Christiana Figueres, The U.N.’s climate chief, has announced she will resign from her post in July. In a letter made public on Friday, The 59-year-old Costa Rican said she would not accept an extension to her six-year-term when it comes to an end this summer and praised governments who participated in the talks that lead to the Paris Climate Agreement in December – talks she herself was instrumental in facilitating.
Figueres’ own contributions to the success of the Paris Agreement were praised by climate experts, reported the BBC. “Christiana’s contribution to international climate negotiations over the [past] six years has been really extraordinary,” said climate economist Lord Stern.
She is gifted with an outstanding ability to see where we need to go as a world and to bring people together…She no doubt has much more to contribute in the coming years. The challenge for everyone is to build on her achievements, and I am sure she will be part of that.
In a letter quoted by Reuters, Figueres said that, following the Paris talks, action on climate change was entering “a phase of urgent implementation” but warned that the road ahead will require “determination” and “ingenuity”. She thanked those who had made the Agreement possible:
The Paris Agreement is a historical achievement, built on years of increasing willingness to construct bridges of collaboration and solidarity. It has been an honour to support you along this path over the past six years.
Since the mid 1990s Ms Figueres had been a member of Costa Rica’s climate negotiating team, before then taking on the role of U.N. climate chief when morale was at its lowest shortly after the “failure” of the Copenhagen climate summit in 2010.
Reuters quoted Nicholas Stern, an expert on climate issues at the London School of Economics, as saying that Figueres has an “outstanding ability to see where we need to go as a world and to bring people together”.