Costa Rica introduces nomination for top UN climate change post

10:18, March 23, 2010      

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Costa Rica on Monday introduced their nomination for top UN climate change official, Christiana Figueres, who is the country's lead climate change negotiator, as the successor to Yvo de Boer who resigned earlier this year.

At a press conference here at the UN Headquarters in New York, Costa Rican Ambassador to the UN Jorge Urbina said that Figueres can play a critical role in "building bridges and building understanding among the key players in the climate change issue."

De Boer, a Dutch national, said in February that he would leave his post in July as executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is two months ahead of his contract, to become a Global Advisor for consultancy group KPMG.

Since De Boer's announcement, speculation has arisen for UN secretary-general's pick for the post of UN climate change chief with recently nominated contenders in the race, including Indian environment secretary Vijay Sharma and South African tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Figueres, an internationally recognized leader in the global climate change field, has had a long career in the UNFCCC and been a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team since 1995.

"I am deeply honored by Costa Rica's nomination," Figueres said, taking note of the potential task at hand, and outlined to reporters what future changes are needed to take last December's Copenhagen Accord to the next level.

Calling the Copenhagen accord a "big step for the community of nations, but a very small step for the planet," Figueres said it was important to consider what is needed for the next climate negotiating meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to be held later in 2010.

Looking at the overall picture of climate change, Figueres said it was important to look at the "diverse picture of strengths and weaknesses and move forward."

With 111 countries that have signed up to the accord, Figueres said that it was crucial to "shift focus from architecture to very concrete deliverables."

She emphasized that the greatest challenge that is facing climate change is the "atmosphere in which we have been working has been prevailed by a deep lack of trust in all systems."

Figueres noted that this was especially evident in the negotiations themselves, as well as in the parties such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the trust in whether the government or private sector should take the lead in, among many levels of trust.

With "too many walls, not enough bridges," Figueres said "this cannot continue," adding that trust building is a process that will take time but it is the only path to any sort of agreement to be reached in Cancun.

De Boer will remain in his current post until July to help negotiations move forward ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Mexico in November this year.

Source: Xinhua
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