Wangari Mathai's Daughter to Represent Kenya at UN Talks

  • Vice Presi Vice President & Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute , Wanjira Mathai.jpg
    Vice Presi Vice President & Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute, Wanjira Mathai.
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  • Kenyan environmentalist Wanjira Mathai was on Thursday, June 4, handpicked to advise the United Kingdom on Africa’s climate ambitions ahead of the next round of global climate change talks in 2021.

    Wanjira who is also the Vice President & Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute, has been leading climate change activism projects in Africa. 

    The announcement comes along with the new dates for the CoP26 (The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference), which will now take place between 1st and 12th November 2021 in Glasgow, UK.

    Environment leader, Wanjira Mathai.
    Environment leader, Wanjira Mathai.
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    “The level of vulnerability created by the pandemic creates a new willingness to engage – over the next 18 months we must raise the level of global ambition and political commitment.

    “Today, as celebrating biodiversity, the natural environment is all we have to cushion us from future shocks. The recovery process will have challenges, but we must build back greener, not through business as usual. The risks are simply too high.” Wanjira stated.

    She will be part of an elite panel of 25 experts from multiple global sectors – whose advice will be critical to the success of the UK’s CoP26 Presidency. 

    "Ms Mathai’s expertise will raise ambitions to tackle climate change, help to boost climate action across the globe, and enable African nations to benefit from a green, resilient and inclusive recovery from COVID-19," reads an excerpt from the press statement issued by the British High Commission.

    In the run-up to November 2021, the UK as hosts, announced that it would continue to work with Kenya on her priorities to increase climate action, build resilience and lower emissions. 

    “While we rightly focus on fighting the immediate crisis of the COVID-19, we must not lose sight of the huge challenges of climate change and the action needed to prevent species extinction.

    “With the new dates for CoP26, Kenya and the UK will continue to stand together, using the best of our ingenuity, including through champions like Wanjira Mathai, to seize the opportunities of a brighter, greener future," British High Commissioner Jane Marriott said.

    The daughter of Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Mathai was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine in 2018 for her role serving as the senior advisor at the World Resources Institute as well as for her recent campaign to plant over 30 million trees through her work at the Green Belt Movement.

    Her mother, Wangari Maathai, was a social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2004.

    Since 2016, Wanjira has served as Chairperson of the Wangari Maathai Foundation which looks to advance the legacy of Wangari Maathai by promoting a culture of purpose with young people serving as leaders. 

    When asked of her work with the foundation, Mathai responded: "I am not living in my mother’s Shadow, I am basking in her light."

    Wangari Mathai speaking at the UN, New York. September 26, 2011.
    Wangari Mathai speaking at the UN, New York. September 26, 2011.
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