Nigel Baker

Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Holy See

6th May 2016

Pope Francis wins UK Green Ribbon award

COP21 conference, Le Bourget, France
COP21 conference, Le Bourget, France
COP21 conference, Le Bourget, France
COP21 conference, Le Bourget, France

The Green Ribbon awards are amongst Britain’s most prestigious environmental awards. They are awarded by The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the leading independent Chartered professional body for water and environment professionals, which promotes excellence within the sector. They have been presented since 1993, and aim to celebrate the greatest environmental achievements of UK and international politicians, business and charities. This year saw those who care for creation gathered at the Houses of Parliament on 3 May to celebrate the winners.

Not surprisingly, leading instigators of the Paris climate change deal featured prominently in the awards. Laurent Fabius, former French Foreign Minister, President of the Constitutional Council and President-designate of COP21, received the award for best environmental achievement internationally for his persistent, patient and ultimately successful steering of the complex process of negotiation of COP21 to its final conclusion. However, that achievement depended also on the mobilisation of voices across the world in favour of high ambition and political will. Essential to that was Pope Francis, through his timely encyclical letter Laudato Si’ , an urgent clarion call for sustainable development and care of our planet.

That is why the award for most inspirational figure internationally was given to Pope Francis.  CIWEM’s Chief Executive, Terry Fuller, said at the award ceremony that: “These awards celebrate those who speak passionately and campaign tirelessly on the environment, demonstrate leadership and commitment and engender positive change in the way we as human beings interact with our fragile planet.” On that basis, it is difficult to argue with the decision to confer the award on Pope Francis. Building on the careful theological basis for environmental action built up by his predecessors, he has energised the global Holy See network – representing 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide – in favour of our planet, and our life upon it.

According to the award citation: “The judges praised the encyclical as a perfect example of how to write about climate justice, with juxtaposition to reduce you to tears. They believe that it was the most significant moment of 2015, utterly compelling and inspirational.”

I am delighted that Pope Francis’s powerful contribution to this global debate, an existential matter for us all, has been recognised in the UK in this way.

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5 comments on “Pope Francis wins UK Green Ribbon award

  1. I´ll applaud the day he wins a women’s rights award for non-discrimination of Catholic women in the Church.

  2. …because that day. we’ll know he’s serious about the planet, about refugees, about abused children, about cover-up bishops, about migrants, about the rights of women in the secular world, about justice and about mercy. You can’t talk about any of these subjects with credibility while at the same time discriminating women inside our own Church…candil de la calle, oscuridad de la casa.

  3. Ambassador:
    You have not published my comments. You do a lot for women but you address the effects of discrimination, not the causes. When you address effects, you address the particular. You can do a lot more. So can Francis.
    When you address the causes, you address the universal, and that is more divine. …but it requires putting yourself out on a limb. It requires controversy, not compromise, not complacency, …not at the cost of subordination of nearly 700 million Catholic women.
    Don’t be afraid.
    Rgds, M

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About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

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