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Maurice Strong (1929 - 2015)

Associated Press / David Karp

Maurice Strong (1929 - 2015)

Canadian environmentalist and businessman Maurice Strong, who served as the first United Nations Environment Program Chief and whose work led to the upcoming World Climate Summit in Paris, has died, according to The Associated Press. He was 86.

According to The Associated Press and the United Nations, no further details were available on the cause of his Nov. 28 death.


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Raised during the Great Depression, Strong developed an interest in oil and gas early in his career and made his way to the Alberta oil fields, where he rose to become president of Power Corporation of Canada, a position he held until 1966. Strong began his work with the United Nations in the early 1970s, when he served as the secretary-general of the Conference on the Human Environment and then became the first executive director of the U.N. Environment Program. In this role, Strong laid the roadmap for international environmental diplomacy, convening the first international group meetings on climate change. In 1992, Strong organized the Rio Earth Summit, which led to the launch of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. These watershed moments in climate diplomacy led to the landmark World Climate Summit scheduled for Monday in Paris. 
 
Though he returned to the private sector several times throughout his career, such as his 1976 leadership role as chairman and CEO of Petro-Canada, Strong is most noted for his long-term involvement with environmental diplomacy.
 
"Mr. Strong was a global pioneer of sustainable development who left our country and our world a better place. His accomplishments will be remembered and honoured for years to come," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

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