CIGI Chair Jim Balsillie appointed to U.N. High-level Panel on Global Sustainability

August 9, 2010


Waterloo, Canada – August 9, 2010 – Jim Balsillie, Chair of The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), has been appointed to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, the United Nations announced today.

Balsillie, who is also co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), is one of 21 members of the panel including two co-chairs, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma.  Balsillie is the panel’s only Canadian and the only representative of the private sector.

The panel is charged with formulating a new vision for sustainable growth, in response to the growing risk of dangerous climate change.   It will address questions such as how to move to a low-carbon, green economy, eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable levels of consumption and production. Its report is due in December, 2011.

The panel should “think big,” said U.N. Secretary–General Ban Ki-Moon.  In a letter to appointees, he said their “leadership and expertise will make a vital contribution to the work of the panel as it articulates a new way forward with global green prosperity.”

Other panelists include:  Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway; Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action; Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister; and Susan Rice, United States representative to the U.N.

“I am pleased to help this esteemed group develop new ideas for prosperity in a low-carbon world,” Balsillie said today.   “This is a critically important initiative for all countries, and integrates perfectly with the work CIGI is undertaking to address the international governance challenges of climate change.”

CIGI’s annual fall conference, to be held Oct. 1-3, 2010 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, is titled “CIGI ’10 – Climate of Action.”  Participants will examine how bottom-up action on the environment could be integrated with global solutions to climate change.

“Jim Balsillie’s appointment to this U.N. panel can be seen, in part, as an endorsement of CIGI’s work on the most pressing problems facing the world,” CIGI Vice-President of Programs and acting Executive Director Thomas Bernes said today.  “Our efforts to illuminate the most critical issues and the best possible courses of action on governance innovation are giving Canadian-led policy research a stronger voice on the world stage.”

The panel’s work will feed into intergovernmental processes, including preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 2012), and the annual meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The Panel will be supported by a small team within the Secretary-General’s Office in New York.


Fred Kuntz. Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs, CIGI

Phone: 519.885.2444, ext. 317

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank that addresses international governance challenges. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate, builds capacity, and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI's interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2002 by Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM (Research In Motion), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit:

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