Dr. Sunday Leonard has been appointed as the new Secretary of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), effective 1 October 2023. In this capacity, he will be responsible for coordinating the work of the STAP staff and the Panel members in support of the GEF Council.
Sunday, a Nigerian, has more than 18 years of experience in environmental science and policy, with the last 15 focused on bridging the science-policy gap, identifying strategic issues, opportunities, and risks to inform organizational direction, and providing policy advice to decision-makers.
Since 2017, Sunday has served as a Program Officer within the STAP Secretariat, covering climate change and chemicals and waste and supporting GEF Integrated Programs. During that time, he has effectively mobilized external expertise to support the GEF, including working with leading organizations on various cross-cutting topics. He is STAP lead on circular economy, plastics, and novel entities and technologies.
Before joining STAP, Sunday worked with UNEP’s Climate & Clean Air Coalition, where he managed and coordinated its Scientific Advisory Panel, including its interaction with partners (countries, IGOs, NGOs, CSOs, & private sector actors). He also represented the Coalition at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is a reviewer of IPCC reports and Ozone Assessments.
He also worked at UNEP’s Chief Scientist Office from 2011 to 2015, where he was responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the office and coordination of its strategic engagement with UNEP's Executive Office, divisions, and external experts/organizations. In this role, he co-led the UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Environmental Issues and the UNEP/UN DESA Foresight Process on Emerging Issues for Small Island Developing States. He also served as a leading member of the UNEP Emissions Gap Report team and a co-author and editor of UNEP reports on topics such as food security, short-lived climate pollutants, near-term climate change, and the integration of the environment into the SDGs.
Sunday has been featured on news channels to discuss environmental sustainability issues. He has also spoken at several international conferences and is an advisor to government-funded environmental management and sustainable development research projects. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering from University College London, UK, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Nottingham, UK, and another Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University, USA. His first degree in Agricultural Engineering was obtained from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria.