Cameroonian, Dr Richard Munang, first African to head UN Global Env’t Monitoring Systems

Dr. Richard Munang
Cameroonian-born, Dr Richard Munang has been appointed as Head of the Global Environment Monitoring Systems, GEMS at the United Nations Environment Programme.

The United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP announced his appointment in a statement on Wednesday October 18.

The release from the leading environmental authority in the world, states that the recognition follows a trail of his contribution as UNEP’s Africa Climate Change Coordinator and also as UNEP’s Deputy Regional Coordinator.

The renowned scholar and multiple award winning researcher is the first African to occupy that position.
In his new capacity, Dr Munang will now steer global endeavours in environmental monitoring to combat the pressing environmental issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution/waste. 

As the head of Global Environment Monitoring Systems, Dr Munang will embark on a mission to make data the linchpin in combating the leading global crises - climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution/waste. 
Before his appointment, he was occupying the position of Deputy Regional Director of UNEP Africa Office where he led and guided the execution of UNEP’s programmes in Africa.

He led the implementation of UN reforms, advancing air quality solutions and curating lessons on leveraging environmental solutions to combat challenges like inflation, food insecurity, and youth unemployment, which stands as a testament to his visionary strategy for holistic, sustainable development. 

Appointment dedicated to youth
Reacting after his appointment, Dr Munang said he was dedicating the appointment to young people across the globe whom he is working to inspire.
“This is not really about me but about inspiring young people to focus and hard work is important also for Cameroon to know we make them proud,” the new UNEP Global Environment Monitoring Systems said.

                 About Dr Munang

The Cameroonian who is a native of Jikfuin in Belo, Boyo Division of the North West Region holds a PhD in Environmental Change and Policy from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

He also completed the pioneering Executive Certificate in ‘Climate Change and Energy: Policy Making for the Long Term at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, USA.
Before joining the United Nations, he worked as a Research Fellow at Trinity College, University of Dublin, and as a Lecturer at Nottingham University. 

He has participated in various research projects and published over 500 articles in international peer-reviewed journals and magazines. 
He is the author of the book– Making Africa Work through the Power of Innovative Volunteerism and has co-written chapters in publications on environment, climate, and development policy. Committed to empowering future leaders and change-makers.

Dr. Munang founded the Innovative Volunteerism mentorship programme, guiding young people to transform their passion into profit by tapping environmental action as a source of enterprise.

He is the 2016 winner of UNEP’s Baobab staff awards for Programme Innovation for enhancing efficiency and efficacy, with UNEP's work on EBA policy integration being up-scaled nationally and regionally and the prestigious “2023 Your Nottingham Alumni Award” from the University of Nottingham for exceptional excellence. 

He was recognised in 2023 as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders in Sustainability.

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