A fascinating interview with Maurice Strong in the Wall Street Journal's Weekend Review by Claudia Rosett, who asks "Is the godfather of the Kyoto treaty a public servant or a profiteer?":
Often described as an "international man of mystery," Mr. Strong during his long, globe-trotting career has been one of the most influential architects of the opaque cross-border bureaucracy that is today's United Nations. He is probably best known as godfather of the U.N.'s 1997 Kyoto treaty, and as a former U.N. top adviser who in that same year received a check for almost $1 million, bankrolled by the U.N.-sanctioned regime of Saddam Hussein.Now, Mr. Strong is no fan of Ms. Rosett who has written much about him in the past, especially concerning his connections to other characters implicated in the UN's Oil for Food scandal like Tongsun Park and Benon Sevan. So just the fact that Rosett was granted this interview is something in itself.
The apple-faced Mr. Strong was born in 1929 in rural Canada. He grew up with a hankering to see the world. His travels took him to New York, where he spent a few months working in 1947 as a junior security officer at the U.N. He went on to tour Africa, and returned home to climb the corporate and public-sector ladders in Canada. In 1970 he returned to the U.N. for the first in a series of high-level incarnations that included organizing the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the environment, founding and becoming the first head of the U.N. Environment Program, and chairing the 1992 Rio summit on the environment.
Here's a couple of select comments from the interview...
He says that when he left New York in 2005, "I didn't just run away to China, I already had an apartment here." He adds that his departure from the U.N. was motivated not by the Oil-for-Food investigations, but by his sense at the time, as Mr. Annan's special adviser on North Korea, that the U.N. had reached an impasse. "It just happened to coincide with the publicity surrounding my so-called nefarious activities." He insists: "I had no involvement at all in Oil-for-Food . . . I just stayed out of it."On his current activities in China, Strong tells Rosett:
"My advice gets to the highest levels." he says. He has also been involved in setting up the Tianjin Climate Exchange for trading carbon credits: "the first climate exchange in China." It's a joint venture with several entities, including the Chicago Climate Exchange, where he holds a seat on the board.There's much more, so be sure to read the whole thing.
Update: Strong publishes his views on the Future of China. Curiously the essay is marked "NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN AUSTRALIA, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, CZECH REPUBLIC, IRELAND, POLAND, THE UNITED STATES, AND THE UNITED KINGDOM". But you can read it at the link.