Dr. Paul Oquist

Dr. Paul Oquist is Minister-Private Secretary for National Policy for the President of the Republic of Nicaragua, Commandant Daniel Ortega Saavedra.

Dr. Oquist is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the Green Climate Fund, and he was elected by the developing countries in the Green Climate Fund to represent them as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors in 2018 and now remains an Advisor. Dr. Oquist lobbied for the organization of the Green Climate Fund in COP-16 in Cancun, served on the Transition Committee (2010–2011) that produced a proposal, while Nicaragua was named for the final negotiation in Durban by the G-77+China with the United States that represented the developed country constituency.

Dr. Oquist is a third-term member of the Standing Committee of Finance (SCF) of the UNCCC. He represented the SCF in the Interim Directorate of the Warsaw Mechanism of Losses and Damages.

He was a member for two consecutive terms (2010–2017) of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA).

Dr. Oquist has been Nicaragua´s Head of Delegation in every Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change since the last part of COP-15 in Copenhagen. In COP-21, in Paris, Dr. Oquist communicated the Nicaraguan position not to sign the agreement and to demand a greater level of ambition from large emitter countries in accordance with their historical responsibilities, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C in this century. By COP-23 in 2017 in Bonn, the need for greater ambition was a consensus position of most countries, and Nicaragua signed and ratified the Paris Accord. President Daniel Ortega Saavedra in his message to the UN General Assembly in 2015 maintained that countries with climate change losses and damages have a right to claim indemnization and compensation from the largest historical emitters (1880–to date) in proportion to their level of responsibility. The Nicaraguan delegation has maintained this as the only position that is both scientific and just.

Dr. Oquist was also the spokesperson for the ALBA countries at COP-15 in Copenhagen in their defense of the multilateral negotiating process in the face of the attempt to impose a parallel document initiated by the largest emitters without multilateral negotiations that take into account developing countries. The one-sided document was successfully blocked.

In recent COPs Nicaragua has stressed the urgency of the current situation based on the latest scientific information available and given the gravity of recent catastrophic climate events. The Report on the 1.5°C. on which Nicaragua and Bolivia insisted in COP-15 was assigned to IPCC and presented in October, 2018. The findings are that to limit climate change to 1.5°C. average world temperature in this century, it is necessary to reduce emissions 45% by 2030 and achieve a zero-emission, sustainable society by 2050.

Dr. Oquist was Senior Adviser to the President of the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations, Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann. In that capacity he was Chief Negotiator for the Second Financing for the Development Meeting held in Doha, Qatar, in November, 2008, which surprisingly approved a high-level United Nations meeting on the “Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development” that Dr. Oquist coordinated on behalf of Father D’Escoto in June, 2009. He was also liaison with the group of high-level economists who prepared an Expert Paper for the Conference under the direction of Nobel-winning Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University.

Dr. Oquist was Regional Expert on Governance for the Asia Division of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) based in Islamabad, Pakistan (1998–2006). He was Senior Technical Adviser for the UNDP Management Program in Mongolia (1993–1998) and Director of UNDP Public Administration Projects in Quito, Ecuador (1975–1979). In addition, Dr. Oquist was a consultant for UNDP and UNICEF at the highest level of government in Colombia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, where he undertook eight policy assessments on “Peace and Development in the Southern Philippines” for the Multi-Donor Support Group between 1999 and 2006.

In 2019, Dr. Oquist represented Nicaragua in the 49th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Kyoto, Japan); in the United Nations Climate Action Summit (New York, U.S.A.); in the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (New Delhi, India); in the 2019 Forum of the Standing Committee on Finance on “Climate Finance and Sustainable Cities” (Beirut, Lebanon); in the High Forest Cover and Low Deforestation Conference on Climate Finance Mobilization (Paramaribo, Surinam); in The Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) (Nairobi, Kenya); in the Petersberg Climate Dialogue X (Berlin, Germany); the XVII Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non Aligned Movement (Baku, Azerbaijan); the CELAC V Think Tanks Forum (Beijing, China); in The Our Oceans Conference (Oslo, Norway); in the CEPAL Sustainable Development Conference (Mexico City, Mexico); in the Italy – Latin America and the Caribbean Conference (Rome, Italy); and the 10th Bosphorus Summit (Istanbul, Turkey).

In 2018 Dr. Oquist represented Nicaragua with interventions on Nelson Mandela in the General Assembly and in defense of Venezuela in the Security Council of United Nations (New York, U.S.A.); in the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology (Vienna, Austria); and the Global Insurance Forum (Berlin, Germany).

In recent years he has represented Nicaragua in water summits (Hungary, 2013; Abu Dhabi, 2014); Protected Maritime Areas (Marseilles and Ajaccio, 2013) and Convention of Cartagena on protection of Caribbean (Cayenne, French Guyana, 2016); renewable energy (IRENA, Abu Dhabi; Government of Great Britain, London, U.K., 2015); and political affairs (NO-AL, Bali, Indonesia, 2013). He has represented the President of the General Assembly in NO-AL, (Havana, 2009); Organization of African Unity, (Addis Abeba, 2008) and UNDP at the British Commonwealth Conference on Local Governance (Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K, 2005), Conference of Asian Political Parties (Bangkok, Thailand, 2002) and Millennium Conferences (Seoul and Tokyo, 2000); among others.

BACKGROUND

Dr. Oquist holds a Ph.D. (1976) and an M.A. (1967) in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, while his bachelor in Political Science was from U.C.L.A (1966). He did a postgraduate course at the Latin American School of Political Science and Public Administration of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Santiago, Chile. His doctoral dissertation “Violence, Conflict and Politics in Colombia” was published in Spanish and English (Institute of Colombian Studies, 1978, and Banco Popular, several editions) (Academic Press, 1980). He was Professor of Political Science at the University of the Andes in Bogotá, Colombia (1970–1975). He has also taught in FLACSO (Santiago and Quito) and the Latin American Post-Graduate School of Economics (ESCOLATINA) of the University of Chile.

Dr. Oquist was born in Oak Park, Illinois, USA, whose primary school system was field-visit intensive in the museum-rich Chicago area, as well as subjecting the children to the Nutcracker suite every Christmas, which supposedly formed discipline. He has been a Nicaraguan citizen since 1981. He attended Roosevelt Junior High School and Compton High School in Compton, California, while he graduated from Belmont High School (Summer, 1961) in Los Angeles, California, where he was Senior Class President, Class Valedictorian and voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”

Dr. Oquist has lived in Oak Park, Illinois; Russellville, Arkansas (mother’s hometown); Compton, Los Angeles, Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany, California, all U.S.A.; Santiago, Chile; Bogotá, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; New York City, New York, U.S.A; Ulan Bataar, Mongolia; Islamabad, Pakistan, and at home in Managua, Nicaragua. His father’s hometown was Svensbyn, Piteå, Norrbotten, Sweden. He has been married to Pilar Aguilar Matamoros since 1967, whose hometown is el Carrizal, Ciudad Darío, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, for over 50 years.

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