United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Botswana’s former president Festus G. Mogae as one of his four Special Envoys on Climate Change.
The appointment was announced on Thursday at the UN Headquarters in New York.
According to information from the former president’s office, Mr. Mogae has agreed to serve as a Special Envoy.
His appointment was announced together with that of Mr. Srgjan Kerim, former president of the United Nations General Assembly (sixty-second session) and former Foreign Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. They join two already appointed Special Envoys ÔÇô Ms Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former chair of the World Commissions on Environment and Development, and Mr. Ricardo Lagos Escobar, former President of Chile.
Information released indicate that the Special Envoys will support the Secretary-General in his consultations with Heads of State and Government, as well as other key stakeholders, to facilitate progress in the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Poznan, with a view to reaching an ambitious, comprehensive, inclusive and ratifiable post-2012 agreement in December 2009 in Copenhagen.
In his letter to President Mogae, the UN Secretary General writes: “Climate change is the defining challenge of our era that needs a global solution, one that I believe the UN is best suited to help the international community to address. We have a moral obligation to address this challenge which disproportionately impacts the poor through bold, decisive and urgent action. As such, I have made it a personal priority and a priority of my tenure to ensure that the United Nations plays its full role in the global fight against climate change.
“I have deeply appreciated your years of exemplary service to your country and indeed to the international community; not least your leadership in the Southern African region, particularly on the issue of HIV/AIDS. I would be honoured if you would assume the role of my Special Envoy on Climate Change from Africa.”
According to the Special Envoys’ terms of reference, climate change is one of the Secretary-General’s top priorities for which he is determined to stay proactively engaged in this global process and continuously urge the international community to intensify its efforts.
To help him in his consultations with Heads of State and Government, the Secretary-General has asked for the services of the four high-level Special Envoys, who are knowledgeable on this issue and who enjoy broad respect internationally.
The Special Envoys will undertake consultations with leaders of major emitters (industrialised and developing countries) and of other countries, including leaders of regional and negotiating groups and key vulnerable countries (G-77, SIDs, LDCs, oil-exporters, tropical forest nations, etc).
In addition to political leaders, the Special Envoys may be asked to engage civil society, the private sector and the press of countries that they will visit on the Secretary-General’s behalf. They may also represent the Secretary-General at meetings focusing on climate change and the role of the United Nations in that regard.
The allocation of countries to be visited by each envoy will be agreed in consultation between the Secretary-General and his Special Envoys. The main criterion for this will be access, familiarity with the countries and leaders in question, and due regard to political and personal sensitivities applicable in each case, rather than a geographical division.
The services of the Special Envoys will be sought for the period September 2008 to December 2009. The Special Envoys will receive strategic guidance from the Secretary-General and technical support and advice will be provided through the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team (CCST).