- Tanzanian national Joyce Msuya has been appointed as acting head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
- Prior to joining UN Environment, Ms Msuya served as Adviser to the World Bank Vice President, East Asia and Pacific Region in Washington, D.C.
It's another win for African women as Tanzania’s Joyce Msuya is appointed new head of the United Nations Environment Programme
Ms Msuya comes with a wealth of experience and skills having held several high profile positions previously.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has a new head, although in an acting capacity.
Tanzanian national Joyce Msuya has been appointed as acting head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) after Erik Solheim, the executive director abruptly resigned on Tuesday in the wake of accusations of misuse of funds.
“Thank you @ErikSolheim for your leadership, drive and most importantly, your friendship! All the very best for the future” Ms Msuya tweeted on Thursday.
On 15 August 2018, she was appointed to be the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
Prior to joining UN Environment, Ms Msuya served as Adviser to the World Bank Vice President, East Asia and Pacific Region in Washington, D.C.
Ms Msuya holds a Master of Science in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Immunology from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland.
She also holds an Executive General Management Certificate from Harvard Business School (USA) and a Public Health Certificate from Johns Hopkins University (USA).
Ms Msuya appointment comes at a time when African women are enjoying a resurgence to the top and are being trusted with roles, a decade ago they could only afford to dream about.
On October, Ethiopia’s Parliament approved the East African country’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran of the United Nations and the diplomatic corps. Half the ministers in Africa’s second-most populous country are also women.
Ms Msuya however, wouldn’t find her new role a walk in the park especially coming in the wake of Solheim exit with the UN body attracting more scrutiny in the way it runs its affairs.
Mr Solheim announced he had quit with effect from November 20 in the wake of an internal audit report that said he had gobbled up $500,000 in unnecessary and budgeted travel expenses in just 22 months.
“Moments ago, with a heavy heart, I informed the Secretary-General (António Guterres) of my decision,” Solheim said on Tuesday.
He is also accused of rule-breaking at the Nairobi-headquartered UN agency.
“It is my most sincere hope that this proves to be in the best interest of UN Environment and the wider UN. Despite the challenges this moment brings, I also hope each of you will take pride in what we have achieved together,” said Mr Solheim in a statement to staff.
“I wanted UN Environment to be a lead agency for reform, even if it raised some questions. Doing things differently is never easy and I will depart knowing I never spared a moment in my effort to implement this vision and leave UN Environment more capable and more impactful,” he added.
Mr Solheim is a Norwegian diplomat and a former politician, he took over from Achim Steiner as the executive director of UNEP in 2016.
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