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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