The Senior Management Team is chaired by the UNEP Executive Director and includes the following members:
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, 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, 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.
Chief, Executive Office & Principal Advisor to the Executive Director
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.
Director, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC)
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema has worked with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for almost two decades. Until January 2013 since July 2009, she was 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. Since then (January 2013), she has been the Deputy Director and Coordinator, Operations and Programme Delivery Branch in the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI).
Previously, Elizabeth's work at UNEP had 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 which include being a Coordinator of capacity building and compliance and enforcement projects related to environmental law and the multilateral environmental conventions. She had been a Senior Legal Officer and Chief of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Support and Cooperation Branch in the then Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC). Then a Senior Legal Officer and later 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 Tanzania Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOF&IC) 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 - Law School and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).
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.
Mette Løyche Wilkie
Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI)
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, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE)
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, a.i, Division of Early Warning
and Assessment (DEWA)
Jacqueline McGlade is currently Chief Scientist and ad interim 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.
Special Advisor to the Executive Director on Post 2015 and Sustainable Development Goals
Maryam Niamir-Fuller is currently serving as the Special Advisor to the Executive Director on Post 2015 and Sustainable Development Goals. She was formerly the Director of the Division of Global Environment Facility Coordination (DGEF) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
She brings to UNEP 27 years of experience in the technical areas of sustainable rural development and environmental management in Africa, West Asia, Asia and Latin America, including work with USAID, several UN Agencies and international NGOs.
Maryam also has seven years of experience with the GEF, and since 2003, as Principal Technical Advisor for UNDP's GEF Unit in the Focal Area of Land Degradation, and Head of the Sustainable Land Management Team. She has authored numerous technical publications, is an accomplished public speaker as well as a member of several scientific communities.
She holds a Master's Degree in Regional Planning and a PhD in Rangeland Management and Soil Conservation.
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, Division of Communications & Public Information (DCPI)
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.
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.