Achim Steiner

Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
Achim Steiner is a global leader in sustainable development and international cooperation.

Why you should listen

Achim Steiner has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas and champions economic development, sustainability and equity. He was elected by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 to head the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which works with 170 countries to support poverty eradication and reduction of inequalities and exclusion. He has been a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to UNDP, he was director of the Oxford Martin School and led the UN Environment Programme, where he evolved the concept of a green economy.

The son of German farmers, Steiner was born in Brazil. He graduated with an MA in philosophy, politics and economics from Worcester College, Oxford University and holds an MA from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

More news and ideas from Achim Steiner


Fairness and Our Future: A day of talks in partnership with the UNDP

December 10, 2020

How do we ensure that tomorrow is better than today, not just for ourselves but also for future generations and the entire planet? Fairness is ultimately the central challenge of sustainable development — development that benefits all, without harming or leaving any behind. At TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future — a virtual program presented […]

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Live from TED2020

Conversations on rebuilding society: Week 4 of TED2020

June 10, 2020

For week 4 of TED2020, leaders in international development, history, architecture and public policy explored how we might rebuild during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing protests against racial injustice in the United States. Below, a recap of their insights. Achim Steiner, head of the United National Development Programme Big idea: The public and private […]

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