Internationally recognized environmentalist Maurice Strong, who served as the founding executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, died on November 27, 2015 at the age of 86.
Born in Oak Lake, Manitoba, Strong grew up during the Depression and later held a number of posts with the UN, including secretary general of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 and secretary general of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which resulted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
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"Maurice was a giant in the history of the modern environmental movement and a friend. His passing deserves our attention and respect," wrote Tara Cullis, David Suzuki Foundation president.
Strong received many awards of distinction, including the Order of Canada and more than 50 honorary doctorates.
In recent years, Strong continued to be active, attending Rio+20 the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, and co-authoring Only One Earth: the Long Road via Rio to Sustainable Development with Felix Dodds and Michael Strauss.
Catherine McKenna, Canada's minister of environment and climate change, described Strong as "a great Canadian", tweeting "Let's honour his life & legacy w/an ambitious (agreement) & concrete actions" in Paris.