UN climate chief Figueres, GCF head Cheikhrouhou to step down

Published 13:42 on February 19, 2016  /  Last updated at 15:10 on February 19, 2016  /  Bavardage, Climate Talks, International  /  No Comments

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres will leave her role in July, declining to renew her contract after six years in a post, while GCF head Hela Cheikhrouhou is also stepping down.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres will leave her role in July, declining to renew her contract after six years in a post, while GCF head Hela Cheikhrouhou is also stepping down.

“It is with deep gratitude to all of you that I write to formally announce that I will serve out my term as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which finishes on July 6 2016, and not accept an extension of my appointment,” Figueres wrote in a letter dated Feb. 12, as reported by several media outlets.

Costa Rican diplomat Figueres was appointed in 2010 in the wake of the failed Copenhagen summit and has steered the UN climate negotiations to the signing of the Paris Agreement in December.

Figueres is widely credited with rebuilding trust in the multilateral process, aiming for a looser bottom-up structure for Paris rather than the rigid, binding approach of its predecessor, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Her departure follows the resignation of France’s Laurent Fabius, both as president of the year-long COP-21 negotiations and as his country’s foreign minister.

Figueres’ successor will be appointed to the more elevated position of ‘under-secretary general’, putting it on a par with the heads of the UN Environment Programme and Development Programme, Climate Home reported.

Meanwhile, the GCF announced that its executive secretary would leave her role after three years when her current term expires in September.

Tunisian banking executive Cheikhrouhou was the first head of the GCF, whose board will discuss steps to appoint a successor at its next meeting on Mar. 8-10.

During her tenure, Cheikhrouhou set in motion the South Korea-headquartered fund’s first resource mobilization process that resulted in more than $10 billion in pledges from 43 countries.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

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