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24 May 2023

Recognising that the climate change battle will be won or lost in cities will be key for next IPCC Chairperson

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Elections for Chair of the world’s most important scientific body on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), take place in July 2023 at the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi, with four exceptional candidates in the running.

Renowned academic, policy maker and world-leading authority on climate change and urban ecosystems, and esteemed advisor to ICLEI over many years, Professor Debra Roberts is one of the nominated candidates. If voted in, she would be the first ever African woman to be an IPCC Chair.

As one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change, sub-Saharan Africa is already experiencing widespread climate change-related losses and damages. Professor Roberts has made a significant impact in Africa, having helped prepare the first dedicated IPCC outreach material for the continent, which served as a template to create other regional material. In 2018, she also established the first IPCC Technical Support Unit Office on the continent, which she has since managed. Just as ICLEI does, Professor Roberts also recognises the importance of working collaboratively and particularly at the local government level.

ICLEI Africa strongly supports a Global South candidate taking the lead in this critically important position and, based on her exemplary track record, extensive experience and long road she has walked with ICLEI, we confidently believe that Professor Roberts, if successful in her candidacy, will ensure that the world’s best science, research and evidence gets translated into tangible action that improves the lives of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

However, we wish success to all nominated candidates and stand ready to work together to strengthen and scale up the critical work of local and subnational governments in building resilience and addressing climate change, and so ensure a sustainable urban future. 

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