Nairobi -- Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, the Minister of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia, has been elected the first president of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).
Hundreds of environment ministers, decision makers, scientists, civil society representatives and business leaders have gathered at the inaugural meeting of UNEA, a new world body that places environmental issues at the heart of international affairs and provides fresh impetus to tackle growing global challenges.
Dr. Oyun was elected president on the first day of the meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, taking over from Sudanese Minister of Environment and Forestry Hassan Abdel-Gadir Hilal, who was President of the Governing Council. She brings a wealth of experience in environmentalism and political consensus-building to this vital role.
She has been a continuously elected Member of Parliament since entering politics in 1998, pushing crucial legislation in areas such as anti-corruption and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2005 to 2008 she chaired the Mongolian Parliament's sub-committee on the MDGs and poverty reduction.
She has been the leader of the Civil Will Green Party since 2000. When Dr. Oyun took up the environment portfolio in 2012, environment became one of the priority agendas of the Mongolian government, which hosted World Environment Day in 2013. Mongolia joined the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) during the event, and has pledged to transition to a green future by promoting renewable energy, sustainable tourism and tackling air pollution, amongst other measures. Mongolia's Parliament recently approved the country's Green Development Strategy.
Dr. Oyun is also the Vice-Chair of Mongolia's National Committee on Sustainable Development, and her ministry is in charge of formulating Mongolia's post-2015 development goals.
Married with three children, Dr. Oyun holds a Ph.D in Earth Sciences from Cambridge University, UK, and a BA and M.Sc. in Geochemistry from Charles University, Czech Republic. She is the founder and head of the Zorig Foundation, a Mongolian organization dedicated to the advancement of democracy and youth education.
The other members of the UNEA bureau are as follows:
H.E. Prof. Judy Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kenya
H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Samy, Ambassador, Head of Sustainable Development and Environment Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt
H.E. Mr. Sargon Lazar Slewa, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Iraq
H.E. Mr. Attila Korodi, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Romania
H.E. Ms. Khatuna Gogaladze, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of the Republic of Georgia
Ms. Idunn Eidheim, Deputy Director General for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Climate and Environment of the Kingdom of Norway
Mr. Chris Vanden Bilcke, Head of Directorate for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium
H.E. Mr. Mariano Castro, Vice-Minister of Environment of Peru
H.E. Mr. James Fletcher, Minister of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology of St. Lucia
About the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)
UNEA is the highest-level UN body ever convened on the environment. It enjoys universal membership of all 193 UN member states as well as other stakeholder groups. With this wide reach into the legislative, financial and development arenas, the new body presents a ground-breaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy. UNEA boasts over 1200 participants, 170 national delegations, 112 delegations headed at minister level and 40 events during the five-day event from 23 to 27 June 2014 at UNEP's Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.