DUBLIN, Ireland, July 15 (UPI) -- The Irish government welcomed the decision from the United Nations to appoint its former president, Mary Robinson, as the special envoy for climate change.
Robinson became the first female president of Ireland in 1990 and then acted as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002. She's currently a member of The Elders, a peace advocacy group formed in part by Nelson Mandela.
Joan Burton, deputy prime minister of Ireland, said Robinson will inject a much needed sense of urgency into the climate debate.
"It is a sign of the esteem in which former President Robinson is held that she has been asked to undertake this very difficult but crucial task, and a sign of her longstanding commitment to climate justice that she has accepted it," she said in a statement.
Robinson herself said she had "mixed emotions" about leaving her position at a peace council for the Great Lakes region of Africa, but felt it was appropriate to respond to the request from the U.N. secretary-general.