Messages and reflections for Joke 22 Oct 2005
It was with great sadness that we received word of the passing of Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive
Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Ms. Waller-Hunter was
a passionate proponent of international action to preserve our planet and the well being of humankind -
the principles underlying the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol that she helped make a reality. Her career
included many important accomplishments. She was a driving force behind the Kyoto Protocol’s
entry-into-force, displaying the determination for which she was so well known, and an exceptional
commitment to her work. Her reputation for having great vision, passion and leadership was well earned.
In recent months, I have had the privilege of working closely with Ms. Waller-Hunter in preparation for
the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) in Montreal. I was fortunate to have
the opportunity to get to know her and see first hand what a truly talented and gracious individual she
was. Ms. Waller-Hunter will be deeply missed as the international community continues to work together
to realize her vision for addressing the threat of climate change through international cooperation.
J’ai éprouvé beaucoup tristesse en apprenant la nouvelle du décès de
Joke Waller-Hunter, secrétaire exécutive de la Convention cadre des Nations Unies sur les
changements climatiques (CCNUCC).
-Stéphane Dion , Minister of the Environment , Ministre de l'Environment CANADA
Joke above all impressed me as a chairperson of international meetings. Seemingly effortless, but
effective, with clarity on what to achieve and respect for diversity. Informally, she impressed by
providing precisely the right advice to the design of worldwide environment assessments. I am grateful
for the advice she gave and sad because of the untimely end to her life.
-Jan Bakkes, Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency at RIVM
Dear UNFCCC colleagues: It was with great sadness that all of us at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The
Netherlands learned of the passing of a great voice for the environment and sustainable development.
She will not only be missed, her steadfast leadership skills and wonderful sense of humor will be very
difficult to replace. Leaders such as Joke only come around periodically. We will lower our flag at
UNESCO-IHE out of respect for a great colleague and due to the fact that our Institute is hosted by her
-Richard A. Meganck, Director, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
May I express my personal sincere condolences at Joke’s untimely passing, as well as those of our
Ministry and staff, to Joke's family and friends as well as to the UNFCCC Secretariat. It has been
a personal honor for me having known and worked together with her. May God bless her and her family
during this time.
-Ibrahim Bin Ahmed Al-Ajmi, Deputy Director General of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Regional
Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources, Sultanate of Oman.
Please convey my deepest condolence and sympathy to the family of Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter. May the
Almighty Allah grant her eternal peace and a place in heaven for her. I stand head bowed in admiration
of her work towards creating a better world for all.
-Hajji Abdul Hameed
She was a great person. So nice, cooperative, friendly. She was committed to the matter of environment
and sustainable development. So professional, experienced, successful. It is unbelievable that all this
should be now expressed in past tense. Joke, it would have been so good to meet you and work with you
next time in Montreal. We are so sad that it cannot happen, but we feel obliged to continue the mission
to which you dedicated your life.
-Miklós Persányi minister and Tibor Faragó director-general, Hungarian ministry
Joke has been and remains to be one of these outstanding persons who has strongly influenced my life,
my attitude to work, people and nature. Her highly professional approach to work, her firm but always
kind leadership, her energy and creativity were each moment linked with great human values. I am
grateful that I had the honour and priviledge to meet Joke, to work with her, to talk to her. Thank
you, Joke. I will miss you, but I will keep you in my mind as the greatest inspiration and example for
me. With sincere sympathy,
-Helena Cizkova, Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic
We were deeply shocked and saddened by the Ms. Waller-Hunter's sudden departure. Ms.
Waller-Hunter's too early decease brings about a huge loss to the entire process of combating the
climate change and global environment as a whole. Joining you in memory, on my behalf, and on behalf of
the staff of our Ministry, our condolences to the family, collaborates in the UNFCCC Secretariat and
friends of respected colleague Ms. Waller-Hunter.
-Nikola Ruzinski, State Secretary, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Environmental Protection,
Physical Planning and Construction
What a loss for all of us. Joke epitomized the standards both for a dedicated and highly effective
professional, working for the sustainability of our world, and for a wonderfully warm, humorous,
interested and active human being. We will all miss her.
-Paul Isenman, OECD DAC Secretariat (retired)