20 Nov 2018 Statement

Statement from Erik Solheim

On Saturday, I received the final report on the audit of official travel undertaken by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services. As I have maintained throughout this process – I have been and remain - committed to doing what I believe to be in the best interest of UN Environment and the mission we are here to achieve.

For this reason, after deep reflection and in close consultation with the Secretary-General, I am stepping down as Executive Director of UN Environment with effect from 22 November 2018. Moments ago, with a heavy heart, I informed the Secretary-General of my decision. He indicated that he will be shortly appointing an Officer in Charge of the Organization.

It is my most sincere hope that this proves to be in the best interest of UN Environment and the wider UN. Despite the challenges this moment brings, I also hope each of you will take pride in what we have achieved together.

From the historic announcement made by Indian prime minister Modi to phase out single-use plastics, the ever-growing list of countries ratifying the Kigali Amendment, the largest-ever gathering of leaders on pollution at the Third Environment Assembly, our incredible partnerships on nature-based farming in countries like Indonesia and India, and the remarkable signing of an agreement by 12 countries guaranteeing environmental rights in Latin America and the Caribbean - we can be immensely proud of our accomplishments and the momentum for action we have created. We have supported so many other great efforts including the Minamata Convention, the European Union platform on single-plastics and so many innovative partnerships with the private sector.

I will remain a committed friend of UN Environment and to all the wonderful individuals and dedicated professionals with whom I have had the privilege to serve.