The sustainability researcher will take up his new duties in January 2020
The internationally renowned sustainability researcher Dirk Messner will become the new President of the German Environment Agency (UBA) on 1 January 2020. Today, the German cabinet approved the appointment proposed by Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. Professor Messner is in line to succeed Maria Krautzberger who will retire at the end of the year. Currently, Dirk Messner is the director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University in Bonn. He is also the co-chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).
Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "Dirk Messner has earned renown in Germany and far beyond as a scientist and political advisor on sustainability. He is the right man at the right time for the position as future president of the German Environment Agency. Environmental policy now depends more than ever on global expertise and networking. The major challenges of our times, climate change and species extinction, are global. Dirk Messner has repeatedly proven his ability to think for the future. With the WBGU, he anticipated years ago much of what politics is dealing with today. With him, the UBA will be able to further consolidate its role as research and advisory institution dedicated to sustainability and transformation."
Dirk Messner, born on 23 April 1962, was the director of the German Development Institute from 2003 to 2018. The political scientist has been a member of the WBGU since 2004 and has co-chaired the council since 2013. He is also a professor for political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen. His work focuses on national and international sustainability research, which links ecological, economic and social issues. Within the WBGU, he coined the term "transformation" to describe the upcoming restructuring of cities, mobility, energy systems and land use.
Dirk Messner's work has not only influenced scientific debates; it has had an effect on politics, too. As advisor, he has supported the German government, the European Commission, the World Bank and also the Chinese government as a long-standing member of the China Council on International Cooperation on Environment and Development.
The German Environment Agency was founded in 1974. It has since been run by Heinrich von Lersner (1975 to 1995), Andreas Troge (1995 to 2009), Jochen Flasbarth (2009 to 2013) and Maria Krautzberger (since 2014).