UN approves second term for environment chief Inger Andersen

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly elected Inger Andersen of Denmark to a second four-year term as executive director of the United Nations Environment Program on Wednesday, after defeating a Russian-sponsored resolution that would have opened the job to other candidates.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent a note to the 193 members of the General Assembly on Jan. 9 nominating Andersen for re-election. Russia circulated a “draft decision” to the assembly four days later that would have required Guterres “to present candidates for the position of executive director.”

The assembly defeated the Russian proposal by a vote of 13-77 with 62 abstentions. It then held a secret ballot on Andersen’s nomination, approving her on 136-0 vote with 31 abstentions.

The decision extends her leadership of the U.N.’s environment agency, based in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 15, 2023, until June 14, 2027.

Before taking the helm of UNEP in June 2019, Andersen was director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature for four years. Previously, she spent 15 years at the World Bank, including as vice president of the Middle East and North Africa region from 2011 to 2015.

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