UN Environment Boss Erik Solheim Resigns After Accusations of Misuse of Resources

epa05515013 Erik Solheim, new UNEP Executive Director, informs the media about his priorities for UN Environment Programme during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 30 August 2016. EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI
Erik Solheim

UN Environment boss and former Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim has been forced to resign tonight after a UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) report criticised his management style including love for travel.

In a mail sent to the organisation’s staff, Erik Solheim has clearly indicated that the report has made it almost impossible to effectively deliver his mandate and his decision to step down was shared by Secretary General Antonio Guterres who is expected to name a successor.

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The move comes two months after the OIOS report indicted Erik Solheim with having “no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules” while claiming unjustified expenses. The report went further to indicate that UN Environment can’t encourage others to cut on carbon footprint while Erik Solheim is travelling for 529 out of the audited 668 days.

Erik Solheim has also been accused of being dictatorial and misusing UN resources, something which has forced him to variously pay back some of the money.

The OIOS audit report also criticised Erik Solheim’s for “having no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules, and correspondence seen showed management willingness to circumvent regulations and rules which were termed as ‘bureaucratic’.”

When asked by OIOS auditors to account for the 76 days spent in Oslo (Norway) and Paris (France), Erik Solheim email: “We cannot accept this question on holiday vs job … we are not any longer living in the industrial age and they must stop treating me as if I am a 07 to 16 factory worker … the other side of this coin is that they must stop asking this stupid question.”

Erik Solheim’s resignation mail.

UN staff thought that Erik Solheim would be a great leader for the organisation but they were later disappointed when he started being dictatorial and irrational while ignoring oversight.

Erik Solheim incurred a bill of close to Ksh 50 million ($500,000) while traveling for 80 per cent of the first 22 months he was at the UN Environment. The resignation will be effective on November 22.

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Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (


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