Master of Arts in Political Economy, University Mainz, 1964. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy, University Mainz, 1968. Doctor (honorary), Technology University of Brandenburg, Cottbus, Germany, 1998.
Doctor (honorary), Free University of Berlin, 2002. Doctor (honorary), University of Essen, 2002.
Head political economy department Central Institute of Regional Planning, Munster, Germany, 1970-1971. Head planning and information section Saarland State Chanceller, Saarbrucken, 1971-1978. Temporary lecturer College of Administration, Speyer, 1971-1978.
Full professor Institute Regional Development Research and Planning University Hanover, 1978-1979. Member council of Experts for Environmental Questions, Wiesbaden, 1978-1979. Honorary professor University Mainz, 1985-1986.
Coordinator, Transfer of Parliament and Federal Government to Berlin, 1994—1998. Director-general United Nations Office, Nairobi, 1998—2006.
Member Christian Democratic Union, since 1972. Chairman Christian Democratic Union-Saarbrucken, 1977-1979. Member Christian Democratic Union-Saar, 1977-1979.
Undersecretary Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Environment, Rhineland-Palatinate, 1978-1985. Vice chairman Christian Democratic Union National Environmental Experts Committee, 1983-1987. Minister of the Environment and Health, Rhineland-Palatinate, 1985-1987.
Federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, 1987-1994. Member Bundestag, 1990-1998. Chairman Christian Democratic Union Land Association, 1990-1995.
Federal Minister of Regional Planning, Housing and Urban Development, 1994-1998, chairman United Nations Committee on Sustainable Development, 1994-1995, acting director United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, 1998-1900, under-secretary general and executive director, United Nations Environment Programme, since 1998. Active Military Service, 1959-1960. Member BUND, DBV, Schutzgemeinschaft Deutsche Nordseekuste, Arbeitgemeinschaft fur Umweltfragen, Landmannschaft Schlesien.
Married; three children.