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
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 .