The United Nations efforts to stem climate change got a boost today with the appointment of two special envoys to mobilize political will and action ahead of the 2014 Climate Summit.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he appointed former President of Ghana, John Kufour, and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, as his Special Envoys on Climate Change, an issue "that is of the highest importance to the future of our planet".
Their engagement with world leaders will assist with discussions at the 2014 Climate Summit he plans to convene in New York in September during the annual General Assembly meeting.
As part of their work, the Special Envoys will assist Mr. Ban in his consultations with world leaders to raise the level of ambition to address climate change and to accelerate action, and provide strategic advice, according to today's statement.
In his opening address to the current General Assembly this past September, Mr. Ban invited leaders from Governments, businesses and civil society organizations "to bring bold announcements and actions to the 2014 Climate Summit to raise the level of ambition through new and more robust action on climate change".
He said the Summit will be "an important milestone" to mobilize political commitment towards a universal legal agreement that is expected to be hammered out at the UN-led climate talks in Paris, France, in 2015.
The outcome of that UN Climate Change Conference, which would not enter force until 2020, would cut climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilient communities.
Mr. Kufour and Mr. Stoltenberg are recognized for their commitment to public police and environmental work.
As its President, Mr. Kufour led Ghana to become the first country in Sub-Saharab Africa to cut in half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and poverty, and those living on less than a dollar per day.
He also served as Chairman of the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, among other positions.
Mr. Stoltenberg, who worked with Mr. Ban before on climate change, led a 21-member High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing along with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
The Panel found that mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 for climate financing would be challenging, but feasible. "If we are to reach this goal, we will need a mix of new public sources, a scaling-up of existing public sources and increased private flows," the Panel's report highlighted.
In 2010, Mr. Stoltenberg convened a group consisting of the most important forest countries to coordinate and contribute to measures against deforestation in these countries and to give forests a central role in a new climate agreement.