UN appoints Mary Robinson and Macharia Kamau Special Envoys on El Nino and Climate

May 23, 2016 15:17 IST

Mary   RobinsonUnited Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 20 May 2016 announced the appointments of Mary Robinson of Ireland and Macharia Kamau of Kenya as his Special Envoys on El Nino and Climate.

The El Nino weather phenomenon, which occurs every two to seven years, affects rainfall patterns and causes both drought and flooding.

The United Nations Special Envoys will provide the leadership required to tackle these challenges, raising the profile and sounding the alarm.

Who is Mary Robinson?

Robinson is currently President of the Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice.  

She served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997.

From 1997 to 2002, she served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

She has also served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Climate Change with John Kuofor and Michael Bloomberg.

Who is Macharia Kamau?

Kamau is the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations.  

He is a former President of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Board and former Co-Chair of the General Assembly Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals.

What is El Nino?

El Nino is the warm phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (commonly called ENSO).

It is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, including off the Pacific coast of South America.

ENSO refers to the cycle of warm and cold temperatures, as measured by Sea Surface Temperature (SST) of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean.

It is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific.

The cool phase of ENSO is called La Nina with SST in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific.

The ENSO cycle, both El Nino and La Nina, causes global changes of both temperatures and rainfall.

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