Bonn, 14 October 2005 – Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the secretariat of the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), passed away today at the age of 58.
A national of the Netherlands, Ms. Waller-Hunter will be remembered for her intelligent grasp of the
issues for which she passionately worked and her down-to-earth, straightforward personality.
She approached her work with a sincere commitment, believing deeply in the importance of the
principles of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, the landmark agreements on limiting greenhouse gas
emissions responsible for man-made global warming.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called her a “firm believer in the principles of sustainable
development” adding that she “knew that global cooperation was essential to advancing
that cause.” He said that she “would be mourned with deep affection and respect by her
family, many colleagues, friends and allies around the world.”
Before joining the UNFCCC, from 1998 to 2002, Joke Waller-Hunter was the Director of the Environment
Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD in Paris. From 1994 to
1998, she was the United Nations’ first Director for Sustainable Development, leading the
division that provides the secretariat to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Ms.
Waller-Hunter was actively involved in the preparations for the UN Conference on Environment and
Development, the ‘Earth Summit’, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Since taking over the role of UNFCCC Executive Secretary in 2002, Ms. Waller-Hunter oversaw the entry
into force of the Kyoto Protocol. Under her leadership, the UNFCCC secretariat moved forward
preparations for the implementation of the Protocol and advanced its support to the implementation of
the Convention, in particular concerning the adaptation to climate change impacts.
A memorial ceremony organized by the UNFCCC secretariat will be held in Bonn in the following days. A
private funeral will take place in the Netherlands.
There is the possibility of sending expressions of sympathy and remembrances to the UNFCCC web site