Erik Solheim was Norwegian Minister for the Environment and International Development from 2007 to 2012 and for International Development from 2005 to 2007. He is a former Chairman of the Socialist Left Party of Norway and a former member of the Parliament of Norway. During his terms as Minister, Erik Solheim launched two major international policy initiatives in support of climate change mitigation and the protection of nature: Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Energy+, which are central elements in international climate change negotiations and the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. For this he was given the “Champion of the Earth” award by the United Nations. Another main achievement is the innovative Norwegian Nature Diversity Act.
Solheim is also an experienced peace negotiator. He was the most recognizable figure in the peace negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers and have also made contributions to peace in Nepal, Sudan and a number of other countries. – I am extremely honored to be a Patron of Nature, he says. – I consider the IUCN to be absolutely crucial to the global struggle for sustainability, poverty reduction and the protection of the beauty of mother Earth. With joint efforts we will prevail!