Charles McNeill is the Senior Adviser of Forests and Climate for the Sustainable Development Group of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Dr. McNeill holds a PhD in Genetics, with a focus on conservation biology, University of California, Davis. He has held several academic posts addressing a range of environmental and development issues, and has worked with the non-governmental sector on hunger eradication and sustainable development programs in South Asia and Africa. In the context of the UN Secretary-General's 'Climate Summit' on 23 September 2014, Dr. McNeill was responsible for organizing the Forest action area, one of the main elements of the Summit, by coordinating a global multilateral team of countries, companies and civil society organizations to contribute major announcements for the Summit on reducing deforestation and increasing restoration. In 2007, he co-founded UN-REDD Programme.
Previous to his current position, Dr. McNeill was manager of the Environment Program Team within the United Nations Development Programme and in that capacity oversaw the development, resource mobilization and implementation of UNDP's Environment Global Program and its Thematic Trust Fund. These instruments were designed to provide financial and technical support to UNDP's 135 country offices around the world in the priority areas of water, agriculture and drylands management, biodiversity and ecosystem services, climate change, environmental governance, poverty-environment linkages, and community-based activities.
Dr. McNeill was also responsible for UNDP's program on biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction, and UNDP's participation in the Convention on Biological Diversity. He oversees UNDP's work on the Equator Initiative, a multi-partner effort to identify and disseminate information about, and build capacity for, successful community initiatives in the Equatorial belt to reduce poverty through the protection and wise use of biodiversity.
Before undertaking these responsibilities in 2001, as Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Division's Center of Experimentation for three years, Dr. McNeill helped establish and build UNDP's first major environment program.
From 1992 to 1996, Dr. McNeill focused on building UNDP's Global Environment Facility (GEF) program, first by developing and managing UNDP's $50 million GEF program for Africa, and subsequently by leading UNDP's policy and strategic planning work for the GEF.
Prior to joining UNDP in 1991, Dr. McNeill served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for The Hunger Project, focusing particularly on hunger eradication programs in India and throughout Africa. After receiving his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California at Davis with a specialization in conservation biology and plant evolutionary and population ecology, Dr. McNeill held several academic posts addressing a range of environmental and development issues.