Monash appoints Climate Change envoy


Internationally respected human rights leader and former United Nations Representative, and Solomon Islands Ambassador, Rex Horoi has been appointed as Monash University’s inaugural Climate Change Envoy.

The newly created role of Special Envoy on Climate Change in the Pacific is believed to be a first by an Australian university.

It aims to aid Monash University in respectfully deepening its research engagement with Pacific Island nations critically impacted by climate change.

Horoi will help form relationships that will assist Monash University, led by Monash Business School, in bridging a key gap in between climate change science and business and economics research, leading to effective mitigation and adaptation policies.

In May 2022, Monash Business School announced a Memorandum of Understanding between the Fiji National University and Monash University, the first step towards establishing a new climate change research centre that will provide collaboration and exceptional research into climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Once established, the centre will be based jointly at the two universities and will also provide high-quality training and capacity building for policymakers in Pacific Island Countries.

Professor Rebekah Brown, Monash University Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) and Senior Vice-President, welcomed the appointment.

“By generating evidence-based solutions, Monash University’s research partnerships and presence in the Pacific offer a unique opportunity to tackle climate change at the front line. We are honoured to be working with Horoi on what is a new model of international research collaboration, anchored in the Pacific, for the benefit of the region and its people,” Professor Brown said.

Head of Monash Business School and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, Professor Simon Wilkie said Horoi’s appointment was an important step in Monash University’s ongoing engagement with Pacific nations.

“We’re delighted to have Horoi join the Business School in this position, which we believe to be a first for an Australian Business School and probably an Australian university,” he said.

“His deep relationships in the region and extensive diplomatic experience will be of immense value as the university seeks to deepen its research understanding in the region, particularly around how nations are being economically affected by climate change.”

Horoi has decades of diplomatic experience at the highest levels, including as the Solomons Islands Ambassador to the United Nations from 1992 – 2000, where he was involved in conventions on protection of children, human rights, the law of the sea, biodiversity and climate change.

He was also Ambassador to the United States of America and High Commissioner to Canada based at the United Nations in New York.

In 1995, Horoi attended COP1, the very first ‘Conference of the Parties’ following the ground-breaking Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, which initiated the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

That pivotal event foregrounded many global efforts, including laying the groundwork for the Kyoto Protocol.

As COP27 approaches in November, Horoi says his role as Climate Change Envoy for Monash will be to help form important regional relationships.

“I still vividly recall attending the historic CoP1; arguing for effective policy to combat climate change has been a passion for me for close to 30 years.

“As a spokesman for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at CoP1, I expressed that Pacific Island nations were like ‘canaries in a coal mine’.

“In my region, the visible and devastating effects of climate change are already occurring. The science is incontrovertible and Pacific Island countries such as Fiji have been very clear voices in the global debate,” he said.

“As our neighbour, Australia has a very important role to play and its educational sector can offer much value both to Pacific Island countries and to global efforts.”

“An important feature in my appointment is that it has been driven by Monash Business School, which boasts world-leading researchers in health economics, business law, finance and economics.

“My role is underpinned by the Monash Impact 2030 Strategic Challenges of the Age – climate change; thriving communities and geopolitical security.

“The inclusion of the business community and policy makers will be absolutely critical in tackling the huge challenges that now lie ahead of us.

“Monash Business School’s ability to harness diverse research expertise across many business fields brings an unparalleled opportunity for the Pacific Island region and globally,” he said.