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UNEP mourns loss of Sir Peter Blake

UNEP mourns loss of Sir Peter Blake, environment agency's special envoy


7 December – Describing him as "a remarkable person, sportsman and environmentalist," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today paid tribute to its special envoy - America's Cup champion yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, who had been murdered Wednesday by pirates off the coast of Brazil.

In a statement released at UNEP Nairobi's headquarters, Executive Director Klaus Toepfer spoke of his sorrow at learning of Sir Peter's death. "We are deeply saddened and shocked that the life of a person of so much ability, generosity and influence has been taken in this way," he said. "Our sympathy goes to his family and friends, and to the people of New Zealand. I sincerely hope that Sir Peter's friends and colleagues can carry on his great work."

Mr. Toepfer appointed Sir Peter a Special Envoy to UNEP in July at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland during a ceremony hosted by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

"One of Sir Peter's special skills was to make the beauty of this planet and the environmental threats to it accessible to the scientist, the politician, business leaders and the 'man and woman' on the street," said Mr. Toepfer. "This is a great and singular talent and one greatly admired by myself and the staff at UNEP who knew him personally and through his pioneering voyages."

UNEP supported Sir Peter's latest "blakexpeditions" project by providing information and advice on environmental issues around the world.

"Sir Peter's vision, determination and actions were a great complement to the work of the United Nations," Mr. Toepfer said. "I hope that his message about the need to protect the world's oceans and wild places will become an enduring legacy of this remarkable man."

ENDS

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