United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of two Special Envoys on Climate Change. The Special Envoys are John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, and Jens Stoltenberg, former Prime Minister of Norway.
The Secretary-General has asked the Special Envoys to assist in engaging Heads of State and Government around the world in order to mobilize political will and action, and raise ambition in advance of the 2014 Climate Summit that he is hosting in New York on 23 September 2014.
In his address to the 68th Session of the General Assembly at the opening of the General Debate, the Secretary-General invited leaders from Governments, businesses and civil society organizations to bring bold announcements and actions to the 2014 Climate Summit to raise the level of ambition through new and more robust action on climate change.
The Summit will be an important milestone to mobilize political commitment for the conclusion of a global agreement by 2015, as well as to spur enhanced action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilient communities.
As part of their work, the Special Envoys will assist the Secretary-General in his consultations with leaders to raise the level of ambition to address climate change and to accelerate action. They will also provide strategic advice to the Secretary-General based on their consultations.
The Secretary-General looks forward to working with these two highly respected international figures on a matter that is of the highest importance to the future of our planet. He also appreciates the collaboration of the World Bank Group in supporting the Special Envoys as part of stepped up efforts to help countries deliver climate action.
President John Agyekum Kufuor was the President of Ghana, from 2001–2009. He also served as Chairperson of the African Union from 2007–2008. Recognized for his personal commitment and visionary leadership while serving as the President of Ghana, and in particular for creating and implementing government policies to alleviate hunger and poverty in his country, Mr. Kufuor received the World Food Prize in 2011. This marked, among others, Ghana’s achievement as the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to cut in half the proportion of its people who suffer from hunger, and the proportion of people living on less than a dollar per day, on course to achieve UN Millennium Development Goal 1 before the 2015 deadline. President Kufuor has also served as Chairman of the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership and as Global Envoy for the Neglected Tropical Diseases Alliance.
Jens Stoltenberg was the Prime Minister of Norway from 2000 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2013. He has been leader of the Norwegian Labour Party since 2002. Mr. Stoltenberg has worked with the Secretary-General before on climate change, leading a 21-member High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing along with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The Panel found that mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 for climate financing would be challenging, but feasible. The Panel’s report highlighted that “If we are to reach this goal, we will need a mix of new public sources, a scaling-up of existing public sources and increased private flows.” In 2010, Mr. Stoltenberg convened a group consisting of the most important forest countries to coordinate and contribute to measures against deforestation in these countries and to give forests a central role in a new climate agreement.