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Christiana Figueres

speaker location icon San Jose, Costa Rica

Former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Her collaborative diplomacy was a driving force behind the 2015 Paris Agreement

Convener of global initiative, Mission 2020

Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognised leader on global climate change. As Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), she assumed responsibility for international climate changes negotiations that culminated in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015.

Christiana Figueres was appointed as the UN’s Executive Secretary following the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009. Her tenure was marked by an approach which reached out beyond governments to corporate entities, the science community, and faith groups. She slowly built consensus through successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2011, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014. The brand of collaborative diplomacy she forged during years culminated in the 2015’s Paris Agreement, which committed 186 countries to limiting the global increase in average temperature to 1.5°C.

After completing her second term in the role, the Costa Rican diplomat entered the race to succeed Ban Ki-Moon as the organisation’s next secretary-general. Despite a well-supported campaign to make her the first woman to hold the role, Antonio Guterres eventually prevailed.

Christiana Figueres is now the convener of Mission 2020. This is a global campaign which seeks to bend the curve on greenhouse emissions by 2020. In doing this, Christiana hopes to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change and usher in a new stable and prosperous era.

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