Ottawa, Canada, 27 January 2016- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner visited Ottawa this week to deliver remarks at the memorial of Maurice Strong, Canadian diplomat and first Executive Director of UNEP, who passed away late last year. During his short visit, the Executive Director took the opportunity to meet briefly with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion at the Canadian Parliament.
Mr. Steiner joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, and other dignitaries, family and friends in honouring the legacy of Maurice Strong at a commemoration hosted by former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and Canadian writer John Ralston Saul. Strong had an outsized influence in giving the environmental movement international traction, as Secretary General of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, which led to the formation of UNEP, and later heading the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which established the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In a meeting with Foreign Minister Dion at the Canadian Parliament, Executive Director Steiner highlighted that Canada could play a large role in advancing green finance initiatives and in the forthcoming 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly in May.
In an interview with CBC's Power and Politics, Mr. Steiner said "Canada has all the opportunities - and I think also through the commitments that it made in Paris - a responsibility to now lead by example," referring to the C$ 2.65 billion in commitments over the next five years to help developing countries fight climate change.
Photo by Adam Scotti