Messages and reflections for Joke 15 Oct 2005
It is with great sadness that the world loses Joke. A firm and steady hand with much humanity and
humour has steered the forefront of the practical implementation of sustainable development and climate
change for some years. I first worked with Joke in the Netherlands in 1992 when she invited me into her
home and we became firm friends often to share an adventure somewhere in the world . She new how to
balance her life and work and live life to the full. She will be sadly missed. My condoleneces to her
family in the Netherlands.
-Judy Lawrence PS Consulting and Director of the NZ Climate Change Office 2003-2005
Je n'ai pas eu l'occasion de rencontrer directement, mais ceux qui parlent d'elle, parlent
d'une grande dame des changements climatiques. Pour ceux qui ont eu la chance de la connaître
et pour tous ses proches, je présente mes condoléances les plus attristées. Que
Dieu lui accorde son vaste paradis et qu'elle repose en paix .
I have learnt with sorrow about the death of Ms Joke Walker-Hunter. This is a loss of a big asset to
the climate change process. May the almighty God rest her soul in. Eternal peace.
-Onduri Machulu Fred, LEG member-Uganda
Joke was politically astute, always smart and strategic in moving the environmental agenda forward. She
was tireless in her work, endlessly creative, capable of crystalizing core issues and paths forward,
and funadmentally committed to developing countries. Her contribution remains profound, and she will be
-Scott Vaughan, Director, OAS
She was obviously a person of strong convictions. My daughter, Tracey Lue found much inspiration in
working for/with her in Bonn. I'm regred not having the good fortune of meeting her.
Jokes death has really come with emmense sadnes and in fact a punch to our organisation that seriously
embraces sustainable development. May the Almighty rest her soul in peace.
-Kennedy Otieno,department of sustainable development,JBT-Kenya
We will miss Joke dearly. She served as a role model for a whole generation of students, environmental
experts and climate change professionals. Her dead tears a hole in the fabric of international climate
change negotiations, which will be very hard to fill. We owe her the continuation and success of a
regime mitigating global climate change.
-Charlotte Streck, Director, Climate Focus
When ever we have heard something about Joke Waller-Hunter, it was to the benefit of all our efforts,
throughout the climate sector. Personally we have not had a chance to meet with Ms. Waller Hunter, yet
we know that a great person with enormous dedication to all she has done has passed away, chanceless to
ever get a personal impression of the person behind all the great activities and projects she has
realized. May she rest in peace and may her inspiring spirit always be with us.
-Dietrich Borst - German Emissions Trading Association - bvek
One of the finest internatonal civil servant in modern times,Joke Waller Hunter was intensly committed
to the protection of the public good, human health and environmental values. When struck by cancer, she
carried on with serenity and even greater determination and commitment. With her departure, those who
knew her at the OECD and the UN have lost a dear friend and a great force in the advancement of global,
-Charles Caccia and her Canadian friends
Joke was an outstanding figure, both as a person and a fellow professional. Her dedication,
intelligence, humour, and compassion will be sadly missed. Sincere condolences to the family.
-Mohan Munasinghe, Vice Chair, IPCC; and Chairman, Munasinghe Institute for Development (MIND),
She was the consummate environmental institutionalist, and worked with so many individuals throughout
the planet to help solve the challenges of sustainability. I will remember her as an inspiring leader
who took delight in the virtuous.
-Steve Charnovitz, George Washington University Law School
In November 2004, when the Russian Federation formally ratified the Kyoto Protocol and set in motion
the process that would give legal force to its provisions, Joke Waller Hunter made the observation that
climate change was ready to take its place at the top of the global agenda. With the sad news of her
passing on Friday it is falls to us, her colleagues, to take up the standard and to ensure that her
work and legacy continues in the worldwide effort to combat climate change and its debilitating effects
on sustainable development in communities across the globe. An exceptional campaigner for multilateral
action, Joke was both a valued colleague and a good friend – especially to the developing nations
of the world. Even prior to her tenure in the UN, she was a passionate advocate for the perspective,
plight, and voice of developing nations. Her zeal and her compassion played a significant role in her
success within the UNFCCC as a bridge-builder and a leader of vision. On behalf of the people of South
Africa we offer our sincere condolences to her friends and family. We pay tribute to her life and
celebrate her memory.
-Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Republic of South
She has made a contribution that we all appreciate and for which she will always be remembered.
-Wei Ming Huang, TEPA
I present my deepest condolences to Joke’s family in this time of mourning. I consider passing
away of Joke Waller-Hunter as a bereavement for all people who knew her.
