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COP21: a ‘green’ UN climate change conference, from electric cars to the power of human energy

With countries reaching a new agreement at the United Nations climate change conference (COP21), the global meeting has been qualified as a “monumental triumph” by top UN officials. While many continued to hail the outcome document as the walls of COP21 were torn down on Sunday, the UN News Centre looked back on other aspects that contributed “positive energy” to the two-week event.

"We’ve learnt many lessons from this outbreak and from the response" – Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy on Ebola

In August 2014, amid a rapidly growing outbreak of Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro was tasked with providing strategic guidance for an enhanced international response, and galvanizing essential support for affected communities and countries. As the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. Nabarro played a key role in responding to the outbreak, which mainly affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and claimed more than 11,300 lives to date.

“If we take action now, we can address climate change and build a sustainable future” – Janos Pasztor

Just days away from the kick-off of the 21st United Nations climate change conference — widely known as COP21 — the UN is reminding its main actors that this conference must be a turning point for climate action.

“It’s so valuable to have women on the ground, whether as a civilian or in a uniformed position” – Lisa Buttenheim

On 31 October 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted the historic resolution 1325, drawing attention to the differential impact of armed conflict on women, their exclusion from conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and the inextricable links between gender equality and international peace and security.

INTERVIEW: “Refugees are the responsibility of the world… Proximity doesn’t define responsibility.” – Peter Sutherland

Peter Sutherland is the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration. A strong advocate for the rights of migrants – and for action to increase the benefits of migration for countries of origin, destination, and migrants alike – he works to foster cooperation on issues such as protecting migrants affected by crises and ensuring their role in the development process. A former Attorney General of Ireland, Mr. Sutherland has served as EU Commissioner for competition policy, and headed the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

INTERVIEW: “We have to make decisions together, and we have to make them now” – Mogens Lykketoft

Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark was elected President of the General Assembly’s seventieth session on 15 June 2015. At the time of his election, he was the Speaker of the Danish Parliament. A veteran parliamentarian and government minister, and an economist by training, he was his country’s Foreign Minister from 2000 to 2001. As Finance Minister, from 1993 to 2000, he directed economic reforms that led to a strengthened Danish economy.

INTERVIEW: Global Goals give 'epic opportunity' to the world – Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis is known around the world as the film-maker behind international hits such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mr. Bean, Love Actually, and Bridget Jones’s Diary, as well as for his involvement with the charity Comic Relief.

INTERVIEW: “At the end of the day, every life saved is an achievement in itself.” – UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien

Stephen O'Brien has hit the ground running since taking up his post a couple of months ago as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, having seen first-hand the devastation wrought by ongoing conflicts in South Sudan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

INTERVIEW: “I believe that the country is at a very difficult stage of its development… But at the same time, there is hope” – UN envoy for Iraq Ján Kubiš

It has been six months since Ján Kubiš took up the post of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Over that period, the Slovakian national and his team have had to face considerable challenges – much like the country itself.

INTERVIEW: The toughest spokesperson's job in the world? A decade speaking out for Palestinian humanitarian needs

Chris Gunness has served as the Spokesperson and Director of Advocacy and Communications for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for almost a decade.