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Fijian diplomat Nazhat Shameem Khan left her role as chief climate negotiator on Wednesday, midway through the country’s presidency of UN climate talks.
In a surprise move, the experienced diplomat is to be replaced by Luke Daunivalu, Fiji’s deputy permanent representative to the UN.
Shameem Khan presided over the latest round of UN climate talks in Bonn in November, drawing on Pacific storytelling traditions in a bid to make the process more inclusive.
She was instrumental in shaping the “talanoa dialogue”, a year-long stocktake of international efforts to avert dangerous climate change that is just getting started. On Tuesday, Shameem Khan was still tweeting about it.
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Prime minister Frank Bainimarama’s office gave no reason for the personnel change. In a statement, the government thanked Shameem Khan for her contribution and said she would return to her duties as permanent representative to the UN in Geneva full time.
“Ambassador Daunivalu is a qualified replacement and I am confident that the leadership and teamwork he will bring to the role of chief negotiator will strengthen our campaign for maximum ambition and maximum climate action all the way to COP24 [UN climate summit in Poland] and beyond,” the statement said.
Daunivalu was responsible for finance-related negotiations as part of Fiji’s team in Bonn.
Neither Daunivalu or Shameem Khan could be reached for comment.