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Gerd Müller, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as of 10 December 2021, has had various leadership positions from an early stage in his career. Following his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament, he was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in 2005. In 2013, he was appointed Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development in the German Government. Gerd Müller has many years of experience in the fields of multilateral cooperation, sustainability, sustainable management and innovative agriculture. Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate action, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Beijing Declaration on Gender Equality are key focus areas of his work.

His main initiatives and projects include:

  • Under his leadership as Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, official development assistance increased to 0.7 % of gross national income, based on a strengthening of the development cooperation budget and the mobilization of private investments through new financing models.
  • He doubled the amount dedicated to international programmes aimed at climate protection, the development of new instruments for climate risk insurance and the establishment of a foundation called the Development and Climate Alliance.
  • He oversaw the implementation of a federal Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and supported a corresponding EU-wide regulation for companies to respect internationally recognized human rights and to comply with social and ecological minimum standards in global supply chains.
  • Müller set-up a COVID-19 Emergency Programme of four billion euros to help least developed countries and middle-income countries in coping with the pandemic’s social, economic and health consequences of the pandemic, to support the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access initiative (COVAX) and to promote local vaccine production in the developing world.
  • He intensified partnerships with developing countries and emerging economies across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Priorities: Sustainable Development Goals implementation, climate and biodiversity protection, food security and improved nutrition, private sector development and vocational training.
  • He has extensive experience in multilateral cooperation, e.g. as the German Governor of the World Bank and through expanded partnerships e.g. with UNICEF, UNDP and UNIDO (new programmes on training and jobs, as well as on green hydrogen; the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Bonn).

Vision for UNIDO

According to Gerd Müller, UNIDO has a unique mandate: it is the only international organization to have industrial development and the pursuit of SDG 9 at its core. The Director General is passionate about promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID), accelerating achievement of SDG 9, fostering interlinkages with other SDGs and the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and forging a new global alliance for inclusive and sustainable industrial development. He is honoured to establish UNIDO as a leading UN agency in promoting a green transition and recovery and fostering resilient, inclusive and sustainable industrial development that ensures the survival of humankind and respects planetary boundaries. He also stands for a renewed partnership between developing countries, emerging economies and industrialized countries, especially through a stronger commitment by industrialized countries.


Political and professional career

  • Director General of UNIDO

  • Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development

  • Governor World Bank
    Commissioner of the Global Commission of Adaptation

  • Vice Minister to the Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection; in charge of international relations, development projects and world food affairs

  • Member of the German Bundestag (Federal Parliament)

  • Member of the European Parliament,
    Member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly,
    Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU group

  • Teacher at vocational schools and Policy Officer at the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs