Erik Solheim took the lead of the main body of world donors the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in January 2013. In the DAC he has emphasized reform of Official Development Assistance, focusing more assistance to the least developed countries and using assistance "smarter" in blending with private investment and supporting domestic resource mobilization through better taxation. He has brought new members into the DAC as well as underlined the need for DAC to partner with China, Arab donors and other main providers of assistance.
Erik Solheim is 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 Norwegian aid reached 1%, the highest in the world.
Solheim has focused on fragile states, encouraged use of New Deal principles and worked to align DAC-donors behind state building and peace processes in war torn countries. From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Solheim was the main negotiator in the peace process in Sri Lanka. As minister he contributed to peace processes in Sudan, Nepal, Myanmar and Burundi.
Erik Solheim cites as one of his most important achievements his role in establishing the UN REDD, the global coalition to conserve the world rain forests. He has received several awards for his work on climate and the environment, including UNEP's “Champion of the Earth” award.
He is married, with four children, living in Paris.
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Development Assistance Committee (DAC)
DAC Chair: J. Brian Atwood (2011-2012)