a doctorate in 2001. In 2001-2002, he undertook a Master of Science Programme on Environmental Change and Management in the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
After the democratic changes in Czechoslovakia, Mr. Dusik became involved with the environmental movement in 1990 - first in the Brontosaurus Movement, from organising youth camps to managing the Movement's central office and international activities in 1993-1995. In 1994, he co-founded the Environmental Law Service, initially an environmental law clinic, which gradually evolved into a highly respected public interest environmental advocacy.
After finishing his law studies in 1998, he joined the International Relations Directorate of the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic. His service for the Ministry involved managing accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union (as Deputy Director and then Director of the EU Department in 1999-2003), coordination of international activities, legislative drafting and procedure and supervision of environmental public administration (as Director General in 2005-2006; Deputy Minister for International Co-operation, Legislation and State Administration from 2006, and First Deputy Minister from 2007). In 2003-2004, he worked for the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission in Brussels, handling cases of infringements of EC environmental legislation.
Over the years in the Czech civil service, Jan has been active in international environmental relations, both bilateral and multilateral. He was the Head of the Delegation of the Czech Republic to numerous meetings of parties of multilateral conventions and international organisations and their bodies (e.g. EU, UNEP, UN CSD, UN ECE, OECD). He served as the Vice - President of the Bureau of the UNEP Governing Council for 2007-2009, as the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole during the 24th session and 10th special session of the UNEP Governing Council. He was the Chairman of the Bureau of the Aarhus Convention for the period 2008-2011 and chaired the 4th Meeting of Parties to the Convention in 2011. He was the leading coordinator for the Czech Republic's Presidency of the EU Environmental Council in the first half of 2009.
Jan was appointed as the Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic in the care-taker government on 30 November 2009. He resigned from this post on 18 March 2010, following a political escalation concerning a project of a major thermal power plant reconstruction. Subsequently, he provided consultancy on international environmental policy and law in a number of countries worldwide, and served as an external advisor to the Czech Minister of Environment.
Jan speaks English, French, Czech and Slovak, some German and Russian.
Jan joined UNEP in July 2011 as the Deputy Director of the Regional Office for Europe and in December 2011 assumed functions of the Acting Director and Regional Representative in that office. In january 2014, Jan Dusík was confirmed as the Director and Regional Representative for UNEP's Office for Europe, (ROE).
Director, Latin America Office
A national of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Heileman has over 20 years experience in the environment arena focusing on environmental management, programme coordination and environmental assessment.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Heileman was on secondment from UNEP to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where he held the position of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, and UNDP and UNFPA Resident Representative in the Comoros. He has previously also served as the UNDP Resident Representative a.i in Angola and before that as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Equatorial Guinea.
His first appointment with UNEP was with the Division of Regional Cooperation (DRC) in Mexico City from 1992 as a Programme Coordinator for the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and with DRC in Nairobi. Thereafter, Mr. Heileman worked at the UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, in Paris where he held various senior programme positions with the Montreal Protocol programme and the Sustainable Consumption and Production programme.
Before joining UNEP, Mr. Heileman worked in Trinidad and Tobago as a Senior Environment Officer with the national Oil Company and with the Institute of Marine Affairs as a Senior Research Officer.
Mr. Heileman holds a Masters degree in Environmental Pollution Control and Operations Research, a Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences and Postgraduate Diplomas in Marine Pollution Chemistry and also in Management Studies.
Director, Africa Office
Ms. Biao is a national of Benin. She has a wealth of experience in international development and over 24 years of experience of environmental projects and programmes management. Prior to her appointment at UNEP, Ms Biao has been with the Canadian Crossroads International (CCI) where she was the Director of Programmes. She also worked for the Canadian Centre for International Studies (CECI) as Regional Director for Africa.
Ms. Biao has worked with a wide range of international organizations, including the UN agencies and leading international institutions working in the area of environment, addressing sustainable development and poverty reduction. She has been involved in multi-country project design, development, management and resource mobilization in numerous countries within Western, Southern, Eastern, and Central Africa. In 2007, she was appointed as Minister of Environment and Nature Protection for the government of Benin.
Ms. Biao holds an M.Sc. in Forestry economics, a PhD in Public Policy and Administration, and a certificate in Renewable Energy.
Director, a.i. Asia and
the Pacific Office
Isabelle Louis has more than 25 years of global, Asia Pacific regional and national level experience in sustainable development and natural resource management as well as in office operations, programme management and multidisciplinary team management.
Isabelle was at the end of March 2016 appointed Director ad interim (a.i.) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP ROAP) located in Bangkok. Prior to this appointment, Isabelle had been Deputy Regional Director at UNEP ROAP since September 2014. She coordinates the UNEP work programme in the region pursuant to the organization’s mandate to support the UN Member States in the region on issues related to the environment, including climate change, environmental governance, and ecosystems management. She facilitates UNEP’s strategic partnerships in the region and supervises UNEP’s presences in China and the Pacific.
Prior to joining UNEP, she managed a consultancy on Sustainability for the. Previous to that, she was the Director of the Asia Pacific Programme for WWF International, based in Switzerland and Singapore, and Deputy Executive Director at WWF Malaysia. She managed WWF International’s offices in China, the Greater Mekong region, Singapore and the Pacific. She facilitated the establishment of regional strategic partnerships as well as coordinated region wide environmental policy advocacy , communications and fundraising initiatives.
Isabelle, a Malaysian national, has a scientific background in Botany and Plant Pathology. She received her BSc and PhD from Sheffield University in the United Kingdom, followed by a Teaching Fellowship at the National University of Singapore and a Post doctorate Fellowship at Harvard University.