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Pachauri Quits UN Panel After Sex Harassment Case

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The United Nations' top climate official Rajendra Pachauri resigned as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following accusations of sexual harassment against him in India.
 
Pachauri, 74, earlier failed to leave for a meeting of climate scientists in Kenya after a 29-year-old female researcher from his New Delhi-based think tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) accused him of addressing inappropriate messages to her.
 
TERI announced that Pachauri has proceeded on leave "for the time being" but disclosed no reasons for doing so.
 
Pachauri wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that he has decided to step down from the chair of IPCC, which he has headed for 13 years.
 
"The IPCC needs strong leadership and dedication of time and full attention by the Chair in the immediate future, which under the current circumstances I may be unable to provide, as shown by my inability to travel to Nairobi to chair the plenary session of the Panel this week. I have, therefore, taken the decision to step down from my position as Chair of the IPCC some months before completion of my term, and with effect from February 24, 2015," he said in the letter to Ban.
 
Pachauri, who shared Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with former US Vice President Al Gore for work on climate issues, heads TERI, where a woman employee has filed a complaint with the police levelling allegations of sexual harassment.
 
Pachauri's decision to resign was made public by the IPCC at its ongoing three-day 41st session on Tuesday.
 
Granted interim protection from arrest till February 26 by a Delhi court on Monday, Pachauri claimed in his letter to Ban that he wanted to end his spell as IPCC chairman on November 2 last year in Copenhagen but close friends and colleagues advised him against that and wanted him to continue with outreach efforts worldwide.
 
Last week, Pachauri had expressed his inability to go to Nairobi to chair the IPCC plenary session after the Delhi police registered a case of molestation and sexual harassment against him.
 
"The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agreed on Tuesday, in accordance with its procedures, to designate Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli as acting IPCC chair," the IPCC said in a press release.
 
"The designation of Gizouli follows the decision by Rajendra K Pachauri to step down as Chairman of the IPCC effective today," it said.