Meet the woman leading the charge on solving climate change - Women's Agenda

Meet the woman leading the charge on solving climate change

A large Sydney audience will tonight hear from the woman leading the charge on solving one of the world’s most pressing issues – climate change.

Decorated diplomat, speaker, climate change expert and executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres will speak about the problems the global community faces in relation to climate change and the role women can play in the solution.

Figueres, as the UN’s climate chief, has been given the task of creating a new agreement on how the international community can combat the onset of global warming, and she will direct the construction of a new global treaty ahead of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris in December.

Solving climate change is no mean feat – but if anyone has the expertise, knowledge and skills to make it happen, it is Christiana Figueres.

Figueres began her accomplished career as a diplomat and public servant over 30 years ago, when she was appointed as Minister to the Costa Rican Embassy in Bonn, Germany. A Costa Rican native, she then moved to Washington D.C and studied for a Certification in Organisational Development at Georgetown University.

She entered the climate science space in 1994, when she was appointed Director of the Technical Secretariat of the Renewable Energy in the Americas, and soon after was appointed the executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Development in the Americas in 1995.

Just a few months later, Figueres was appointed as an official negotiator for the Government of Costa Rica at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, a role she has held ever since. In 2007, she was appointed vice president of the Bureau of the Climate Convention, representing Latin America and the Carribbean.

Figueres achieved a significant breakthrough in climate solutions in 2005, when she published a groundbreaking study on the need to provide additional incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions. The strategy that resulted from the study – programmatic clean development mechanisms – is still considered one of the most important developments in climate policy to date.

As a result of her game-changing work, Figueres was appointed executive secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2010. In this role she has chaired and presented at several international UN climate summits, and is preparing for a particularly significant meeting of the convention this December.

In between these various roles requiring her to come up with innovative solutions to pressing global problems, Figueres has also found the time to lecture at some of the world’s top universities, including Yale, Georgetown and John Hopkins. She has also consulted with world leaders in the private sector to help them design and achieve climate friendly goals.

Figueres is making a special visit to Australia to talk climate change solutions, and she is speaking at a publicforum on the issue at the Sydney Theatre Company on the evening of Tuesday, May 5.

The event is co-hosted by women’s climate change activist group 1 Million Women and global climate change organisation 350.org. The two organisations will discuss with Figueres the key innovations needed to push forward tangible solutions to climate change.

“Bringing together the nations of the world to agree a global climate change treaty is one of the most demanding and defining roles ever undertaken,” said 350.org CEO, Blair Palese.

“It is no coincidence that a dynamic woman like Ms. Figueres has been charged with bringing about a real and lasting global commitment on climate change and it’s a great privilege to have her in Australia just months before the next meeting of the UNFCCC in Paris.”

1 Million Women CEO Natalie Isaacs, said that Australians leaders can learn valuable lessons from a forward-thinkingclimate change expert like Figueres and that Australia can use these lessons to take its rightful place as a world leader on this issue.

“The women climate change leaders of Australia have needed innovation, intelligence and sheer determination to get where they are today. These are the skills that our country will need to get us where we need to be tomorrow if we are to take up our role as a leader on climate change action.”

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