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January 17, 2019

Nairobi mourns UNEP founding director Maurice Strong

President Jomo Kenyatta welcomes Maurice Strong (right) as the first Executive Director of UNEP.jpg
President Jomo Kenyatta welcomes Maurice Strong (right) as the first Executive Director of UNEP.jpg

The Unep in Nairobi is mourning the founding director Maurice Strong, who died last week aged 86.

Strong work helped lead to the landmark climate summit that is going on in Paris.
The Canadia organized the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which led to the launch of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

 Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and current Unep boss, described Strong as a visionary and a pioneer of global sustainable development.

"His courageous leadership allowed the Stockholm Conference of 1972 to make history by launching a new era of international environmental diplomacy which saw the birth of Unep, the first UN agency to be headquartered in a developing country. Not a believer in summits as an end in themselves, he accepted the appointment to become Unep's first Executive Director and moved to Kenya to establish Unep's iconic global headquarters on what was then a coffee farm on the outskirts of Nairobi.

He said Strong will be remembered for placing the environment on the international agenda and at the heart of development. He shepherd global environmental governance processes — from the original Rio Earth Summit, Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration to the launch of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

  Before his appointment to Unep, Strong, with his then wife, Pauline, took two year trip around the world and first arrived in Nairobi.

He took up an assignment with Caltex to develop new service station sites across Kenya and neighbouring countries, which gave him the opportunity to travel extensively in East Africa and see a good deal of the region's rich wildlife and its fascinating diversity of people.
In Nairobi, he was also introduced to the work of YMCA, an orgnaization with which he would do much work later on

 “As the Paris Climate Conference commences, we hope his words echo strong. I reiterate his message to the 2014 UN General Assembly calling on world leaders to ‘rise to their historic responsibility as custodians of the planet, to take decisions that will unite rich and poor, North, South, East and West, in a new global partnership to ensure our common future'," Steiner said in a statement.

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