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Our sincere apologies for UN climate meeting incident

28 July 2010

WWF has apologised unreservedly for the unofficial actions of an employee who was involved in an incident at the June meeting of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is one of a series of meetings where a global agreement on tackling climate change is being negotiated.

The incident was gravely offensive to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to the meeting as a whole. It involved the taking and distribution of offensive photographs featuring the official nameplate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“The incident was completely unacceptable under the standards of the Convention and the standards of WWF,” said WWF International director general, Jim Leape. “We have apologised formally to the UNFCCC and the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“The individual responsible has expressed deep remorse and apologised unreservedly for his actions. He is no longer working for WWF.”

Another employee of WWF, and an employee of Oxfam, were questioned by UN security investigating the incident. They have both been suspended pending the completion of further investigations.

“We are deeply sorry for the offence caused by this incident, which we utterly condemn and cannot excuse,” Mr Leape said. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”

Mr Leape has written to the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties governing body, the COP Bureau, outlining a new Code of Conduct that all WWF attendees at international meetings would be required to sign.

“This will ensure that both UNFCCC protocols and our own internal standards are adhered to,” said Mr Leape.

Mr Leape also reaffirmed WWF’s commitment to the UNFCCC process and the continuing negotiations towards solutions to the global issue of climate change.

Climate change is one of the most serious issues facing our planet. We’re determined that this incident will not affect our vital work on this issue.

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