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People

 

Amina Mohamed

has taken up office as the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She succeeds Angela Cropper of Trinidad and Tobago. Ms. Mohamed, whose appointment was announced in May by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, brings a wealth of experience to the position as a distinguished diplomat, lawyer, manager and policymaker working across the sustainable development and environment policy agendas. From 2000 to 2006, she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the UN in Geneva. Since 2008, and as Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, Ms. Mohamed played a key leadership role in the political, legal and constitutional reform process.


 

Steve Jobs

in the twenty years since the first Earth Summit in 1992, the internet, mobile phones and other communication technologies have made the world a much smaller place — and more of a ‘globalized village’. Today, there are some two billion Internet users worldwide and five billion people who have subscribed to mobile phone services. No one was perhaps more of a visionary to this trend than Steve Jobs of Apple Inc who passed away in October. Among other things, he made a promise in 2007 to be the first computer company to phase out the worst hazardous substances from all Apple products. In 2008 Apple lead the industry with the first computers virtually free of toxic PVC and BFRs. Today, all Apple products are free of these hazardous substances and where Apple lead, HP, Acer and others have followed.


 

Maite Nkoana -Mashabane

President of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban and Minister of International Relations and Co-operation of the Republic of South Africa. She will have a very busy agenda as the content of this year’s negotiations, which begin on November 28, would be the unresolved political issues surrounding the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as how to operationalise outcomes from the Cancun and Bali negotiations.


 

Julia Gillar

Australia’s Prime Minister has pushed through the new Clean Energy Act, under which the country’s 500 worst-polluting companies will be forced to pay a tax on their carbon emissions starting from 1 July next year. Australia is one of the biggest per-capita emitters of carbon globally and has an economy that is more reliant than most on energy-intensive industries such as mining, including coal. It is also set to feel the impacts of climate change earlier than most, and arguably is seeing them already in the recent severe droughts. Domestic fuel bills are expected to rise as companies pass on the costs to consumers. But the government hopes that the legislation will force innovation in renewable energy supplies and free Australia from its reliance on fossil fuels.


 

Young environmental leaders

from 18 developing countries gathered in Leverkusen, Germany in October to showcase their innovative solutions for sustainable development. They were part of the UNEPBayer Young Environmental Envoy Programme in which each Envoy is involved in a sustainable development project in his or her home country. Four students won this year’s Young Environmental Leader Award for projects which had the most potential impact. They are: Sara Rudianto from Indonesia for a small bioreactor that can be used for cooking in households; María Rose Reyes Acosta from Ecuador for developing a process to treat contaminated water; Michael Muli from Kenya for a green energy project that produces clean fuel briquettes made from dried foliage and waste paper; and Mary Jade Gabanes from the Philippines for establishing an environmental education programme for children with special needs. As part of the Award, the four winners received project support worth a total of EUR 3,000 and further support in their home countries to make their projects environmentally and economically sustainable.


 

Patricia Okoed Bukumunhe

Mark Dodd is a UK film director who has won the 2011 International Wildlife Film Festival award as the best independent film for his documentary “The Man Who Stopped the Desert”, a film about Yacouba Sawadogo, a small-holder farmer in Burkina Faso who revived a traditional agricultural technique to restore barren land. The beautifully shot film, showing that one man’s conviction can benefit many thousands living in the Sahel region of Africa, will leave you moved and inspired.

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