Mary Robinson appointed Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate by UN Secretary-General

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointments of Mary Robinson and Macharia Kamau as his Special Envoys on El Niño and Climate.

The statement, released on Friday 20 May, stated how drought and flooding associated with El Niño have created massive needs across the world, especially in the four worst affected regions of East Africa, Southern Africa, Central America and the Pacific.  Ethiopia is experiencing its worst drought in 50 years.  One million children in Eastern and Southern Africa alone are severely acutely malnourished.  And global food insecurity is not expected to peak before December.

This year’s El Niño is taking place in a world already dramatically affected by climate change.  More extreme weather events are expected in the future, and these hit the poorest communities — those least responsible for climate change — first and hardest.  Aid is not enough; a longer term approach is required in order to build the resilience of the most vulnerable.

“The United Nations Special Envoys will provide the leadership required to tackle these challenges, raising the profile and sounding the alarm”, said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  “It is vital that we scale up our humanitarian response urgently.  To do that we need the full support and attention of the international community.”

Mr. Kamau is the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations.  He is a former President of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Board; former Co-Chair of the General Assembly Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals; and has had a long and distinguished career in the service of the United Nations, including with United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations Development Programme.

Mary Robinson will continue to carry out her work as President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice while she fulfills her mandate as Special Envoy on El Niño  and Climate.

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