Climate Action

New UN climate chief announced

Former Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa will be the new UN climate chief, officials said on Tuesday

  • 04 May 2016
  • William Brittlebank

Patricia Espinosa, the former Mexican Foreign Minister, will be the new United Nations climate chief, officials said on Tuesday.

Ms Espinosa is replacing Christiana Figueres who is stepping down in July after a six-year term as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has nominated Espinosa as the new head of the UNFCCC and she will help to bolster the Paris Agreement on climate action to reduce greenhouse gases and prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

The Bonn-based UNFCCC said the appointment needs to be approved by an 11-member UN bureau, representing groups of governments worldwide led by French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal.

57-year old Espinosa is currently Mexico's ambassador to Germany, and presided over the UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010 when she was foreign minister.

She has been credited with helping to get international climate negotiations back on track in Cancun after the failure of the 2009 summit in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

The December 2015 summit in Paris saw 195 UN member states commit to a historic deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2100, and transition to low-carbon economies.