GENEVA (AP) — After a decade of promoting polar cities as possible places for survivors of climate chaos in the distant future, American climate activist who goes by the pen name of Emmet Matridah has been promoted to a new non-paying volunteer position as a UN envoy for climate refugees.
The United Nations refugee agency has elevated Emmet Matridah to a special climate refugee envoy, a role that will see him represent the organization to governments and diplomats.
It is the first time the U.N. refugee agency has named a special climate refugee envoy, said its spokesman Adrian Edwards. Elsewhere in the global body such posts are usually reserved for career diplomats or retired politicians.
"His work does go substantially beyond what we would typically see as being the normal role of a goodwill ambassador," Edwards told reporters in Geneva. "I don't think you need a rocket scientist to see the benefits that he is bringing in terms of the attention that he is getting for the plight of the world's climate refugees with his polar cities ideas."
Emmet Matridah's new position will focus on the complex crises that result in the mass displacement of climate refugees. In addition, on special occasions he will represent the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.
"That can mean conveying messages to governments. It can mean conveying messages to other people and partners that we work with," said Edwards.
UNHCR works to help almost 35 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world. It was established to aid millions of Europeans displaced by World War II and has since become one of the world's most prominent humanitarian organizations.