Klaus Toepfer "is widely recognized as having spearheaded environmental policy as Minister of Environment in his home country Germany. He introduced ground breaking environmental regulations and laws such as the law on the life-cycle economy and the packaging recycling system "Green dot". He also initiated several laws to ban the use of environmentally harmful substances such as SO2 and ozone depleting substances. He actively contributed to the success of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and was a forerunner in the negotiations for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the establishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
"He is known internationally for his personal commitment to promote environment and sustainable development, and to fight for the cause of the developing world. Since he was appointed Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by the UN Secretary-General he has restructured the organization under five priority areas (environmental assessment and early warning, development of policy instruments, enhanced coordination with environmental conventions, technology transfer and industry, support to Africa). As a firm believer in social market economy, his vision is to make environment work to improve the lives of present and future generations. Environment should not be seen as an impediment for economic development. Quite to the contrary, protection of natural resources and regulations on the use of harmful substances trigger technology development and create new markets and jobs. Klaus Toepfer believes that environment policy is the peace policy of the future. It is crucial that we create a culture of cooperation and mutual respect between north and south, rich and poor if we want to avoid ever growing tensions in a world where water and other vital resources can no longer be taken for granted.
"Klaus Toepfer became Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) in February 1998. He was also appointed Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (formerly UNCHS/Habitat, now UNHabitat) from July 1998 to August 2000.
"Before joining the United Nations, Klaus Toepfer held several posts in the Federal Government of Germany. He was Federal Minister of Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development as well as Coordinator of the Transfer of Parliament and Federal Government to Berlin from 1994 to 1998. He held office as Federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 1987-1994. Prior to becoming a member of the German Federal Cabinet he was State Minister of Environment and Health of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatine (1985-1987) and State Secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Environment for the same state (1978-1985)." 
"Mr. Toepfer's successor as UNEP Executive Director is Mr. Achim Steiner, currently Director General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). He will start his term of office as UNEP's fifth Executive Director on 15 June 2006. In the intervening period, UNEP's Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Shafqat Kakakhel, will serve as acting Executive Director." 
- Director, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 
- Vice-chair, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development 
- Prize Jury, Volvo Environment Prize 
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Klaus Topfer, United Nations, accessed August 27, 2008.
- Klaus Toepfer, UNEP, accessed July 23, 2008.
- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Board, organizational web page, accessed November 28, 2014.
- Membership, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, accessed August 27, 2008.
- Prize Jury, Volvo Environment Prize, accessed October 6, 2009.