Two new UN envoys chosen to spearhead progress on climate change

Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana

18 September 2008 – The former leader of Botswana and the immediate outgoing president of the United Nations General Assembly have been appointed as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s new Special Envoys on climate change, an issue that has been one of his top priorities since taking office last year.

Festus Mogae, who was president of Botswana from 1998 until earlier this year, has extensive experience in economics and development planning, having also served as his country’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning and in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

As President of the General Assembly’s 62nd session, which ended on Monday, Srgjan Kerim chaired three thematic debates on climate change, and also served as the foreign minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

They join two other Special Envoys appointed last May: Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian Prime Minister, and Ricardo Lagos Escobar, who used to serve as President of Chile.

All Envoys will “support the Secretary-General in his consultations with Heads of States and of governments, as well as other key stakeholders,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.

They will also push for progress in negotiations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the next round of talks slated to take place in Poznan, Poland, in December.

Mr. Ban also hopes the envoys will be able to promote positive steps towards reaching an “ambitious, comprehensive, inclusive and ratifiable” pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012, Ms. Okabe said.

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