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Klaus Toepfer is the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), having assumed office for a four-year term on 1 February 1998. He the Acting Executive Director of the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) based in Nairobi as well. Since his appointment, he has chaired a high-level TaskForce which in June presented proposals for the consideration of the Secretary-General on reforming and strengthening UN activities in the environmental and human settlements areas. Toepfer, an economist by training, joined the UN after a long career in German Government. He was the Coordinator for the Transfer of the Bundestag (Parliament) and Federal Government to Berlin. Prior to that, from 1987-1994, he held the position of Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and led the German delegation to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He also served as chair of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development from May 1994 to May 1995.

 

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