Erik Solheim

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Erik Solheim

Erik Solheim (born January 18, 1955 in Oslo ) is a Norwegian politician . He was chairman of the Sosialistisk Venstreparti from 1987 to 1997. From 2016 to 2018, he was Executive Director of the UN Environment Program ( UNEP ).


Solheim began his political career in 1977 when he took over the management of Sosialistisk Ungdom until 1980 . From 1981 to 1985 he was party secretary of the SV and from 1987 to 1997 SV party chairman. Solheim was a member of the Storting for Sør-Trøndelag from 1989 to 1993 and from 1993 to 2001 for Oslo. From 2000 to 2005 he was an advisor to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry in Sri Lanka and played an essential role as a mediator in the peace negotiations between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government in the civil war in Sri Lanka . Since 2005 he has been development aid minister in the red-green government of Norway. During the cabinet reshuffle on October 18, 2007, he also became Minister of the Environment . In 2009 he received the Champions of Earth Award . In the course of a new appointment to the socialist ministerial post, Solheim had to give up his post on March 23, 2012. Solheim described the creation of the UN-REDD program ("United Nations Program to Reduce Emissions Caused by Deforestation and Forest Damage") as one of his main achievements.

In January 2013, Solheim became chairman of the OECD Development Aid Committee . He held this office until June 2016. After being appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon , Solheim was elected Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for an initial four-year term on May 13, 2016 by the General Assembly of the United Nations . He thus succeeded Achim Steiner .

In September 2018, Solheim came under fire after an internal audit report leaked to the Guardian and the BBC accusing him of irresponsible behavior regarding his business trips. The report said that Solheim had been on a business trip on 529 out of 668 working days, resulting in costs of US $ 488,518 (about € 415,071). The main criticism of the report was that there was no control or supervisory body. The business trips were approved by an employee in Solheim's own office. Solheim has made numerous air journeys through all continents with multiple stopovers in Paris and Norway. On one occasion he took an 8-hour flight from Washington, DC, for a weekend in Paris, and then flew back to New York City. The audit report criticized the fact that Solheim, in his role as director of the UN Environment Agency, with his climate-damaging behavior “does not set a positive example for others”.

The countries Sweden and Denmark stopped their financial contribution to the UNEP after the report.

On November 21, 2018, it was announced that Solheim was resigning from his post as Executive Director of UNEP. UN General Secretary António Guterrez accepted his resignation.

In August 2019 he announced that he had become a member of the green party Miljøpartiet De Grønne (MDG).


Solheim is married and has four children.

Web links

Commons : Erik Solheim  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

CV - Erik Solheim. Government of Norway, accessed September 22, 2018 .

Individual evidence

  1. CMS Family Welcomes Incoming UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim , UN Bonn, June 27, 2016
  2. a b CV - Erik Solheim. Government of Norway, accessed September 22, 2018 .
  3. a b c Former DAC Chair: Erik Solheim. OECD, 2016, accessed September 22, 2018 .
  4. Siv Sandvik, Lars Nehru Sand, Kristine Hirsti: - Engasjerte Thorkildsen, energiske Holmås og erfarne Solhjell. NRK online, March 12, 2012, accessed on September 22, 2018 .
  5. ^ Secretary-General Appoints Erik Solheim of Norway Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, Following Election by General Assembly. United Nations, May 13, 2016, accessed September 22, 2018 .
  6. ^ Matt McGrath: Report slams 'high flying' UN environment chief. BBC News, September 21, 2018, accessed September 22, 2018 .
  7. a b Erik Solheim: Head of the UN Environment Program resigns because of questionable air travel . In: ZEIT ONLINE . ( [accessed on November 21, 2018]).
  8. Heidi Schei Lilleås: Erik Solheim has reported seg inn i MDG. In: Nettavisen. August 20, 2019, accessed April 5, 2020 (Norwegian).