Nigerian born South African to head international climate change body

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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has appointed top African scientist John Kilani to head its sustainable development unit, charged with reducing global gas emissions, the UN body said Tuesday.

The Nigerian-born scientist, who earned his name in the field of climate change science while working in Kenya, will head the Sustainable Development Mechanism (SDM) programmes at the UNFCCC secretariat in Bonn, Germany.

The 54-year-old, who is now a South African national, has held senior positions as environment engineer for top mining companies across the world and has taught at the University of Durban, South Africa.

An astute negotiator, Kilani worked with top mining, oil and gas companies in Kenya, mainly in the field of environment before joining the Qatar Petroleum as engineer for its sustainable development projects.

He has also participated in negotiations leading to the Marrakech accords on market-based mechanisms to address climate change.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said in a statement Tuesday the UN body was “excited the climate change scientist was joining the UN body, bringing on board his experiences from the private sector”.

The South African scientist served as Africa’s lead negotiator during the talks leading to the adoption of the Marrakech accord. He also served as a member of the executive board for clean development mechanism.

Under the clean development mechanism, countries which produce excess carbon gases, blamed for increasing the pollution of the climate and leading to excessive heat, are allowed to harvest carbon and trade internationally.

“I am excited and honoured to be joining the part of the UN that provides support to UNFCCC parties negotiating an agreement to fight climate change, our greatest global threat,” Kilani said in accepting the appointment.

The clean development mechanism is set up under the Kyoto protocol.

The UNFCCC is tasked with monitoring its implementation through a number of activities, including reviews of climate change, information and data.

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