On July 19 2017, Warwick University awarded an honorary degree to Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, responsible for organising the COP 21 Paris Climate Talks.
Christiana is a world authority on global climate change, and was Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC from 2010 to 2016.
She is currently Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, Climate Works Board Member, World Bank Climate Leader, Senior Fellow for Conservation International, Leadership Council Member for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and Mission 2020 Convenor.
During her tenure at the UNFCC she brought together important stakeholders - including national and subnational governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think-tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parlamentarians - to jointly deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, in December 2015. In this Agreement, 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to below two degrees Celsius. The agreement entered into force in less than a year, breaking the record of the UN. For this achievement Christiana has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.
In addition to her remarkable diplomatic achievements over the past 20 years, Christiana served as Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and in 1995 founded the non-profit Centre for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA), which she directed for eight years.
In 2016 Christiana was listed as one of the top 100 Time magazine Influential Leaders of the World, and in the same year Fortune magazine listed her as seventh of the world's 50 Greatest Leaders.
Oration by David Mond at the awarding of the honorary degree.