IUCN appoints its new Director General, Mr Achim Steiner


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New voice for the world’s largest conservation organization

Gland, Switzerland IUCN (1.03.2001) – IUCN-The World Conservation Union, umbrella organization of some 950 NGOs, governmental agencies, and state members, announces the appointment of its new Director General, Mr Achim Steiner, well known for his recent outstanding performance as Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams (WCD).

asteiner.jpg (4342 bytes)At 39, Mr Steiner is one of the youngest ever Directors General of the organization. Brazilian born, German by nationality, and educated at Oxford University, he has spent much of his career in Latin America, Africa ,and Asia, gaining a strong understanding of the realities and challenges facing the Southern Hemisphere.

He joins IUCN having led a three-year consultation process which resulted in the global launch last November of Dams and Development: the Report of the World Commission on Dams to widespread media attention and political acclaim.

This experience, together with his work with multilateral organizations, government, and non-government organizations, and the private sector, has equipped Mr Steiner with strong political and diplomatic skills which are central to IUCN’s position as a forum for diverse interests.

During his time with IUCN’s Global Policy Unit in Washington in the mid-1990s, he moved the organization onto a new level of cooperation and partnership with international agencies such as the World Bank. Before this, he greatly enhanced the work of IUCN’s Southern Africa Regional Office, developing support programmes to government agencies and NGOs in ten countries.

In announcing the appointment IUCN’s President, Yolanda Kakabadse, stressed that Mr Steiner’s understanding of conservation science, biodiversity and ecosystem management has been moulded by practical work in the field, as well as by work with policy development and international conventions. She added that Mr Steiner had been selected from an outstanding shortlist of candidates.

"I believe that his exposure to diverse professional disciplines, and the experience of different cultures and development contexts across four continents, has enabled him to develop an understanding and empathy for the issues at the heart of IUCN’s mission and mandate", she said.

Mr Steiner takes over the reins from Dr Maritta Koch-Weser who left IUCN at the end of December. Dr Simon Stuart is Acting Director General until Mr Steiner joins IUCN at its headquarters in Gland.


For further information, please contact Dr Simon Stuart. Tel. (0041) 22 999 0001

About IUCN

IUCN - The World Conservation Union was founded in 1948 and brings together 79 states, 112 government agencies, 735 NGOs, 35 affiliates, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique world-wide partnership. Its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. Within the framework of global conventions IUCN has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. IUCN has approximately 1000 staff, most of whom are located in its 42 regional and country offices while 100 work at its Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland.

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