IPCC Member Appointed as UNEP’s First Chief Scientist

© IPCC16 September 2009: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has appointed environmental modelling and systems expert Joseph Alcamo as its first Chief Scientist.

The appointment comes in response to a decision by the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

Alcamo has been a key contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since the mid-1990s. He also played an important role in the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and many of the scenarios outlined in UNEP's Global Environment Outlook-4. Alcamo stated he believes there “remains a big gap between the world of science and the world of policy and decision making,” but said more scientific input was required “to better understand and address problems like water scarcity, chemical contamination, declining ecosystem services and climate change impacts.” He outlined his hope to strengthen the science base at UNEP and to bring more “UNEP-type challenges to the scientific community.” [UNEP Press release]