Chair, Development Assistance Committee
Erik Solheim took the lead of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in January 2013, a position to which he was unanimously elected. He is now also serving as United Nations Environment Programme’s special envoy for environment, conflict and disaster. From 2007 to 2012 he held the combined portfolio of Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development; he also served as Minister of International Development from 2005 to 2007. During his time as Minister, Mr. Solheim emphasised the importance of conflict prevention, highlighted capital, taxation and business as engines of development, and sought to integrate development assistance into overall foreign policy. He brought Norwegian aid up to 1 % of the GDP, making it with Sweden the highest in the world. Mr. Solheim cites as one of his most important achievements his role in establishing the UN REDD, the global programme to conserve the world rain forests. He also initiated Norwegian partnership with countries such as Brazil, Guyana and Indonesia. Solheim also introduced important new legislation in Norway, notably the Nature Diversity Act that led to the creation of many new national parks. He has received several awards for his work on climate and the environment, including UNEP's “Champion of the Earth” award. From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Solheim was the main negotiator in the peace process in Sri Lanka. He has also contributed to peace processes in Burundi, Nepal, Myanmar and Sudan.