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You are here: Home / News / Jacqueline McGlade leaves the EEA after 10 years as Executive Director

Jacqueline McGlade leaves the EEA after 10 years as Executive Director

On 31 May, after 10 years of providing advice and information on the environment to policy makers, governments and citizens, Professor Jacqueline McGlade will end her second term as Executive Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA). Her work has shaped Europe’s most important environmental information provider.

Jacquie’s abundant energy and intellectual acuity have been a great inspiration to all of us that have worked with her. Personally, I relied on her support and insights, and greatly valued her extensive experience and dedication.

Karsten Sach, Chair of the EEA Management Board

Since 2003, Prof. McGlade has overseen a significant increase in the coverage and extent of data and information processed and analysed by the EEA/Eionet, and a doubling of the resources for the agency to support this work. In 2003 Turkey joined the Agency, followed by the full accession of 15 countries in 2004 and a continued programme of activities with the associate countries of the west Balkans. In 2006 Switzerland joined the EEA as the 32nd full member country and a cooperation agreement with Greenland entered into force in 2010. The EEA is now formally cooperating on various projects with more than 60 countries across continental Europe, the Arctic, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and beyond.

Today, the topics and themes covered by the EEA include all aspects of environment and climate policy, including related policies in green economy, transport, energy, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and urban development, plus increasingly the impacts of complexity, uncertainty and technological innovations on policy development and implementation.

Prof. McGlade has been a strong advocate of using new technologies to improve information gathering and make it accessible to an increasing number of users. For example, during her time at the agency, many new online databases have been created, such as the Water Information System for Europe, the Biodiversity Information Systems for Europe and the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register.

Since 2008 Professor McGlade has been instrumental in establishing a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS). The initiative represents a fundamental shift in the thinking behind environmental reporting and indicator development, bringing together key aspects of national and international research including outputs from the Copernicus Earth observation programme where the EEA/Eionet plays a major role in delivering operational services.

Rather than a one-way communication with the public, Prof. McGlade had a vision for Europe that encourages dialogue with citizens, including indigenous peoples in remote regions such as the Arctic. In 2008, the EEA launched Eye on Earth which brought together environmental data in the form of dynamic maps of air and water quality. Eye on Earth was recognised in the 2012 Rio+20 summit declaration as a key public information platform on the environment. Since then, the Eye on Earth Alliance and Network have grown under Prof. McGlade’s leadership to become a global public information service, bringing together knowledge communities around the world in order to share data and information. The project aims to harness the power of regional networks and governments as well as expertise from researchers, leading thinkers and citizen scientists around the world, to build sustainable solutions for the future.

The EEA has been a frequent player on the global stage under Prof. McGlade’s leadership. When Copenhagen was chosen for the COP15 climate change conference in 2009, the EEA organised 31 events around the city and six events at the conference centre, involving approximately 3 000 participants. During the last 10 years, frequent collaboration with international organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme, the Arctic Council and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development has also given the EU a strong voice in international debates.

In addition to representing the EEA in multiple fora, Prof. McGlade has presided over the publication of many hundreds of reports, including two editions of ‘The European Environment – State and Outlook’, which the EEA is mandated to publish every five years, in 2005 and 2010. She has contributed to many other reports including the second volume of ‘Late Lessons from Early Warnings’ in 2013.

An outstanding communicator, Prof. McGlade has become a regular interviewee on television, radio and in the press, frequently commenting on some of the most pressing issues faced by Europe and the world, including the meaning of happiness and well-being. Under her creative guidance the EEA has produced many multimedia products including Ecoagents and award winning films such as Our Arctic challenge, One Degree Matters and Planet RE:think.

Karsten Sach, Chair of the EEA Management Board, said: “Jacquie’s abundant energy and intellectual acuity have been a great inspiration to all of us that have worked with her. Personally, I relied on her support and insights, and greatly valued her extensive experience and dedication. She has positioned the EEA as one of the world’s leading providers of environmental information. She has been the driving force behind many projects and initiatives. For example, she was instrumental in setting up the network of Environmental Protection Agencies, which has become extremely important in supporting the implementation of environmental policy across Europe.”

She will be succeeded by Belgian Hans Bruyninckx, who will become the new Executive Director on 1 June.

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