UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a successor to United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer. Filling de Boer’s shoes will be Christiana Figueres, an experienced climate negotiator and diplomat from Costa Rica.

After the Copenhagen debacle, Figueres will have the daunting task of reestablishing political and popular support for a UN facilitated climate deal.

From a BBC News report:

Admitting those accord talks were “not transparent and not inclusive enough,” Ms Figueres denied that Copenhagen had been a failure, stressing climate change was now “at the top of every political agenda in every country”.

Christiana Figueres’ father was president of Costa Rica three times, and her mother was that country’s ambassador to Israel and a member of the Costa Rican congress. Figueres herself has served as director of the technical secretariat of the Renewable Energy in the Americas programme and founded the Centre for Sustainable Development in the Americas.

From an article in the Guardian:

Figueres has a long history with the UNFCCC. From 2007 to 2009 she was vice-president of its bureau, representing Latin America and the Caribbean, and over the years she has chaired numerous international negotiations.

It is significant that the new UN climate chief comes from a nation that is both environmentally forward thinking and part of the developing world. Costa Rica plans to be carbon-neutral by the year 2021. The Central American country elected its first female president earlier this year.

Additional resources:

Christiana Figueres online

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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