UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres To Step Down, Praises Governments For Paris Pact
Christiana Figueres announced that she will step down from her post as the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC) in July and will not consider an extension. This marks the end of a six-year term that was concluded with the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015.
Figueres, a civil official from Costa Rica, was appointed the agency since 2010. She helped draft the Paris agreement along with other leaders from across the globe.
The Paris Agreement involved all countries, including the poorest and richest nations and has also marked the joint effort to take action to reduce gas emissions that contribute to the continuing global warming.
"The Paris Agreement is a historical achievement, built on years of increasing willingness to construct bridges of collaboration and solidarity," Figueres said.
During her term, she worked to build trust among countries with different interests in the aim to reduce gas emissions and change industries into eco-friendly ones. She defied diverse beliefs and was widely recognized for having delivered a legally binding agreement that seemed impossible in the last two decades.
"We now move into a phase of urgent implementation," Figueres said. "The journey that lies ahead will require continued determination, ingenuity and, above all, our collective sense of humanity and purpose. I know that together you will again rise to the task," she added.
As U.N.'s top climate change official, she proposed climate solutions to help stem the effects of climate change. She urged countries to pursue clean energy to expand employment opportunities. She said that a safer and more secure future "comes from clean energy policy."
She called for clean energy targets that can offer green jobs and at the same time cut emissions. Another proposal included establishing a security policy that uses energy to boost operational capacity, which can decrease carbon emissions and investing in measures to keep both the population and economies healthy.
A lot of countries face health problems linked to poor air quality as an effect of pollution. Implementing measures to reduce carbon emissions from both industries and modes of transportation are needed to ensure public and economic health.
"This message cuts through partisan divide with practical truth. Climate action is sound economic, security, health and development policy. For everyone," Figueres said.
Photo: UN Climate Change | Flickr