In announcing her appointment the UN Secretary-General said: “Ms. Figueres is an international leader on strategies to address global climate change and brings to this position a passion for the issue, deep knowledge of the stakeholders and valuable hands-on experience with the public sector, non-profit sector and private sector.”
Ms. Figueres’ leadership at the helm of the UNFCCC comes at a crucial time in global efforts to take effective action on climate change.
“I am honored by the designation of the Secretary General and I am thankful to the members of the UNFCCC Bureau for their vote of confidence. Most of all, I am humbled by the opportunity of the challenging task at hand,. said Ms. Figueres.
“As I take on my new responsibilities at the helm of the secretariat, I will have two immediate priorities: to work with the Secretary General to strengthen trust in the process, and to support the Danish and Mexican COP Presidencies as well as all other Parties in the preparation of a successful COP16 in Cancun,” she added.
Ms Figueres has been a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team since 1995. She represented Latin America and the Caribbean on the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism in 2007, and was then elected Vice President of the Conference of the Parties 2008-2009.
She has served as Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Planning in Costa Rica, and as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture. She was also the Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and is founder of the Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA).
Outgoing UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said: “I have known Christiana Figueres for many years and can testify to her deep commitment and work to establish the robust and effective international climate regime that is the only way for all nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. She is familiar with the different interests a successful outcome of negotiations must address and can help stakeholders to find common ground. I wish her every success.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in turn commended Yvo de Boer: “I am grateful for his dedicated services and tireless efforts on behalf of the climate change agenda,” he said.
Ms. Figueres, 53, holds a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, and a certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University.
About the UNFCCC
With 194 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 190 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
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