UN chief appoints Costa Rican to head UNFCCC

09:02, May 18, 2010      

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UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon on Monday appointed Costa Rican Christiana Figueres as the new head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Figueres will succeed outgoing Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, who announced in February that he would step down.

According to a UN statement, the secretary-general is "grateful to Mr. de Boer for his dedicated service and tireless efforts on behalf of the climate change agenda."

"The appointment has been made after consultations with the Conference of Parties through its Bureau," said the statement.

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.

According to the statement, Figueres brings to the 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 has been informed and expressed her 'gratitude to the secretary-general and to the UNFCCC Bureau for their vote of confidence,'" the statement said.

"I come to the Secretariat with great respect for the institution and a deep commitment to UNFCCC process," Figueres said in a statement. "There is no task that is more urgent, more compelling or more sacred than that of protecting the climate of our planet for our children and grandchildren," the statement said.

Figueres has served as a negotiator of the Kyoto Protocol and chaired numerous Conference of Parties (COP) decisions.

She was vice president of the UNFCCC Bureau from 2008 to 2009, and a member of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism in 2007.

Figueres was the founder and executive director of the Center for Sustainable Development in the Americas (CSDA), a non-profit think tank for climate change policy and capacity building.

From 1994 to 1996, she served with the U.S. Export Council for Renewable Energy as director of the Technical Secretariat, Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA).

In addition, Figueres brings extensive experience from serving on many Boards of non-governmental organizations involving climate change issues, including Winrock International and the Voluntary Carbon Standard.

Figueres has also advised private sector companies playing a leadership role in climate mitigation, such as the Carbon Rating Agency.



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