Christiana Figueres is a Costa Rican diplomat and an influential leader in the area of climate change. From 2010 to 2016 Figueres was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She has been recognized internationally by a multitude of organizations and world leaders for her efforts in climate change and engaging in diplomatic relations to discuss climate change as an international community. She graduated from Swarthmore college and continued on to get her Masters Degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics. Figueres revolutionized how the international community engages in discussions and negotiations regarding climate change. During her time as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Figueres worked to make global negotiations about climate change based on “fairness, transparency, and collaboration.” This led to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which focuses on countries working on low carbon emissions, while also working on sustainable economic development. Figueres has advocated for countries to not solely focus on addressing climate change, but address this global concern has part of improving countries’ economies, food and water security, and overall health.
Climate change will be an important topic in the upcoming discussions during the G20. It is likely Figueres will urge G20 leaders to implement policies that focus on addressing climate change. In 2017, Figueres wrote a piece in which she warned world leaders that if gas emissions do not fall by 2020, the world could face irreversible and dangerous damage. With Trump’s decisions to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, this will be a key discussion point at the G20. Figures will likely present more evidence of the need for full global engagement on this pressing issue.