December 10, 2007

Expert panel to advise Environment Minister at UNFCCC conference

Federal Environment Minister John Baird has appointed a panel of eminent Canadians to provide advice and assistance at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference under way in Bali, Indonesia.

The panel of advisors is being led by former Quebec Premier Pierre-Marc Johnson, who is recognized for his expertise in international trade, negotiations and international partnerships as well as environmental and health law. A lawyer and physician, Johnson has been with the well-known law firm of Heenan Blaikie since 1996, serving as lead counsel in negotiations and mediations involving International Commercial Partnerships, International Trade, and Environment.

The other panel members include:

* Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and current president of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. She has had an extensive career in government, education and international affairs, and was assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada's national weather and atmospheric agency, where she played a leading role in global efforts to negotiate the treaty on climate change adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

*Ian Morton, founder of the Clean Air Foundation and CEO of Summerhill Group, a Toronto agency that creates marketing strategies to help clients move the market toward better choices for consumers and the environment. Morton set up Summerhill Group in 2001 after 16 years of working for a variety of environmental organizations, and has created some of the most innovative and effective public engagement programs on air quality, climate change, and healthy housing in Canada.

*Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and an international advisor on the environment, human rights, scientific research and development, and peace. As the first Canadian ambassador for circumpolar affairs, Simon negotiated the establishment of the Arctic Council, which today has representatives from the indigenous peoples of eight countries in the circumpolar region. She has also served as chair of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Co-operation.

The advisory panel will attend many of the conference sessions and advise the Minister on a wide range of issues, including the most appropriate framework for negotiating a post-2012 agreement; the implementation and promotion of green technology and how Canada can contribute; the role of developed and developing nations in any post-2012 agreement; the impact of climate change on the north; and the role of adaptation in responding to climate change.

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