Kevin Conrad

Kevin Conrad

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Kevin Mark Conrad, born in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to parents living in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 in 1968, is a Papua New Guinean lawyer and environmentalist
Environmentalist
An environmentalist broadly supports the goals of the environmental movement, "a political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities"...

. He grew up in the Arapesh tribe near Wewak
Wewak
Wewak is the capital of the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea. It is located on the northern coast of the island of New Guinea. It is the largest town between Madang and Jayapura. It is the see city of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wewak....

, East Sepik Province and graduated from Ukarumpa High School in the Eastern Highlands Province.

Professional roles


Conrad serves as Special Envoy and Ambassador for Environment & Climate Change for Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 and also the executive director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations
Coalition for Rainforest Nations
The Coalition for Rainforest Nations is an intergovernmental organization established by forested tropical counties to collaboratively reconcile forest stewardship with economic development...

. He is a graduate of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, London Business School
London Business School
London Business School is an international business school and a constituent college of the federal University of London, located in central London, beside Regent's Park...

, and University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

.

In August 2011, following a change of government in Papua New Guinea, new deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Forestry and Climate Change, Belden Namah
Belden Namah
Belden Namah is a Papua New Guinean politician and former military officer.In the 1990s, he was an officer in the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, with the rank of captain. He was involved in the aftermath of the Sandline affair in 1997...

, said that Conrad would be recalled from his role as envoy, and replaced. Namah stated that he wanted a climate change ambassador who was a permanent resident of Papua New Guinea, and suggested that Conrad was insufficiently familiar with the country, its culture and its landowners.

In November, however, he was still expected to be the country's Special Envoy and Ambassador to the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference
2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference is an ongoing conference, held in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011....

 in Durban
Durban
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism...

.

Climate change negotiations


Conrad is a leading figure behind global efforts to value the ecosystem services provided by tropical forests with the objective of reducing rates of deforestation and increasing forest conservation. In this context, he is generally credited for launching efforts within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 (UNFCCC) now widely referred to as REDD+ -- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries.'

Further, in his role at the Coalition for Rainforest Nations
Coalition for Rainforest Nations
The Coalition for Rainforest Nations is an intergovernmental organization established by forested tropical counties to collaboratively reconcile forest stewardship with economic development...

, Conrad has been instrumental in the establishment of the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the United Nation's UN-REDD Programme. Based upon these efforts, industrialized countries — including Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 — pledged around US$3.5 billion by the close of 2009 under the Copenhagen Accord
Copenhagen Accord
The Copenhagen Accord is a document that delegates at the 15th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to "take note of" at the final plenary on 18 December 2009....

 for capacity-building and incentives to reduce rates of deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 in participating developing countries.

Conrad "gained a worldwide spotlight" during the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference
2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference took place at the Bali International Conference Centre, Nusa Dua, in Bali, Indonesia, between December 3 and December 15, 2007 . Representatives from over 180 countries attended, together with observers from intergovernmental and nongovernmental...

 where he represented Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 and declared:


We all came with high expectations. The world is watching us. We left a seat for every country. We asked for leadership — and there is an old saying: "If you're not willing to lead, then get out of the way." I would ask the United States: we ask for your leadership. We seek your leadership, but if for some reason you're not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us; please, get out of the way.


According to the New York Times, "the room erupted in applause, and within minutes the lead American representative, Paula J. Dobriansky, dropped the objection and said, 'We will go forward and join consensus today.'" Conrad's statement received widespread international media coverage, and was soon spread on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

.

In July 2011, in preparation for the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference
2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference is an ongoing conference, held in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011....

, he submitted a proposal, in the name of Papua New Guinea (supported by Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

), to the secretariat of the conference, asking for amendments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 "in order to make effective the right to vote under Article 18 and allow a ‘last resort’ vote to be taken only when every effort to reach consensus has failed and where there is a matter that carries broad-based support and ‘political will’". The proposed amendment to article 18 included, in particular, the following line: "If such efforts to reach consensus have been exhausted and no agreement has been reached, a decision shall, as last resort, be adopted by a three-fourths majority vote of the Parties present and voting", with exceptions. The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 described it as an "intriguing" proposal to break the expected "deadlock between rich and poor" countries. Conrad had considered submitting the proposal at the Copenhagen Conference in 2009
2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, was held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 December and 18 December. The conference included the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

, and now felt it was time to clarify the decision-making process under the Convention. The BBC noted that although, under Papua New Guinea's proposal, developing countries would be able to use their numerical superiority to adopt any kind of obligation, in practical terms they would still need the approval of rich countries to secure funding. Nonetheless, the BBC's environmental correspondant Richard Black concluded his introductory article to the 2011 Conference by noting: "It will be intriguing to see how far PNG takes this idea, and how much support it gets".

International honors


In 2009, the United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its...

 named Conrad a 'Champion of the Earth' for Policy Leadership along with Erik Solheim
Erik Solheim
Erik Solheim is a Norwegian politician for the Socialist Left Party . He holds two posts in the current Norwegian cabinet, and carries the title Minister of the Environment and Minister of Development Cooperation...

, Minister of Environment and International Development of Norway. In 2008, Time magazine
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 named Conrad #1 in the "Leaders & Visionaries" category within its annual list of "Heroes of the Environment
Heroes of the Environment (2008)
Heroes of the Environment is a list published in Time magazine. After the inaugural list of 2007, the next list was published in September 2008...

", in an article by Joseph Stiglitz.