Former Norway and Ghana leaders appointed UN climate change envoys

Ban Ki-moon has appointed two envoys to boost political will prior to high-level climate summit in September

(Source: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

(Source: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

By Sophie Yeo

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has appointed two Special Envoys on Climate Change who will help to raise the political will of leaders to tackle climate change.

John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, and Jens Stoltenberg, former Prime Minister of Norway, have been chosen to fill the roles.

The appointment comes ahead of Ban’s 2014 Climate Summit in September, when leaders of governments, business and civil society will gather in New York to discuss how to ratchet up ambition to create a strong climate change treaty in 2015.

The two special envoys will engage with these leaders on how to build momentum on climate action prior to the meeting, and advise Ban based on the conversations that take place.

“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,” Ban’s office said in a statement.

“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.”

Earlier this month, Ban told leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Climate Summit.

While the official deadline for emissions reduction pledges is the first quarter of 2015, it is likely this Summit will lay the groundwork for these commitments.

Speaking at the sidelines of the November climate conference in Warsaw, Ban said: “We may not need to wait until everybody declares their positions. So whoever can do, they should do by September next year.”

The ambition and determination with which leaders approach the meeting could therefore prove instrumental in securing an effective climate change treaty.

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