New Delhi: The head of the UN’s climate science panel, RK Pachauri, has stepped down, the organisation announced Tuesday, amid claims that he sexually harassed a subordinate.
“The bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agreed on Tuesday… to designate vice-chair Ismail El Gizouli as acting IPCC chair,” it said. “The designation of Gizouli follows the decision by Rajendra K Pachauri, PhD, to step down as chairman of the IPCC effective today.”
The decision of Pachauri, who has been accused by a woman employee of TERI he heads of sexual harassment, was made public by the IPCC at its ongoing three-day 41st Session from Tuesday.
Pachauri, 74, was granted interim protection from arrest till February 26 by a Delhi court on Monday.
Last week, he had expressed his inability to go to Nairobi to chair the IPCC plenary session apparently after the Delhi police registered a case of molestation and sexual harassment against him.
“The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agreed on Tuesday, in accordance with its procedures, to designate Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli as Acting IPCC Chair,” the IPCC said in a press release.
“The designation of Gizouli follows the decision by Rajendra K Pachauri to step down as Chairman of the IPCC effective today,” it said.
“The actions taken today will ensure that the IPCC’s mission to assess climate change continues without interruption,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), who facilitated the Bureau meeting.
“We look forward to a productive session in Nairobi this week,” Steiner said.
Elections for a new Bureau, including the IPCC Chair, for the next assessment cycle are already scheduled at the 42nd Session of the IPCC in October 2015, the release said.
Pachauri was elected to the first of two terms as Chair of the IPCC in April 2002 and had been scheduled to complete his second term in October.
Pachauri has held the post since 2002, and the organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.