The UN has named Grenada’s former environment minister, Simon Stiell, to lead its climate change body – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a-t- she confirmed yesterday.

Stiell, a vocal advocate of past UN climate talks for policy and funding to protect small island nations such as Grenada from worsening impacts of global warming, is set to replace the outgoing executive secretary. of the UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa, who resigned last month after completing her second three-year term. -term in the role.

The UNFCCC confirmed late Monday that Stiell’s appointment, which was ultimately decided by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, had been approved by his office.

The appointment of a high-profile figure from a small island state facing huge threats from rising sea levels and worsening storms as the UN’s top climate diplomat could s important in the Paris Agreement negotiations over the next three crucial years.

Stiell will now face the difficult task of leading negotiations at the upcoming COP27 climate summit in Egypt in November, where increased flows of climate finance from wealthier countries to countries most vulnerable to climate impacts are expected to once again be a major bone of contention.

The summit will also take place against a challenging backdrop of soaring global fossil fuel prices, rising costs of food and living, global food shortages, economic headwinds and heightened geopolitical tensions between the West and Russia and China, which is likely to further open the cracks and distractions. during critical talks. And with just eight years until countries are due to meet their 2030 national climate targets in support of the Paris Agreement, pressure is high to ensure all parties come together with more ambitious decarbonization plans ahead of the summit. .

Stiell has recent experience in this regard, however. At last year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow, COP26 President Alok Sharma teamed up with Stiell and Danish Environment Minister Dan Jørgenson to consult on how whose countries could reduce their emissions faster this decade.

Additionally, throughout 2021, Stiell chaired the High Ambition Coalition, the influential group of wealthy, climate-vulnerable nations pushing for greater climate action at UN talks.

Stiell is believed to have been selected from a shortlist of three candidatespropelling Sharma and Espinosa’s current deputy, Ovais Sarmad, to the post, Climate Home News reported last week.

Sharma congratulated Stiell on his appointment, saying the Grenadian would ‘do a great job’.

Inger Anderson, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, described Stiell as “a skilled politician, climate minister and experienced negotiator” who could “build bridges between constituencies”.

And Rachel Kyte, a veteran of the UN climate process, also welcomed the announcement, saying on Twitter that Stiell’s experience made him the perfect candidate for the role.

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