As current Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Yvo de Boer prepares to retire from his post, we were quite excited to hear that Liz Thompson, 350 messenger and former Energy and Environment Minister of Barbados has been nominated as a potential successor to Mr. de Boer.

Ms. Thompson is not only the former Energy and Environment Minister of Barbados, she is also a current senator, and was named a UNEP Champion of the Earth in 2008, an award given annually to outstanding environmental leaders who have significantly influenced the protection and sustainable management of the planet’s environment.  She also has years of international environmental negotiation experience behind her – since 1994, she has led Barbados' delegations to all major environmental meetings from Kyoto onward.  At COP13 in Bali, she was one of the key negotiators to draft and build concensus around the important Bali Action Plan that laid the groundwork for Copenhagen.

Most important however is Ms. Thompson's unique perspective as someone from a small island state. Unlike her predecessor, she truly understands and can speak from the perspective of vulnerable communities and nations and bring their voice into every negotiating room.  At the UNFCCC negotiations, the small island states, represented by AOSIS, have continuously been the most outspoken governments for strong targets (350ppm and 1.5 degrees C) and ambitious action.  In her own words, "I represent those on the front line of the defence against climate change impacts". We think her long political experience, close involvement in environmental, sustainable development and climate change policies and negotiations for 16 years, makes for a lot of potential to understand the perspectives and needs of all countries.

Good luck to Senator Thompson in the nomination process!  We need voices like hers within the halls of power to truly be able to move forward the stalled UNFCCC process in the direction necessary.

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