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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appoints Mary Robinson as special climate envoy
an article by Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Former Irish President Mary Robinson has been appointed as the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Climate Change in a drive to mobilise political will and action ahead of a climate summit Ban Ki-moon will host in New York on Sept. 23.


Former Irish President Mary Robinson attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.Picture January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener

click on photo to enlarge

Robinson has long advocated for "climate justice", and has her own foundation that works to secure justice for people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change who are often forgotten - the poor, disempowered and marginalised across the world.

In a statement issued on Monday, Ban said Robinson would build on this work as his special envoy for climate change, engaging heads of state and government to raise ambition on tackling climate change ahead of the September summit and advising him based on her consultations.

"The summit will be an important milestone to mobilise political commitment for the conclusion of a global (climate) agreement by 2015, as well as to spur enhanced action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate-resilient communities," the statement said.

obinson, who has also worked as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, will step down from her role as U.N. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Robinson accepted the new post with immediate effect, and will continue as a climate envoy up to the U.N. climate conference to be held in Paris in December 2015, where the new global deal is due to be agreed.

She said Ban's focus on climate change and "his faith in my capacity to help make progress on the challenges it presents" was "an affirmation" of the work of The Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice (MRFCJ).

"Our work on climate justice emphasises the urgency of action on climate change from a people’s perspective and I intend to take this approach in my new mandate as Special Envoy for Climate Change,” Robinson added in a statement.

At an event on the sidelines of the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw last November, Robinson called for the formation of a major social movement to push for action on climate change in the run-up to Ban's summit and the Paris conference.

She said 2015 was an unprecedented year "when we have to do two huge steps for future generations" - agree a new set of Sustainable Development Goals and put a global cap on greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.

"We need to make (climate change) the biggest issue humankind faces, because if we don't we lose," she said.

Ban has appointed three other special climate envoys since December. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is focusing on cities and climate change, while former Ghanaian President John Kufuor and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg are helping drum up support for Ban’s September summit.

[Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.]

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


How can we encourage people to care for the environment?,

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LATEST READER COMMENT:

Nature is fascinating! Children are walking, or crawling, sponges--starting from scratch--and that's the right time to input the right stuff.
So talk about birds. They are always visible and audible. They call each other, listen to what they are saying. Cheerilee, dee dee, caw caw, and which beautiful songs come from which birds. They are perfect pilots, they swoop and dive and do barrel rolls and never have an accident (unless we do something stupid). Crows marry for as long as they live.
Youngsters' interest is easily piqued but parents have the responsibility to do it (so they might bone up on nature). . ...more.


This report was posted on July 15, 2014.