The Government of Chile, the host of the 2019 December UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Santiago, on Thursday April 11, 2019 announced the appointment of business entrepreneur and social change-maker, Gonzalo Muñoz, as Chile’s High-Level Climate Action Champion.
“I am delighted to welcome Gonzalo Muñoz as the new High-Level Champion,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary for UN Climate Change. “He will play a crucial role in advancing the global climate action agenda by bringing stakeholders and governments together in the efforts to implement the Paris Agreement. It is the first time that a High-Level Champion is nominated from the private sector, which will bring a fresh perspective with a wealth of knowledge and experience to the leadership of global climate action. We’re looking forward to working with him to show continued, real-world momentum for higher ambition.”
For years, Gonzalo Muñoz has been at the forefront of environmental innovation in Chile — reinventing the country’s recycling industry to usher in a future without waste.
To make this vision a reality, Muñoz founded TriCiclos in 2009 and, ever since, has been presiding over the expansion of the company to other parts of Latin America. TriCiclos produces a recycling station called Punto Limpio (Clean Point), which is capable of recycling 90 percent of household solid waste. Through the popularity of these units, Muñoz has been leading a cultural movement to advance environmental sustainability and social inclusion.
“In this role I hope to help mobilize the climate action of all interested entities – cities, companies, investors and civil society – to facilitate the approach of these parties to the agenda and sense of urgency that governments, scientists and non-state organizations bring to the COP25” said Gonzalo Muñoz.
“In my capacity as Champion, I will work to achieve a real commitment from the business community that allows for real and urgent changes in the short and medium term in the spirit of promoting the climate agenda from the private sector. In this way, and together with the political leaders, we hope to ensure that the results of these commitments are implemented successfully. Today we know that we are in terms of sustainability at a point of no return. We cannot fail.”
In recognition of his leadership, he was awarded the Circulars 2019 international prize — known colloquially as the ‘Oscars of the World Circular Economy’ — and was also invited to join the New Plastics Economy advisory panel at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
He will serve for two years, and work closely alongside Mr. Tomasz Chruszczow, Special Envoy for Climate Change, who was appointed as High-Level Champion for Poland last year.
Together they will provide critical leadership as the world seeks to build momentum on the road to the UN Climate Conference in Santiago, taking place on 2-13 December 2019.
The central task of the High-Level Champions is to bring together national governments and other actors to foster the necessary ambition to fully realize the Paris Agreement and keep the target of 1.5C alive.
Commenting on the appointment, Minister Carolina Schmidt, President-designate of COP25, said “The Champion COP25 will advise the presidency of the COP to disseminate our messages of ambition and climate action and will represent us in the spaces of the United Nations to carry out this task at a global level. We are proud of the appointment of Gonzalo Muñoz, given his trajectory and his capacity to link between the public sector and the private sector, in order to generate the alliances that allow us to move more quickly towards a low emission economy and build resilience to the changing climate.”
The role of the champions was first created at the UN Climate Change Conference COP21 in Paris in 2015, when governments recognized the enormous contribution of non-Party stakeholders to achieving and – in time – delivering, the landmark Paris Agreement.
As such, Gonzalo Muñoz will harness his position to mobilize climate action from non-Party stakeholders under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action – such as cities, subnational regions, businesses, investors, and civil society – to help countries translate the groundswell of action into the implementation and enhancement of national climate action pledges, otherwise known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).