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Germany

On a Mission to Save the Climate

The Work of the UNFCCC in Bonn

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Joke Waller-Hunter, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

The international communtiy took the first decisive steps to act against global warming at the Rio de Janeiro Earth summit in 1992. At the summit, it was agreed to establish the United Nations Climate Convention, which in turn led to the development of the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol was first drawn up in Japan in 1997 and is designed to reduce emmissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming with a multitude of individual agreements.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) oversees international negotiations of climate policies and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It is based in Bonn, the town in which the Kyoto Protocol was finally agreed in 1991. The UNFCCC has a staff of 172, mainly consisting of scientists and climate policy experts. The Secretariat is headed by Joke Waller-Hunter as its Executive Secretary.

Before joining the Climate Secretariat in 2002, the 56 year old Dutch woman headed the Environment Directorate of the OECD. As Dutch Deputy Director for International Environmental Affairs, she was actively involved in the preparations of the 1992 Rio de Janeiro UN Earth Summit. In this interview, John Hay talks with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary and asks her about her mission to persuade the international community on the need to act against global warming and about the work of her organisation.