14 Nov 2017 Press release Environmental rights and governance

L’ancien Président de la COP21 nommé Haut-Référent d’ONU Environnement pour la gouvernance environnementale

14 November 2017 – Former French Foreign Minister and President of the successful 2015 Paris Climate Change negotiations, Laurent Fabius, was designated UN Environment Patron on Environmental Governance today at the 23rd Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

Lauded for his masterful negotiating skills, Fabius brought together 195 countries to sign the first universal agreement in the history of climate negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21). He has continued to channel his decades of political expertise into championing the protection of the environment, by initiating and now promoting the project of a Global Pact for the Environment, which would see the first binding universal legal framework for environmental protection.

“The tenacity and skills Laurent Fabius displayed in conducting the incredibly challenging negotiations that led to the Paris Accord is precisely what is needed to bring governments together to act for future generations,” head of UN Environment Erik Solheim says.

Laurent FabiusMr Laurent Fabius.“Given the rising threats that climate change, biodiversity loss, soil erosion and desertification, and increasing pollution pose to our environment and human health, it is essential the world focuses on how we can fight for a sustainable future as a global community.”

As an honorary UN Environment Patron on Environmental Governance, Fabius adds unrivalled experience and diplomatic weight to the push for better international environmental consensus and policies.

“The Paris Agreement was a historic leap forward but, today, the red alert is still on”, Laurent Fabius says. “We must act massively, we must act immediately. In this difficult context, Erik Solheim convinced me that I could be usefully involved in UN Environment on a volunteer basis, especially by contributing to the adoption of a Global Pact for the Environment in the years to come.”

Fabius will be attending this year's UN Environment Assembly where environmental governance will be a key element of the conference. Held in Nairobi 4-6 December, the Assembly brings together heads of state and ministers from all 193 member states of the United Nations to discuss how to finally beat pollution and move toward a pollution-free planet.

Fabius is currently the President of France’s Constitutional Council.


Laurent Fabius (born 1946 in Paris) occupied several governmental positions in France: Minister for the Budget (1981-1983), Minister of Industry and Research (1983-1984), Prime Minister (1984-1986), Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry (2000-2002), Foreign Minister (2012-2016). He was also Member of Parliament from 1978 to 2012, and served twice as President of the French National Assembly, from 1988 to 1992, and again from 1997 to 2000. In 2015, as President of the COP 21, he played a crucial role in the negotiations that led to the Paris Climate Agreement, the first universal agreement to fight against climate change. In February 2016, he was appointed President of the Constitutional Council of the French Republic.

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UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

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