Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica has been appointed to lead UN efforts to combat climate change. She will take the reins of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from Yvo de Boer, who announced that he was stepping down to pursue new opportunities to advance progress on the issue in the private sector and academia. Ms Figueres has been involved in climate change negotiations since 1995, serving as a negotiator for both the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. She founded the Center for Sustainable Development in the Americas (CSDA), a non-profit think tank for climate change policy and capacity building, and has both worked on and served on the boards of non-governmental organisations intimately involved in climate change issues. "There is no task that is more urgent, more compelling or more sacred than that of protecting the climate of our planet for our children and grandchildren," she said, upon hearing that she was appointed as the new Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. The next round of high-level global talks on climate change will be held later this year in Cancun, Mexico.