Ibrahim Thiaw

Former Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations


Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw was the Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations until 20 April 2018.

He served in this position since his appointment by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2013. Mr. Thiaw played a critical role in providing leadership and shaping the strategic vision and direction of the organization. He provided direct oversight to the development of the programme of work and played a critical role in the implementation of UN Environment’s mandate and management of the organization, as well as advancing the ongoing internal performance and reform agenda. Mr. Thiaw also contributed to catalysying UN Environment’s political engagement with governments and the relationship with UN Environment’s Governing Bodies, including the United Nations Environmental Assembly.

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Thiaw served as the Director of UN Environment’s Division of Environmental Policy Implementation. In this role, Mr. Thiaw was responsible for conceptualizing and managing UN Environment's activities in two of its core thematic areas of focus – ecosystem management, and conflicts and disasters. He also managed the adaptation component of UN Environment’s climate change sub-theme.

Before joining UN Environment in 2007, Mr. Thiaw worked as the IUCN Regional Director for West Africa and later as the Acting Director-General of IUCN. With 33 years of substantive experience in the fields of sustainable development, environmental governance and natural resource management at the national, regional and international levels, Mr. Thiaw has been successful in the development and implementation of large scale, global environmental programmes and projects and in addressing complex management and organizational challenges.

Mr. Thiaw holds an advanced degree in Forestry and Forest product techniques.

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The Latest

UN Environment congratulates Ibrahim Thiaw on new role

This month, UN Environment celebrates the new opportunities ahead for its much-loved and respected Deputy Executive Director, and congratulates him as he moves into his new role as the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for the Sahel.  More

Not all heroes wear Lycra

Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director for UN Environment and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations More

Press release
UN Environment releases independent audit of sites affected by toxic waste dump in Côte d'Ivoire

UN Environment conducted an independent audit of the sites affected by the 2006 waste dumping from the Probo Koala in various parts of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The audit finds that none of the sites where waste from the Probo Koala was dumped show contamination exceeding the limits set by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for remediation. As a result, none of these sites requires additional intervention to clean up contamination from the 2006 dumping event. One site shows elevated levels of chromium in soil and water. Though this is most likely unrelated to the Probo Koala wastes, the situation requires close monitoring and further assessment. The audit also shows that several environmental “hotspots” are currently developing in Abidjan and require targeted attention. Further monitoring of the public health impacts of the 2006 toxic waste dumping is also needed. More