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
-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 Future
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 greatly missed.
-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
-Joanna Depledge, Cambridge University