Patron of Nature Erik Solheim to lead OECD development platform

12 November 2012 | News story

Former Minister of the Environment and International Development of Norway and IUCN Patron of Nature Erik Solheim has been appointed Chair of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Mr Solheim takes over the chairmanship from Brian Atwood, from the US, who will step down at the end of the year.

“I am looking forward to being an advocate for the world’s poor in international arenas", says Mr Solheim. "One of the areas I will focus on is the linkage between development and the environment.

"It is my profound belief that the two major challenges in the world, poverty and environmental degradation, cannot be solved separately. If we try to solve one without the other, we will fail to solve either. Many people make this point, but we – the international community – have not followed up with sufficient action. It is crucial that that climate change adaptation and efforts to protect biodiversity are integrated at all levels of development decision-making. I will also work for more private sector engagement in developing countries, and I will extend a welcome to China and other new donors.”

This confirms what Erik Solheim stated in Jeju, Republic of Korea, where he participated in the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September: “The two separate tribes of environment and development must speak to each other to tackle poverty in a sustainable way. There are numerous examples of countries that have demonstrated that development and environmental conservation are not mutually exclusive. To achieve this, we must mobilize political will from the top down and from the bottom up, and work towards the creation of ‘coalitions of the willing’ to bring about concrete solutions.”

“IUCN is delighted that IUCN's Patron of Nature Erik Solheim will take up this strategically important position," says Poul Engberg-Pedersen, IUCN Deputy Director General. "The IUCN Programme 2013-16 aims specifically to bring together the communities of nature conservation and sustainable development, and Erik Solheim is committed to bringing that about also within OECD. IUCN is currently discussing with Erik Solheim the possibility of joint efforts to create a coalition of the willing to restore rivers for food and water security in a green economy. In IUCN terminology, Erik Solheim agrees that nature offers concrete solutions to the global challenges of poverty eradication, food security and economic development.”

IUCN’s newly adopted Programme 2013-16 aims to mobilize communities working for biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and poverty reduction in common efforts to halt biodiversity loss and apply nature-based solutions to conserve biodiversity, enhance resilience, strengthen equity, reduce poverty and so improve the wellbeing of people on this planet.

For more information on the IUCN Programme 2013-2016 click here
For more information on Patrons for Nature click here