Dirk Messner

Dirk Messner

President of the German Environmental Agency

Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner assumed the office of President of the German Environment Agency on 1 January 2020. He is also the Co-Director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Prof. Messner previously served as Director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security of United Nations University (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, Germany, and Vice Rector of the United Nations University (UNU).

Prof. Messner is an internationally recognised expert on globalisation / global governance, transformation pathways to sustainability, decarbonization of the global economy, sustainability and digital change, and international cooperation and societal change.

He combines his research interests with teaching activities and is currently professor  of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In his scientific career, Prof. Messner has chaired various different international research initiatives and is currently co-coordinator of “The World in 2050”, a global research consortium on the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

Prof. Messner is a member of Earth League, an alliance of prominent sustainability and earth system scholars. He has also been a member of a number of high-ranking policy advisory councils, including co-chairing the German Advisory Council on Global Change  (WBGU), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Germany and the Science Platform Sustainability 2030. He has also served as a member of the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Council and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

Prior to becoming Director of UNU-EHS in October 2018, Prof. Messner had been Director of the German Development Institute since 2003. Under his leadership, the institute developed an excellent reputation for its scientific and policy-relevant research on global sustainable development. Prof. Messner has a PhD in political science (Dr. rer. pol.) and earned his post-doctoral qualifications at Freie Universität Berlin. He is the author / co-author of more than 300 publications. Examples of his recent work are “G20 und Global Governance” (Oxford University Press, 2018), “The evolution of human cooperation - lessons learned for the future of global governance” (Routledge, 2016), “Germany and the World 2030: What will change. How we must act.” (Econ 2018), “Global cooperation and the human factor in international relations” (Routledge, 2016), “Six Transformations to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” (Nature Sustainability, 2019). Prof. Messner also served as the Academic Director of the University of Duisburg-Essen’s Institute for Development and Peace from 1995 to 2002. From 1995 to 2003, he worked as a private lecturer in the Faculty for Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Freie Universität Berlin. He was Professor of Political Science at the University of Munich in 2003.

In addition to being a mother tongue speaker of German, Prof. Messner is also fluent in English and Spanish.