"The United Nations appointed Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica on Monday to be its climate chief to head stalled international talks on how to contain the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
Figueres, 53, the choice of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is the first leader of the U.N. climate change secretariat to come from a developing country. She will take over from Dutchman Yvo de Boer from July 1.
She beat fellow short-listed candidate Marthinus van Schalkwyk, a former South African environment minister, for a position meant to rally global accord on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol after a disappointing summit in Copenhagen last December.
Announcing the appointment, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Figueres "brings to this position a passion for the issue, deep knowledge of the stakeholders and valuable hands-on experience with the public sector, non-profit sector and private sector."
The scale of Figueres' task is underscored by a Copenhagen summit where 120 world leaders failed to reach a binding deal, pledging instead to mobilize $30 billion from 2010-2012 to help poor countries deal with droughts and floods, and to try to limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius."