STELLAR CAREER TRAJECTORY
Born in Oslo, Mr. Solheim is a Norwegian diplomat well-known in the circles of international environment and development programmes. An active member of Norway’s Green Party, he has served parties, governments and international-level organisations.
Mr. Solheim was Norway’s Minister of the Environment and the Minister of International Development from 2005 to 2012. His commendable work during this period helped raise his name to the international level.
Seeing Mr. Solheim’s work as the Norwegian Minister of Environment, the United Nations chose him to lead its Environment Programme. From June 2016 to November 2018, the diplomat and former politician served as the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme-UNEP. He has led many campaigns focusing on the environment and sustainable development. The vast experience gained over decades makes him perfect as a leader with a primary focus on execution.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
Mr. Solheim’s story as an advocate for ecological causes started at his college, where he studied history, sociology and political science. During his college years at the University of Oslo, he became the leader of the Socialist Youth. After serving for three years as the youth wing leader, he became the party secretary of the Socialist Left Party.
Seven years after graduating, he became the leader of the Socialist Left Party. It is rare to see a rise of a young leader becoming a political figure at a national level so quickly. In 1989, he was chosen by the people of Sør-Trøndelag and sent to the Parliament of Norway.
As time passed, Mr. Solheim kept gaining popularity in the politics of Norway. After the 1989 election, he was elected to the Parliament of Norway again in 1993 and 1997. The leader has been known for his fact-based solid opinions, even if they lead to criticism.
On 17 October 2005, Mr. Solheim was appointed as the Minister of International Development as part of Stoltenberg’s Second Cabinet. Impressed by his work as the International Development Minister, the leadership of the national government appointed him as the environment minister on 18 October 2007.
AN INTERNATIONAL PEACE MAKER
The leadership skills of Mr. Solheim touched the lives of not only Norwegian citizens, but also the people of Sri Lanka. In 2000, he was granted a leave of absence from the Norwegian Parliament to become a special advisor to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka.
In the upcoming few years, he emerged as one of the most well-known peacemaking figures in the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers.
LEAVING A MARK
No matter what political party, government or organisation he served, Mr. Solheim left his mark wherever he went. An active political figure, organisations worldwide seek his advice on the matters of environment and sustainable development for his valuable thoughts.
Mr. Solheim has also written three critically acclaimed books: PolitikkErA Ville, Den Store Samtalen, and Naermere. Due to his extensive work for the environment and climate, he has been awarded with many prestigious awards.
The list of awards include TIME Magazine’s Hero of the Environment and the United Nations’ Environment Champions of the Earth Award. In October 2022, he returned to Sri Lanka after being appointed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe as his International Climate Advisor.