Each year the Center for Sustainable Systems, based at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, invites an internationally recognized expert to deliver the Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability at the University of Michigan.
This year, the university community is invited to the 12th Wege Lecture, which will be delivered by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The lecture—titled "The Imperative of Change: Environmentalism in the 21st Century"—will be on Monday March 11, 2013 from 5-6:30 p.m. in Rackham Auditorium. A public reception in the Rackham Lobby will follow the lecture.
Steiner's visit will be his first North American address of the year. As executive director of UNEP and based in Kenya, he is a frequent speaker at international conferences on sustainable development and climate.
"I am very pleased to make my first visit to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, and to participate in such an important event," Steiner said. "The sustainability challenges facing the planet are vast but solvable, if we take meaningful action now. I hope my remarks at the Wege Lecture provide insight into both the science and the policies required to bring about much-needed change, including the transition to a green economy."
Steiner, who also holds the title of under-secretary-general, joined UNEP in 2006. He previously served as director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and as secretary general of the World Commission on Dams. He has worked at both the grassroots and highest levels of international policy-making to address the interface between environmental sustainability, social equity and economic development.
Steiner's career has included assignments with governmental, non-governmental and international organizations in different parts of the world including India, Pakistan, Germany, Zimbabwe, United States, Vietnam, South Africa, Switzerland and Kenya. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford and a graduate degree from the University of London with specialization in development economics, regional planning, and international development and environmental policy.
This annual Lecture Series focuses on critical issues of sustainability and honors Peter M. Wege for his many outstanding contributions to the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems and to the environmental field. This Lecture Series addresses important sustainability challenges facing society in the 21st century including: energy security and declining fossil resources, global climate change, freshwater scarcity, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss; and sustainable development strategies for mobility, buildings, and other complex systems for meeting human needs in both developed and developing countries.
Sponsors include: The Center for Sustainable Systems, the School of Natural Resources and Environment, College of Engineering, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, Graham Sustainability Institute, Institute for Social Research, Michigan Energy Institute, Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research, and the School of Public Health.