The French to admit world climate expert to its highest Order for his 20 years’ work
Michael Zammit Cutajar will be admitted to France’s highest civilian Order on Tuesday for his internationally-acclaimed work tackling climate change.
Malta’s former Ambassador for Climate Change will be made a Knight of the Légion d’honneur by French Ambassador Michel Vandepoorter, during a ceremony at the embassy residence in Żebbuġ.
Mr Zammit Cutajar was chosen for his “dedication to the field of climate change and his relentless engagement in negotiations at the United Nations”.
“I am most grateful to the French government, through its ambassador to Malta, for its recognition of my work over the last two decades,” Mr Zammit Cutajar said.
In 1991, Mr Zammit Cutajar set up the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and headed it as executive secretary until his retirement in early 2002, holding the rank of UN assistant secretary-general.
“Setting up and leading the climate change secretariat, in Geneva and Bonn, was the high point of my United Nations career and a deep learning experience,” Mr Zammit Cutajar said.
As Malta’s Ambassador on Climate Change until last year, he played a key role in negotiations for stronger international action on climate change, serving as chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (2006) and chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (2008-2009).
“I am also grateful to the government of Malta for enabling me, as its Ambassador on Climate Change, to take on the stimulating challenge of chairing intergovernmental negotiations,” Mr Zammit Cutajar said.
The ceremony has been timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the opening of the UN Conference on the Human Environment on June 5, 1972, in Stockholm, which Mr Zammit Cutajar had attended. This day is now celebrated as World Environment Day.
“The presentation on World Environment Day will be an occasion to think of and thank all the friends and colleagues who helped and supported me over the years,” Mr Zammit Cutajar said.
He will join the same Order as Emeritus President Eddie Fenech Adami, who was awarded the Order’s most senior medal for foreign nationals, Commander of the Légion d’honneur, in 2010.
In 2007, Mr Zammit Cutajar was appointed Member of the National Order of Merit of Malta.