Globetrotting UN climate chief Erik Solheim claimed $500k in travel expenses

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 21, 2018

Solheim has been in office for the past two and a half years where under his leadership, several countries ratified key treaties aimed at protecting the environment.

The head of the UN's environmental body has resigned after an audit found that he had claimed almost $500,000 in travel expenses in under two years. His resignation is effective Thursday, according to Reuters.

"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", he said.

Solheim expressed hope that his resignation, "after deep reflection and in close consultation with the secretary general", proves to be in the best interest of UNEP "and the wider UN".

Critics described the report's findings as "mind blowing" and an "obscene Carbon dioxide hypocrisy", according to The Guardian, who first reported on the internal report in September.

Solheim said in a statement that he had received the final report of the audit of his travel expenses on Saturday and that "after deep reflection" had chose to step down.

UN Environment OIOS Report
UN Environment OIOS Report

Tanzanian national Joyce Msuya has been appointed as acting head of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) following the resignation of the executive director Erik Solheim.

"Moments ago, with a heavy heart, I informed the Secretary-General (António Guterres) of my decision".

"The secretary-general is pleased to see that UNEP is committed to implementing the recommendations that are found in the OIOS report on the travel office", he said.

"The secretary general is grateful for Mr Solheim's service and recognises he's been a leading voice in bringing the world's attention to critical environmental challenges", Dujarric said.

"The audit said this was a "reputation risk" for an organisation dedicated to fighting climate change", the newspaper reported. "I will continue to champion the cause of the environment!"

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