-Prof. Victor Chub, UNFCCC National Focal Point in Republic of Uzbekistan and Tatyana Ososkova,
National Corrdinator of Uzbekistan-SNC
Mes sincères condoléances.
-Assia Korichi. Association des Amis de l'Environnement
It is with a deep sense of personal loss that I write these few words to remember Joke. My association
with her goes back to the time when she helped to steer the discussions in the Prepcom for Rio. Later
when I was looking for someone to head the new Division for Sustainable Development I turned to her and
managed to persuade her to join. It was the best personnel decision I took. She shaped that division
with great committment and skill and I was truly sorry to lose her to the OECD. Some years later, when
we were looking for a head for the Climate Secretariat, my thoughts and Klaus Topfer's too turned
towards her. Once again we were fortunate that she agreed to come. During her tenure the Climate
Secretariat changed its role with the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol. She brought her
substantive knowledge, her deep committment to sustainable development and her formidable
administrative skills to this task. It is truly a great loss for the Climate Secretariat and the
process at this juncture. I have spoken of Joke's work. But what I will miss most about her is her
personality. She was a serious person who had a capacity for laughter, a hard-working person who had
time for fun, a strongly principled person who could be flexible when necesarry. Above all she was a
totally honest and straight forward person who would assert her views without any rancour. I have
seldom met anyone as completely reliable as Joke was in her work and her personal relationships. She
has now scaled the last mountain. May her soul rest in peace and fulfilment.
-Nitin Desai, formerly USG United Nations
I am indeed shocked to learn about the untimely death of someone with whom I had worked and in the
process known about a simple,sincere,commited and a wonderfull person that she was. It's hard to
see someone so passoinately working on a professional job to make the world a better place not for her
or her generation but for those to folllow. I offer to her family my deepest condolances.We shall
always remember her.
-Suresh Prabhu,MP(former union Minister of Environment)
Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter passed away, but her positive ideas for a better world remain with us. Best
respect we can offer to her, is to make advance her ideas and achieve the success of the work she was
committed to. Peace of God to her and her familly.
-Mr. Hibert Kirongozi
With deepest sadness we reseived this information. WE SHALL MISS JOKE WALLER-HUNTER
-Ljudmilla van der Marel-CLEAN AIR FOUNDATION
Dear Joke, Shock and sadness at your untimely passing...your untiring commitment was an inspiration to
us all, and to have it removed so suddenly is a blow. From all of us at Greenpeace, may you rest in
peace knowing that although yours was a job not finished, it was a job well done.
-Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace International
Joke, Thanks to you, the planet and the human family will be a better place. Rest in peace.
-Jean Boutet, Environment Canada
I have known Ms Waller-hunter for many years as great civilian. My condolences to her family.
-K. Madhava Sarma, Former Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, UNEP
I would like to express my sincere condolencies on the passing away of Ms. Waller-Hunter. It was the
great loss of the climate change community.
-Vute Wangwacharakul, Kesetsart University
I am so very sad that Joke has died. Her contribution to pushing international action on climate change
will probably be not recognised for years. She was tireless. It is a sad day.
-The Hon. Tom Roper - Climate Institute
I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the colleagues, friends and family of Joke
Waller-Hunter. During the time that I had the privilege to work at UNFCCC, I quickly developed a strong
appreciation for the leadership, integrity, strength and dynamism personified in Joke Waller-Hunter.
Her dedication and commitment to her work will be remembered all around the world, and she will be
remembered as a shining example over the many years to come. With deepest sympathies.
-Tracey Lue, Office of the Canadian Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable
Thank you Joke Waller, God bless you. The good you left behind will inspire millions of us to see the
true value in saving mother earth. At the Gates of Paradice you have value.
-Eco-One Renovation & Restoration
I left the secretariat before she took over as ES. Always thought one day I would be able to get
acquainted with her. Have heard the great things she was doing during her tenure as the
secretariat's ES. Condolences to her family and loved ones.
Joke was a great person, that many learned to admire. Her commitment to noble ideas, her management
skills, and her understanding of individuals, all in one person, made her unique. I will miss
-Luiz Gylvan Meira Filho
On 16 February in Kyoto, at the celebration of the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, I saw Joke
being really happy. She was aware that a milestone of historical importance had finally been reached,
and that this success of the international community was also her success. However, Joke wouldn't
have been Joke if she hadn't at the same time made clear that now the real work starts. I have
known Joke as UN Director for Sustainable Development, Director of the OECD Environment Directorate,
Founder of the INGP, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary. She always combined vision with realism, courage
with compassion, diplomacy with a down-to-earth attitude. She has always liked those who take concrete
action on the ground, and thus she was appreciative and supportive of local governments. We will keep
her in best memory.
-Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
The news has come as a great shock to me. One doesn't die at her age. Joke Waller-Hunter left a
deep impression on me a few times I met her in Bonn or spoke to her on the phone. And I was looking
forward to speaking to her ahead of the Montreal meetings. But that was not to be. My sincere
condolences to her team and family.
-Ramesh Jaura, Director and Senior Correspondent, Inter Press Service Europe
Best boss I ever had and is never likely to have again. She saw strengths in people that they had not
begun to see themselves. She pushed people to be better than they were yesterday because she just knew
they could be.She drove us mad by having read more than all of us, having considered more options than
the rest of us, and being always two steps ahead. She showed us how to work hard and play just as hard.
She expected a lot from people around her but expected a lot more from herself. So we did not mind. We
thought we were saving her from working far too much but all along she was teaching us how to be in
life. Her mind was brilliant, her laughter was contagious, her energy was unstoppable, her insight was
laser sharp, her compasion had no end. She was my friend - I still wonder what I did to be so lucky.
She understood without judging. She said little but every her word and every silence counted. There was
so much we postponed to do 'later'. I wish I had gone to Bonn to visit her last summer. I wish
I had insisted on getting the skiing lesson she had promised. I wish I had told her in many many words
how much she meant to me personally and professionally instead of talking with her about climate change
or the UN. Now she is gone... There is some comfort in the thought of doing good and being good in her
-Zehra Aydin, United Nations, NGLS, New York
C'est avec grande tristesse que j'apprends le décès de Joke Waller Hunter.
C'est une grande perte pour la cause environnementale et je salue son engagement
indéfectible à la cause du développement durable pour tous. J'adresse mes plus
sincères condoléances à sa famille et à ses proches.
-Marc Debois. Commission européenne
C'est avec une grande tristesse que j'ai accueilli la nouvelle du deces de Mme Joke Hunter,
Secretaire excutive de la convention cadre des nations unies sur les changements climatiques. J'ai
pu apprecie son dynamisme et son attachement a la question des changements climatique pendant les 3
dernieres annees lorsque je m'occupais du dossier changements climatiques au Ministere des affaires
etrangeres. Aujpurdhui, je suis a la mission permanente d'algerie a New york mais je me rappelle si
bien la derniere que j'ai travaille avec elle. Ce fut en mai 2005 a Bonn lors des sessions des
organes subsidiares de la CCNUCC. Toute la communaute internationale s'etait rejouis avec Mme
hunter de l'entree en viguer du protocole de kyoto et se perparait , avec determination, a la
reussite de sa premiere reunion des parties. Le mois de novembre a montreal sera tres triste car la
communaute internationale poursuivra les efforts que Mme Hunter avait entames sans elle mais son esprit
ne quittera pas les pensees des representants des Etats qui l'ont connue et appreciee. Mes
condolenaces vont a sa famille et a toutes les peronnes du Secretariat qui ont travaille etroitement
avec elle . Que Dieu ait son ame et qu'elle repose en paix. A Dieu nous appartenons, a Dieu nous
-Salima Abdelhak, Mission d'Algerie a New York
J'ai eu grand plaisir à travailler avec Mme Joke Waller-Hunter alors qu'elle
était Directrice de la CDD; c'était une grande dame, avec une capacité de
travail et une motivation exemplaire; c'est une grande perte pour les NU et pour la cause de
l'environnement et du DD.
-Arab Hoballah, PNUE
C'est avec beaucoup de tristesse que nous avons appris le décès de Madame Joke
Waller-Hunter, Secrétaire Exécutive de la CCNUCC. L'ensemble du personnel de mon
ministère se joint à moi pour exprimer nos condoléances les plus attristées
à la famille de la défunte, à tous ses amis et au Secrétariat de la
Convention. Son charisme, son dynamisme et son dévouement à la cause humaine resteront
longtemps gravés dans notre mémoire.
-Elmi Obsieh Waiss, MInistre de l'Habitat, de l'Urbanisme, de l'Environnement et de
l'Aménagement du Territoire---Djibouti
Madame Joke Waller-Hunter quitte notre bas monde en laissant l'humanité au carrefour des
défisdu développement durable avec l'entrée en vigueurdu protocole de Kyoto.
Elle ne sera des notre à Montréal pour poursuivre ceux à quoi ellle a
consacré ses dernière années et energie. Puisses le Bon Dieu Tout-Puissant console
sa famille à laquelle j'adresse mes sincères condoléances en disant ses
membres : soyers fières de ce que Madame Joke Waller-Hunter a accompli pour les
génératio présente et futures.
-K. DJERI -ALASSANI