Ibrahim Thiaw is re-appointed as UNCCD Executive Secretary
4 February 2022
UN Secretary-General António Guterres re-appointed Ibrahim Thiaw of Mauritania to head the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for another three-year term.
Since February 2019, Mr. Thiaw has been the Convention’s Executive Secretary, and serves as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Mr. Thiaw has over 40 years of experience in sustainable development, environmental governance and natural resource management.
At UNCCD, Mr. Thiaw has raised global interest in the land agenda, increasing the trust vested by Parties and the international community in the UNCCD process to lead on critical issues, such as land tenure and drought mitigation. During his first term, UNCCD was designated to host major global initiatives, notably the G-20 Global Initiative to Reduce Land Degradation and Conserve Terrestrial Ecosystems and the Great Green Wall Accelerator.
“I would like to express my most sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General and UNCCD Parties for their continued trust to lead the Convention for another term. Our upcoming fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, to be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in May of this year, is a pivotal moment to unite and ramp up efforts to realize an ambitious yet achievable vision of a land-degradation neutral world,” Mr. Thiaw said following his appointment.
“A united vision for land must strengthen land rights, take early action on droughts, and increase support to the Parties and their ability to successfully implement projects. Let’s return one billion of the five billion hectares of land we have degraded back to health,” Thiaw added.
Before joining the Convention, Mr. Thiaw was Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the Sahel and supported ongoing efforts to advance the recalibration of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) and the development of the UN Support Plan for the Sahel.
Prior to that, from 2013 to 2018, he was Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), serving at Assistant Secretary-General level. He played a key role in shaping UNEP’s strategic vision and mandate, overseeing the development and implementation of the mid-term strategy and programme of work, and strengthening collaborations with governments and other environmental governing bodies.
Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Thiaw 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, where he served in the Ministry of Rural Development for ten years. He holds an advanced degree in forestry and forest product techniques.
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