Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage 

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UNEP Executive Director

Dear Friends, 

I just realized I had not put this on my website - it has been on other platforms I use.

I am letting all of you know that I did not make the shortlist for the UNEP Executive Director.

But I have to say I did have fun standing :-) 

Hopefully whoever is chosen will take up some of the ideas I ran on. 

I am looking forward to hearing who the new Executive Director will be and working with them in whatever way possible to help make UNEP great again ;-).

The next few years UNEP will need strong and visionary leadership as we address the reviews of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement and as we move onward towards the 50th anniversary in 2022. 

I wanted to thank all of you for your support and messages. 

Meanwhile, as mentioned in my last blog, my new book has been submitted to Routledge for a July publication.

Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in a Time of Fear I hope will embed a greater understanding of what role stakeholders can play in stabilizing our democracies.    



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My Vision for UNEP - why I am standing to be the next Executive Director of UNEP

The quotes below do not indicate an endorsement for me for the position of UNEP Executive Director they were comments made on my work over the past thirty years.

“Felix Dodds has been a close partner of mine with whom we liaised on many issues around the UN environmental governance reform as well as during the entire period of the OWG. His passion for all matter’s environment and his great network particularly with NGOs and all the various experts that work on the Multilateral process around the environmental agenda is extremely impressive. He is one of the most committed professionals that I have had the pleasure to work with.”Macharia Kamau co-facilitator of the 2015 SDG negotiations (2019)

"Felix Dodds is a passionate and articulate campaigner for environmental sustainability.    He has in-depth familiarity with the major international negotiations on sustainable development and has helped to shape the critical policy debates which gave rise to, and accompanied, these processes.    He also played an important role in mobilising the contribution of multi-stakeholder groups to these negotiations". David Donoghue co-facilitator of the 2015 SDGs negotiations (2019)

UNEP – Vision and the 50th

The next Executive Director will be overseeing the 50th anniversary of UNEP and that offers a great opportunity to promote a global conversation among the public on the inter-woven stories of the Earth’s ecological systems, our collective environmental resources, and their integrated impact on nations, institutions, and every individual human being’s lives. It also provides an opportunity for a conversation among governments and stakeholders on what UNEP should prioritize in the near - and mid-range future as its contribution to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and gaps and challenges in relation of the environment. Those are important and complex conversations that require confident and capable facilitation. (continued here)

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I am standing for Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme

I have decided to apply for the position of Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


I wanted to go over in two blogs first who I am and then second what my vision would be.


In these blogs I will share what people have said over the years about my work. These quotes do not indicate they are supporting me for UNEP Executive Director.


“Felix Dodds deserves high respect and admiration for his unswerving and dedicated efforts as one of the key leaders of the global NGO movement for sustainable development for several decades."

Lars Goran Engfeldt, Former Environment Ambassador of Sweden (2012)


I believe that we are living in an almost-unprecedented period of complex and rapidly-shifting challenges to multilateralism, layered on top of the multiple threats to ours and all other species on this planet. 


UNEP needs to fulfil its essential role in leading nations and stakeholders to creatively work together in ensuring that these threats are addressed and resolved effectively. 


Governments naturally underpin our multilateral system, but today’s challenges require also multi-stakeholder responses. All of us need to be working together.


Over my entire career, I have been a strong advocate for multilateralism in all its forms. I have taken a leadership role in highlighting the issues such as: 

  • human and environmental security, 
  • water and sanitation;
  • the nexus of food-water-energy and climate change, 
  • governance at all levels, and 
  • the role that stakeholders can play in supporting representative democracy in policy development and in partnerships. 
In this I have been a consistent advocate for the United Nations its mission and its values and the leadership role it can play in these difficult times.
I recognize that it is less-than-traditional for one to apply for head of a UN Programme or Agency from outside the customary roles of Minister, senior official or Ambassador, but I believe I have acquired many of the same and additional experiences and skills through decades of experience advising and consulting for national governments and UN agencies/programmes, and working with extensive international coalitions of NGOs, IGOs, sub-national governments and the private sector. More significantly, I have often worked in the interface between those organisations and national governments in multiple UN processes, covering a wide range of sectoral and most recently nexus areas.
"There is hardly anyone who knows the international sustainable development scene better than Felix Dodds. A lot of the progress that has been achieved over the past twenty years could not have been achieved without his engagement and input."
Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (2015)

Given the extraordinary sectoral, economic and political challenges of the times, I believe that the skills and relationships gained in such experience is essential to UNEP playing its role in successfully addressing the complex issues we face – in no small part by bringing different sets of stakeholders to the table around results-based initiatives.

This continues on my blog here.

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December 2018

The Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development held their third workshop in preparation for next years High-Level Political Forum. This one was Advancing the 2030 Agenda: Lessons learnt from the first cycle of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) – how far can we go? I act as Secretariat for the Friends group on behalf of Article 19.

The workshop was organized jointly with UN DESA. Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development.  The 2019 HLPF summit should be an important occasion to strengthen political will for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and should identify accelerators and drivers of change to speed up implementation.. the power points from the workshop can be found here. 



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November 2018

November was a great month the University of North Carolina  confirmed me as an Adjunct Professor:

"Your appointment as an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health was approved by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, effective November 7, 2018  for a term of three years. This is a fixed-term appointment terminating November 6, 2021."

Attending and presenting at the Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi in November. My paper written with Chris Tompkins was on the Blue Economy Investment Facility and was reflected as an idea in the outcome document  

Terry Waghorn conducted an interview with Chris and me in Inter Press ServiceAn on the idea 'Advocating for a 'Blue Economy Investment Facility'.

While in Nairobi I conducted a brown bag lunch on the topic of Accelerating Effective Partnerships for UN Environment to leverage transformative and impactful partnerships to accelerate the implementation of UN Environment Programme’s Medium-Term Strategy (2018-2021) and its accompanying programmed of work. The UN Environment Programme ensures partnerships are aligned with the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. Partnerships have become a key priority for the UN Environment Programme as a whole


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October 2018

Helping to set up meetings for the leading equine welfare charities held meetings with member states, UN Departments and other civil society partners to establish a core team of UN Member States, networks and organisations to help champion the importance of horses, donkeys and mules to the livelihoods of 600 million people worldwide and the need to provide better support for their health and welfare. Ian Cawsey, The Donkey Sanctuary UN Ambassador, said: “This year advocacy teams at The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare have worked together to show how the bold ambitions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be assisted by working with communities to care for and protect their working animals. "We all want less poverty and less hunger but we are showing that improving the welfare of the working donkeys, mules and horses is not an optional extra but an integral part of making that happen.”

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September 2018

The first Bigfoot FEstival happened in Marion North Carolina on the 8th of September with over 6000 attending. Next year will be a big one with the SDG Challenge. This will be a Rat Race/Cannonball run from the OuterBanks where the Wright Brothers flew for the first time to Marion with a treasure hunt on the way. At this point, it will be a plane that Don is building with Felix as his partner and Mike and Dave in the Blue Zombie Response Jeep. It will be a sponsored event to raise money for a local charity that is engaged in ASG 5 on Gender and in particular, SDG target 5.2 eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation. More details to come next year.

The second workshop of the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development happened in partnership with UNDESA. It was focused on Advancing the 2030 Agenda: Lessons learnt from the first cycle of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)– reform or revolution?  Power points can be downloaded here and papers will go up by the end of November. 




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