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Director Achim Steiner

Achim Steiner is the Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College.

Achim Steiner was appointed Director of the Oxford Martin School on 1st September 2016. Prior to joining the University of Oxford he served as United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (2006-2016).

During his tenure at the United Nations, Mr Steiner helped to position UNEP as a central global player on issues such as climate change, technology innovation, ecosystems management and the role of markets and the private sector in sustainable development. He also led UNEP through a major reform and transformation process culminating in the UN General Assembly establishing a new UN Environment Assembly in 2014, to foster more effective global environmental cooperation and governance. As Executive Director he pioneered a number of new major initiatives linking economic and environmental transitions such as on the green economy, finance, energy, and resource management. Mr Steiner also served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Chief Executive Board and chaired the UN System’s High Level Committee on Programmes.

During his career, which he began as a development economist and which gradually led him into the broader arena of sustainable development, international relations and global diplomacy, Mr Steiner has led a number of institutions as Chief Executive, including as Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams, Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Director General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). He has lived and worked in Oman, UK, India, Pakistan, Germany, Zimbabwe, USA, Vietnam, South Africa, Switzerland and Kenya.


He currently serves on a number of Boards and Councils – including as International Vice-Chair of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, as Chair of the AGORA Verkehrswende Council, Germany, and as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Sustainability and Legacy Commission.

Mr Steiner was born in Brazil and holds both Brazilian and German nationality. He graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (MA) at the University of Oxford, holds an MA from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and completed his post-graduate studies at the German Development Institute as well as the Harvard Business School Executive Programme. He has been awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the International University in Geneva and is an Honorary Professor at Tongji University, Shanghai. His work and leadership have been recognised through numerous awards such as the Talberg Foundation's Award for Principled Pragmatism, the Bruno H. Schubert Prize for Environmental Leadership, the Slovak Republic's Gold Medal for Diplomatic Service, the Republic of Korea Order of Diplomatic Service Award and the German Sustainability Award. Mr Steiner is an Officer of the Order of St Charles.

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