An African Renaissance in Greenpeace

Press release - January 6, 2010
Greenpeace is pleased to announce the appointment of two prominent African activists into senior positions in the organisation, Kumi Naidoo as Executive Director of Greenpeace International, and Michelle Ndiaye Ntab as Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa.

Kumi Naidoo from South Africa and former General Secretary of CIVICUS(1), will take over from Gerd Leipold in November 2009, and Michelle Ndiaye Ntab from Senegal assumed her appointment in April.

"The appointment of Kumi and Michelle to these leadership roles is significant and timely. It signals further commitment by Greenpeace to a truly global approach to solving environmental problems, while at the same time building strong legitimacy and traction for the rights of Africans to a healthy environment" said Greenpeace Africa Board member, Charles Abani.

Both Kumi and Michelle bring substantial expertise in campaigning, advocacy, policy work and management.

Kumi Naidoo was a founder of Global Call to Action Against Poverty in 2005, which has grown into a coalition of anti-poverty campaigners from over 100 countries, engaging the public to maintain pressure on leaders to fulfill their promises on: aid; trade; debt; climate change and gender equality.

Currently Chair of the Global Campaign for Climate Action(2), of which Greenpeace is a member, Kumi will continue to focus on generating civil society pressure and cooperation to demand a strong deal at the UN Climate Summit to be held in Copenhagen this December.

"I have long been an admirer of the work of Greenpeace, from my days as a young anti-apartheid activist in South Africa and currently as a member of the Greenpeace Africa Board" said Kumi. "The way Greenpeace works on all levels - from confrontation to cooperation with governments and corporations - is an inspiration. The mix of pragmatism and passion really gets things done and effects real change in the world. I believe that Greenpeace is one of the most precious assets the global community possesses, and plays a critical part in reversing the current fatal trajectory of our planet."

Michelle Ndiaye Ntab has a strong background in international relations, public law, communication and community development. She was most recently Chief Executive Officer of the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship. Prior to that, she worked for AKENA Research and Consulting. Michelle also served as Regional Director - Africa with the World Association of Radio Broadcasters, and has worked with the United Nations development programme, the African Union, and with other international agencies. Michelle started her career as Program Manager at the African Institute for Democracy, a UNDP project based in Dakar, Senegal.

"The strategic direction of Greenpeace Africa will be driven by a collaborative framework for action aimed at optimizing links with our African partners to advance environmental and social change both at the African and global levels. I believe that environmental issues are inevitably linked to human development. By investing in environmental justice and equitable sustainability we also hope to tackle the challenges facing the continent '' said Michelle.

Greenpeace works in Africa to end environmental destruction and fights for the right of Africans to a healthy environment. Our campaigns focus on preventing and mitigating dangerous climate change, halting the destruction of tropical forests and stopping the plunder of Africa's oceans.

Other contacts: Dr Naidoo can be contacted for interview through Greenpeace International but it should be noted that since he will not take up the International Executive Director post until 15 November 2009 he will not speak on behalf of the organisation until then. He would however, be happy to talk about the coming climate challenge and his work to secure a strong global deal in Copenhagen to avert catastrophic climate change. Dietlind Lerner, Greenpeace International Media Relations Mobile: +31 6 4616 2026 Email: Mike Townsley, Chief Editor, Greenpeace International Mobile: +31 6 2129 6918 Email: Michelle Ndiaye can be contacted for interviews through Greenpeace Africa. Fiona Musana, Communications Manager Greenpeace Africa Mobile: +27 79 663 5524 Email: Anne Dingwall, Organisational Director Greenpeace Africa Mobile +27 72 250 6442 Email:

Notes: 1. CIVICUS plays an active role in uniting civil society organisations around the UN Millennium Development Goals. As a result of this work, Kumi Naidoo now chairs the International Facilitation Group of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and is an active member of the Expert Panel for Partnership Planning. 2. 3.