The former president of Chile, the first woman Prime Minister of Norway and the President of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly were named on Monday Special Envoys for Climate Change by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has made the issues one of his top priorities.
The three envoys named are also prominent in international environmental affairs, according to a statement released by Mr. Ban's spokesperson, Michele Montas. Norwegian ex-Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland is the former Chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development, which is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development and two decades ago published a landmark report, "Our Common Future." Former President Ricardo Lagos Escobar of Chile founded the Foundation for Democracy and Development, which works for sustainable development. Since April 2006, he has been serving as president of the Club de Madrid where he led the organization to increase its involvement in environmental issues. Han Seung-soo, the former General Assembly President, currently heads the Korea Water Forum, which works towards sustainable water management in Asia. He served previously in numerous high-level government posts, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade and Industry, Chief of Staff to the President and Korean Ambassador to the United States. "The Secretary-General looks forward to working with these three highly respected international figures on a matter which is of highest importance to the future of the planet," Ms. Montas said. Reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this year show clearly that the warming of the earth's climate system is unequivocal and attributable to human activities, and will have severe economic effects, particularly in developing countries. In her statement, Ms. Montas noted that many initiatives are being launched by Member States, groups of States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector to try to mitigate climate change and its impact. "Very commendable as they are, these actions can only complement and not substitute for the comprehensive international response that is needed," she said. The Special Envoys will solicit the views of national leaders, including those who are key actors in the climate change negotiations. "The work of the Special Envoys will assist the Secretary-General in his consultations with Governments and other key stakeholders on how he might facilitate progress in the multilateral climate change negotiations within the UN," the spokesperson said.