United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Peter Thomson, the outgoing president of the UN General Assembly as the first Special Envoy for the oceans.
Peter Thomson had played a leading role in the first-ever UN conference on oceans, which was held in June 2017. The conference saw 193 UN member states issue an urgent call for action to reverse the decline in the health and productivity of the world's oceans.
Thomson’s appointment was announced by UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on 12 September. Backing the decision, Dujarric said that Thomson, who is the former ambassador for Fiji, will promote action to implement the conference recommendations.
Speaking on the occasion, Thomson said that the major challenge facing the oceans currently is the change in climate, which not only affects the seas but also affects the air that is inhaled by all people.
• Thomson would be leading the United Nations advocacy and public outreach efforts inside and outside the United Nations system, ensuring that the many positive outcomes of the first Ocean Conference are fully analysed and implemented.
• He would also be required to work along with the civil society, scientific community, private sector and other relevant stakeholders to unite and encourage their activities in support of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.
• Thomson’s previous work experience reveals distinguished experience in diplomatic services including as Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and President of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly during which he provided visionary leadership in guiding the preparation of the Ocean Conference.
• He was elected as the President of the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority’s 2011-2012 session and President of the Council of the Authority’s 2015 2016 session.
• He also chaired the Group of 77 and China (2013) and served as President of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS from 2014 to 2015.
• Besides this, Thomson, prior to becoming a civil servant in the Government of Fiji, devoted many years of his life to working in the fields of rural development and foreign affairs.
Who: Peter Thomson
When: 12 September 2017