Office of the UN Secretary General

The UN Secretary General outlined his priorities when he took office in January 2007. One of his priorities was the issue of climate change. He has consistently used his office to promote dialogue and action on climate change with some of the less than enthusiastic government leaders. On 1 May 2007, he announced three UN special envoys on climate change: Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former prime minister of Norway and former chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED); Han Seung-soo, former minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Korea and former president of the United Nations General Assembly; and Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile. He later appointed two more: Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana, and Srgjan Kerim, the former president of the UN General Assembly and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The role for the envoys will be engaging in consultations with governments and other organizations in order to assist the secretary general to progress the international negotiations towards a postKyoto climate change treaty.

The September 2007 high-level event on climate change, initiated by the UN Secretary General, set in motion the impetus for leaders to look ahead to the discussions on the UN Framework Convention meeting in December 2007. It sent the message that this is no longer business as usual.

The secretary general has also set up a unit within his office to work on climate change: another indication that he intends to ensure that the UN system as a whole can play a role in climate change.

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