13 Nov 2012 Press release Sustainable Development Goals

UNEP Pays Tribute to Angela Cropper

Nairobi, 13 November 2012 - Angela Cropper, the former Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has passed away following a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Ms Cropper, who more recently had been serving as UNEP's Special Advisor for the Rio+20 Summit, died at her home in London on 12 November.

"I was deeply saddened at the passing of Angela Cropper. As one of the world's leading environmental policy experts, she was a valuable contributor to high-level processes at the cutting edge of sustainable development," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"She leaves an important legacy, including her outstanding work on the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, her service as the first Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity and her contributions to Rio+20. Her commitment will continue to inspire," he added.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director in a letter to staff paid tribute to an individual who throughout her life campaigned tirelessly for the environment and the vision of a sustainable future.

"Angela was a most remarkable individual who commanded enormous respect and admiration in our global community of sustainable development and environment professionals," he said.

"Her personal integrity and professional leadership inspired countless individuals and institutions, who she supported and served in the most humble and selfless manner one could imagine," said Mr Steiner.

"Angela represented the spirit of multilateralism and the ideals of the United Nations at their best," he added.

Ms. Cropper joined UNEP as UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director in February 2008, serving in that position until 2011, when she was appointed Special Advisor to the Executive Director.

Ms. Cropper brought to UNEP a wealth of experience in environmental policy, analysis and negotiations, combined with an inspiring motivation and vision to bring about inclusive sustainable development and a fairer share of natural resources for all. 

A national of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Cropper began her career as an economist.

She later held senior positions with the Caribbean Community and Common Market Secretariat (CARICOM) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), followed by positions as interim Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and as Senior Adviser on Environment and Development with the United Nations Development Programme.

She also served as an independent member of the Senate of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Ms. Cropper oversaw and played a key role in many landmark studies and assessments, including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). She led two sub-global assessments on the Northern Range in Trinidad and the Caribbean Sea.

A testament to her vision and achievements, Ms. Cropper received several environmental awards for her advocacy work in equity, peace and sustainable development, at both international and local levels.

In 2006 she was a recipient of the Zayed Prize for Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society. She also received a Green Leaf Award from the Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

Ms. Cropper was a Visiting Distinguished Fellow with the Woods Hole Research Center and a Visiting Distinguished Fellow and McClusky Fellow with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

In 2000, Angela and her husband John Cropper established The Cropper Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, which aims to promote inclusive sustainable development and the equitable use of natural resources. Encouraging partnerships and facilitating innovative projects were among the Foundation's aims.

"Angela Cropper had a lasting impact on her friends and colleagues; as a role model to many of those with whom she came into contact and as mentor to the many young people with whom she worked," said the Cropper Foundation in a statement.

"She inspired others with her high standards of professionalism, integrity and service to community. Her passing is a tremendous loss to Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and the global community. She gave unstintingly of herself in public policy positions and in voluntary service in education, governance and the environment."