2016 Winner

Christiana Figueres

for her innovative diplomacy that led to the Paris Agreement, thereby demonstrating that global agreements are still possible


Christiana Figueres is the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany. She has a long track record in the field of global climate change, having served as a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team from 1995 to 2009, and having played a number of key roles in the governance of the UNFCCC before formally joining the secretariat. Throughout her tenure, Figueres brought together governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the Paris Agreement, the unprecedented climate change accord.

New thinking, new actions

Figueres spent six years constructing the collaboration necessary for delivering a global legally binding agreement after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009. Her work is guided by a belief that in the 21st century, the world needs to move away from black and white thinking and assumptions that there are only two, often diametrically opposed, positions about any issue. Her work explores the gray area surrounding our most pressing concerns. Because of this philosophy, she works to bring in a spectrum of public and private partners and stakeholders to create solutions to the geopolitical and environmental issues facing the globe. Learn more

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