2019/11/08 Chemnitz, Germany
At the 7th Saxon Sustainability Conference (7. Sächsische Nachhaltigkeitskonferenz), UNU-FLORES Director Edeltraud Guenther had the honour of giving a laudation for Patricia Espinosa of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on being awarded the Sustainability Prize by the Saxon Hans-Carl von Carlowitz Society.
Ms Espinosa is currently undertaking her second term as Executive Secretary of UNFCCC – the UN entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. In her time with UNFCCC, Ms Espinosa has championed the goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as highlighted and supported the demands of the youth to find a solution to climate change. Ms Espinosa has also served the Mexican Government as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and as Mexican Ambassador to Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Slovakia.
This annual event is presented by the Carlowitz Society – an organisation that strives to uphold the legacy of Hans-Carl von Carlowitz, a 17th-century nobleman, tax accountant, and mining administrator. In a time where mining and the subsequent need for timber almost decimated the forests of Saxony, Hans-Carl von Carlowitz used his elevated platform to first introduce the concept of forest sustainability – a concept which has now expanded into a global principle.
Prof. Guenther’s laudation drew multiple parallels between the lives and visions of Ms Espinosa and Carlowitz: both have used their platforms and experience to draw awareness to a dire threat and displayed unwavering dedication in promoting changes on global, governmental, communal and individual levels, and enabling environments, to safeguard the future.
For several years now, the Sustainability Prize has been presented in Chemnitz – the birthplace of the historic environmentalist – in a commitment to raise awareness of sustainability. Among the other awardees this year include Marlehn Thieme and Alexey Kokorin and in the youth segment, Greta Thunberg and Felix Finkbeiner. Several UNU-FLORES staff members had the privilege of attending the event held at the Chemnitz Opera House on Thursday 7 November.
While Ms Espinosa was unable to accept the award in person and was instead represented at the event by her husband Juan Luis Rivera Ferrero, she appeared via video from the UNFCCC premises in Bonn. Ms Espinosa addressed the very receptive audience and further reiterated her commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in working to facilitate intergovernmental climate change negotiations.
Professor Guenther was warmly received by the members of the Carlowitz Society and guests alike, many of whom also expressed a keen interest in the Dresden Nexus Conference. UNU-FLORES looks forward to the potential for further collaborations and sincerely thanks the Carlowitz Society for including the Institute in a very successful event.