Explanation of Vote on Russian Draft Decision on UNEP Executive Director

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, NY
January 18, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States opposes the draft decision put forward by the Russian Federation, which seeks to undermine the Secretary General’s authority in his nomination of the incumbent UNEP Executive Director, Ms. Inger Andersen.

The United States supports following the longstanding practice of electing the Secretary-General’s selected nominee to the position of UNEP Executive Director. We also warmly welcome the recent nomination of Elizabeth Maruma Mrema of Tanzania, to the position of UNEP’s Deputy Executive Director. For three months, the Secretary-General has consulted with regional groups in an open and transparent manner regarding his intention to nominate Ms. Inger Andersen. During this time, no alternative candidate had been proposed. Executive Director Anderson has effectively led the UNEP since 2019 and guided the 5th UN Environmental Assembly of 2022 towards key successes.

We particularly commend Andersen’s own commitment to increasing geographic diversity at UNEP through different recruitment initiatives. In fact, during the last quarter, the largest number of UNEP staff selections were from the Asia Pacific Group at 29%, followed by the African Group at 25%. We support the Secretary-General’s decision to nominate Ms. Andersen for a second term and believe we should honor his choice. We reiterate our strong support to the work of UNEP, and it being headquartered in Nairobi. We express our full confidence in the Secretary General’s choice to nominate ED Andersen for re-election.

We call on all Member States to vote against this draft decision.

Thank you, Mr. President.