Agora News and Public Space Obituary Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Klaus Töpfer (1938–2024)

June 12, 2024

Obituary Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Klaus Töpfer (1938–2024)

© FSU Jena

As com­mu­ni­cat­ed yes­ter­day by a spokesper­son, Klaus Töpfer died on Sat­ur­day 8th of June after a short, seri­ous ill­ness. Töpfer was 85 years old.

Prof. Klaus Töpfer is one of the first notable sig­na­to­ries of The Jena Dec­la­ra­tion and patron of its pre­de­ces­sor project 2016 Inter­na­tion­al Year of Glob­al Under­stand­ing (IYGU). As a keynote speak­er he par­tic­i­pat­ed at many of its key events, like the open­ing and har­vest cer­e­mo­ny in Jena as well as the IYGU Rio event of the Brazil­ian Gov­ern­ment in Octo­ber 2016. Over the recent years he was an impor­tant pro­mot­er of The Jena Dec­la­ra­tion and its claims.

Klaus Töpfer was instru­men­tal in the suc­cess of the UN Con­fer­ence on the Envi­ron­ment in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and pro­mot­ed inten­sive bilat­er­al envi­ron­men­tal coop­er­a­tion between Ger­many and many of the new­ly emerg­ing coun­tries of East­ern Europe, the Cau­ca­sus and Cen­tral Asia.

In 1998, he took up the post of Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Unit­ed Nations Envi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP) in Nairo­bi. As a pio­neer of sus­tain­able think­ing and Prof. Töpfer was a great sup­port­er and friend of The Jena Dec­la­ra­tion, a pio­neer of sus­tain­abil­i­ty around the plan­et. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, fam­i­ly and loved ones. 

Ben­no Werlen
UNESCO Chair on Glob­al Under­stand­ing for Sus­tain­abil­i­ty
Chair of The Jena Declaration