Under-fire UN environment chief Erik Solheim resigns

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) – UN environment chief Erik Solheim resigned on Tuesday (Nov 20) after an audit questioning his huge travel expenses triggered an outcry, UN officials said.

The former environment minister of Norway had been at the helm of the Nairobi-based UN Environment since June 2016.

A UN audit found that Solheim had spent nearly US$500 million (S$680 million) on travel and that he claimed unjustified expenses at a time when the world body is struggling with shrinking budgets.

His globe-trotting raised accusations that he showed little regard for the environment and efforts to reduce carbon emissions generated by air travel.

Solheim’s resignation comes ahead of crucial talks opening in Poland on Dec 2 on implementing the Paris climate deal.

A formal UN announcement on the resignation was expected later on Tuesday.

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