Press releases

Thursday 05 Jun 2014

GRID-Arendal celebrates 25 years and appoints its 5th Managing Director

Arendal/Oslo, 4 June 2014 - After serving two 4-year terms, German marine biologist and Arctic expert Dr. Peter Prokosch (62) is stepping down as Managing Director of GRID-Arendal this autumn. A new Managing Director will take over on 1st September, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Olav Orheim, announced today. 

Peter Prokosch and Peter Harris.

GRID-Arendal is a Norwegian foundation founded in 1989 by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment to support the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It has a staff of 35 experts from 20 different nations. 

Dr. Orheim pointed out that this change occurs at a time when the 25-year old organisation has a particularly strong portfolio of contracts, which are expected to yield a solid financial outcome in 2014, and has been praised by UNEP and the Norwegian Government for the relevance and excellence of its work programme.  The world-class reputation of GRID-Arendal is reflected by the fact that there were more than 70 applicants for the position of Managing Director, mostly from outside Norway.

The new Managing Director of will be Dr. Peter Harris, who comes to GRID-Arendal after serving as a senior manager of the environmental division of Australia's national geoscience agency, Geoscience Australia.  Peter Harris, a native of the USA, has a background in marine conservation and environmental science.  He has worked on climate-change in Antarctica as well as serving since 2010 as Australia's member of the Group of Experts for the United Nations World Ocean Assessment.  

The change in leadership will take place soon after GRID-Arendal celebrates its 25th anniversary during Arendalsuka in August 2014.  The celebration will involve guests from all over the world including Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, and Dr. David Molden, Director of ICIMOD in Nepal.  Current and former national Ministers are also expected to attend. The celebration will include a programme of presentations on climate change in the Himalayas, the global debate about Sustainable Development Goals and a special session on green economy.  There will also be joint events with Arctic nations and discussions with Arctic Parliamentarians.  

The programme topics reflect new areas of work that GRID-Arendal has developed during the 8-year leadership of Peter Prokosch.  Over this period of time, GRID-Arendal has been firmly established as a globally significant environmental organization and a major marine centre, and has been declared UNEP’s "Polar Centre of Excellence".  GRID-Arendal’s focus areas of Climate, Marine Environment, Trans-boundary Waters and Environmental Crime, as well as an increasing engagement in Africa, are also part of a new agreement GRID-Arendal recently signed with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The agreement will increase direct funding from 20 million NOK in 2013 to 27 million in 2014.  GRID-Arendal's total budget for 2014 is NOK 55 million, which includes contracts from UNEP and other UN organizations, various countries, institutions and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.   
 
For more information, contact: Olav Orheim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GRID-Arendal, 91123108, olav.orheim@grida.no  
 
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