Messages and reflections for Joke 24 Oct 2005
On behalf of the UK Government as well as in our current capacity as Presidency of the EU, we would
like to express our heartfelt sadness at Joke's passing. She was a true inspiration to all in her
ability to work tirelessly to advance the international effort to tackle climate change, as well as
lead the UNFCCC Secretariat and have so much personal time for friends and colleagues alike. She will
be sorely missed. Her family are in our thoughts.
-Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, Secretary of State for Environment, UK
Joke ‘s untimely death was a shock for all of us, although not quite unexpected. There was so
much we still had hoped to discuss with her, where we needed her guidance and the inspiring, very open,
direct and personal communication that was her trademark. I met Joke first in the Netherlands in 1980
and witnessed her career within the Ministry of Environment and later her truly admirable work in the
preparatory sessions and at the UNCED itself. She was a wise, dignified chair of many sessions where
she gave clear guidance and proved to be able to reach consensus with openness and patience. But most
of all her ability to listen, her personal approach and understanding for all with whom she worked,
impressed me. That was an important instrument to her successful results. She was also always
accessible for the NGO community and shared our hopes and convictions for a sustainable society. At the
UNFCCC she has been very helpful to members of our women’s network to give their input in the
process. As a woman she inspired us by her example: combining dedication and hard work with a warm and
open personality, able to bridge gaps, able to be flexible when needed and to have a good laugh and
make many friends; being an exceptional leader and organiser, always reliable and truly committed to
the cause of sustainable development and global and gender justice. Joke will stay in our hearts and we
will keep her memory alive by continuing her fight for a healthier and safer planet for all. We send
our deepest condolences to her family and collegues and all friends who mourn her death.
-Marie Kranendonk –Schwartz, president WECF – Women in Europe for a Common
We would like to express the sincere and deepest condolences on the passing away of Ms. Waller-Hunter.
Our condolences to her family, friends and colleagues from the UNFCCC Secretariat. God bless her.
-Alcira Perlini and staff, Fundación Argentina de Etoecología.
As is clear from all these messages, Joke leaves behind her a significant legacy for the world's
environment and its people. It is a legacy that will be carried on through all of us who knew and loved
her, as we continue to be inspired by her throughout our lives. I feel very honoured to have worked for
her, and to have had her as a mentor and a friend. She was an extraordinary woman. She will be so
-Helen Mountford (OECD)
I was very saddened to hear of Joke's untimely passing. I will always remember her for her good
humour, kindness, and skilful leadership of the climate change process. My sincere condolences to all
her family and many friends.
-Joanna Depledge, Cambridge University