Climate change activist Greta Thunberg has withdrawn from the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation’s annual peace lecture.
Thunberg’s spokesperson Daniel Donner declined to comment on her reasons for withdrawing from the event.
In her stead will be Christiana Figueres, who helped put together the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and a Ugandan and South African activist.
The lecture will be held on 7 October, when the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize laureate turns 89.
Figueres was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016.
The foundation said in a statement on Friday that she had brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and NGOs to jointly deliver the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The accord aims to bring future global warming to below 2°C.
She is the co-founder of Global Optimism, co-host of the podcast Outrage & Optimism and is the co-author of the recently published book, The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis.
She will be joined by Uganda’s Vanessa Nakate, 23, and South Africa’s Ayakha Melithafa, 17.
Their topic will be: Climate Justice Globally, Now and for the Future, with an emphasis on intergenerational dialogue and cooperation.
The statement quoted an extract of a piece Tutu wrote for the Guardian six years ago:”Our desire to consume any and everything of perceivable value – to extract every precious stone, every ounce of metal, every drop of oil, every tuna in the ocean, every rhinoceros in the bush – knows no bounds. We live in a world dominated by greed. We have allowed the interests of capital to outweigh the interests of human beings and our Earth. We are running out of time to pull things back.”