Government backs Indian to head UN climate panel

New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has written to the United Nations backing the candidature of Vijai Sharma, secretary with the ministry, for the post of executive secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The minister said here Wednesday that China has already supported the move.

‘Vijai Sharma is our official candidate for UNFCCC executive secretary. I have written to the United Nations Monday and have also written to BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) countries seeking their support. We have got support from China already for his candidature and we will get support from other BASIC countries,’ Ramesh said at an interaction at the Indian Women’s Press Corps.

Ramesh said the time has come for the post to go to a developing country.

‘The first three secretaries have all been from developed countries and Vijai Sharma has long years of experience with UNFCCC. He was chief spokesperson for G77 for Kyoto negotiations. I am pursuing it. I am not sure as European countries and the US will prefer somebody from a smaller country and India is unarguably at a different profile but I would like to see him there,’ the minister said.

Yvo de Boer, the current executive secretary of UNFCCC, announced his resignation Feb 9.

Ramesh said: ‘I am not pushing him (Sharma) to satisfy my agenda.

‘I think it will be a reflection of Indian’s importance in climate change negotiations and he will provide a bridge between developing and developed worlds.’

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