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Ibrahim Thiaw emerges new head of UNCCD

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, following consultations with the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), on Thursday, January 31, 2019 announced the appointment of Ibrahim Thiaw of Mauritania as the next Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.

Ibrahim Thiaw
Ibrahim Thiaw

He will succeed Monique Barbut of France, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her outstanding commitment and dedicated service to the organisation.

Mr. Thiaw brings to the position almost 40 years of experience in sustainable development, environmental governance and natural resource management. He is currently Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the Sahel. From 2013 to 2018, he was Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where he played a key role in shaping the organisation’s strategic vision, mid-term strategy and programme of work, and strengthened collaborations with Governments and other environmental governing bodies, including the United Nations Environmental Assembly.

Joining the United Nations in 2007, Mr. Thiaw was the Director of UNEP’s Division for Environmental Policy Implementation. Before joining the organisation, he was the Regional Director for West Africa, and later Acting Director General, of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Mr. Thiaw started his career in Mauritania, his home country, where he served in the Ministry of Rural Development for 10 years.  He holds an advanced degree in forestry and forest product techniques.

In a reaction, Thiaw said: “I am truly honoured to be appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Looking forward to working closely with all Parties, staff and partners to the Convention to protect people and ecosystems.”

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