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March 24, 2011

Jim Willis, EPA, to Join United Nations Environment Programme

The ACTA Group

Effective April 18, 2011, Jim Willis, Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) Chemical Control Division (CCD), will join the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Stockholm, and Rotterdam Conventions. Willis has been with EPA for more than 20 years in various staff through senior management positions. He also worked with UNEP for a number of years before returning to EPA in 2004. During his time at UNEP, he was responsible for organizing and holding the negotiations which led to the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions. In 2010, the UNEP announced a global campaign intended to strengthen synergies in chemicals and waste management, which included bringing together the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Stockholm, and Rotterdam Conventions at a joint meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, on February 22-24, 2010. During the meeting, the parties agreed to the idea of a joint head of the three Conventions’ Secretariats, which presented an “irresistible challenge” to Willis.

For those of us who have worked with Jim for years, his leadership and vision will be greatly missed. Dr. Maria Doa will serve as Acting Director of CCD.