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Klaus Toepfer to Give Keynote Speech at Economic and Environmental Forum in Vienna

Published: January 22, 2016; 11:30 · (Vindobona)

Good governance in the OSCE area, reinforcing security and stability through co-operation, will be theme of the 24th Economic and Environmental Forum and the 1st Preparatory Meeting taking place on 25 and 26 January in Vienna. The meeting will focus on good environmental governance to enable sustainable economic development.

Klaus Toepfer to give keynote speech at Economic and Environmental Forum in Vienna / Picture: © Flickr / Heinrich Böll Stiftung

The meeting will be opened by the Chairperson of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Eberhard  Pohl, on behalf of the 2016 German OSCE Chairmanship, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities Yurdakul Yigitguden.

Klaus Toepfer, the former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and Helge Wendenburg, Director General for Water Management and Resource Conservation at Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, will give keynote speeches.

The event will gather high level officials, experts and key stakeholders from 57 OSCE participating States and 11 OSCE Partners for Co-operation countries, and representatives of business community, international organizations, civil society and academia.

The participants will discuss how good environmental governance can support sustainable development, foster a favorable business and investment climate, and contribute to prosperity, stability and security. They will also look into the benefits of resource efficiency and green technologies.

A Second Preparatory Meeting will be organized on 19 to 20 May in Berlin and a Concluding Meeting on 14 to 16 September in Prague.

About Klaus Töpfer

Klaus Töpfer (born 29 July 1938 in Waldenburg, Silesia) is a German politician (CDU) and environmental politics expert.

From 1998 to 2006 he was executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Töpfer studied economics in Mainz, Frankfurt and Münster.

In 1968 he earned his doctorate at the University of Münster.

After functioning as government official, professor and adviser on development politics he became minister for the Environment and Health in the regional government of Rhineland-Palatinate in 1985.

In 1987 Töpfer became German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety under Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

From 1994 to 1998 he served as Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Civil Engineering and Urban Development.

He was member of the Bundestag from 1990 to 1998 and member of the Steering Committee of the CDU from 1992 to 1998.

In 1998 Töpfer was appointed Under Secretary General of the United Nations, General director of the United Nations office in Nairobi and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In June 2006 he was succeeded in this office by Achim Steiner.

As director of UNEP, he has had a key role in gauging and attempting to remedy the environmental costs of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

In 2009 Töpfer was appointed founding director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) which performs research between climate problems and sustainable economics. This institute is located at Potsdam, Germany. The institutes funding is provided by the federal government of Germany Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany).

He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the German Foundation for World Population and on the Board of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.

Töpfer was rumored as a possible successor to the German presidency after Christian Wulff's resignation.

Since 2013 he is head of the project “DEMOENERGY – The Transformation of the Energy System as the Engine for Democratic Innovations” together with Claus Leggewie and Patrizia Nanz (both Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen, Germany).