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Liz Thompson

Former Assistant Secretary General, United Nations

Liz Thompson is a former Minister of Energy and Environment of Barbados. She was an elected Member of Parliament from 1994 to 2008, a Minister for 12 years, and led Minority Business in the Senate from 2008. In 2010 she was appointed by the Secretary General as an Assistant Secretary General of the UN and one of two Executive Coordinators of Rio+20 responsible for building support for the themes, objectives and outcomes of the Conference.

For Rio+20 Ms. Thompson also championed the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), aimed at developing more practitioners of sustainability. To date the HESI has attracted support from more than 300 universities in over 50 countries. It seeks to get universities and business schools to green their campuses and transport systems, develop green procurement policies and supply chains, build a body of literature, case studies and learning around sustainable development, and teach sustainability as a module to all students so as to enhance their understanding and practice of sustainability in their discipline and area of enterprise.

In 2008 Ms. Thompson was honored with UNEP’s prestigious Champion of the Earth Award for her work in climate change and environment. Ms. Thompson is an attorney, a qualified commercial arbitrator, a trained petroleum negotiator, holds an L.L.B. from the University of the West Indies, a Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School, an M.B.A. with Distinction from the University of Liverpool, UK, and an L.L.M. in energy and environmental law and policy with a minor in renewable energy law and policy from the Robert Gordon University, Scotland.