Tearfund director to head up Friends of the Earth

|PIC1|Tearfund's Policy and Campaigns Director Andy Atkins has been appointed as the new Executive Director of Friends of the Earth. He joins Friends of the Earth in late June, before replacing Tony Juniper as Executive Director later in the summer.

Atkins has a track record and commitment for finding solutions to environmental and social justice challenges and is an experienced leader, campaigner and communicator.

During his 11 years at Tearfund, eight of which as Policy and Campaigns Director, he has overseen many achievements including the establishment of policy and campaigns work as core business for the organisation, initiating its work on climate change and poverty and championing climate change as a poverty issue among UK development NGOs.

He was a key organiser of the Make Poverty History campaign, and is a Board member of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, where he works with Tony Juniper.

Atkins has also gained considerable experience in his previous roles as Campaigns Coordinator, and General Secretary of the Chile Committee for Human Rights, Coordinator of CAFOD's Working in Partnership Programme, and Latin America Desk Officer at the Catholic Institute of International Relations (now Progressio).

Atkins said of his new position, "I have long admired Friends of the Earth. I am delighted to be asked to lead the organisation at what is a critical time for the global environment.

"The need to combat climate change and reverse the loss of the world's biodiversity has never been greater.

"Not only is our planet's unique nature under threat, but the world's poor people are already paying a heavy price."

He said that change was still possible but only with far-sighted proposals alongside principled protest, and the transformation of political priorities and public attitudes to the environment.

"This means not just identifying problems, but working with others to drive positive change," said the University College London-educated Atkins. "Friends of the Earth, with its campaigning track record, its tens of thousands of committed supporters and unique international network, is ideally placed to do this."

Matthew Frost, Tearfund's Chief Executive, said: "This new appointment is a great opportunity for Andy and clearly one he will be incredibly well suited to. Andy pioneered Tearfund's Advocacy work 11 years ago, establishing the Advocacy Group as a highly respected policy & campaigns department across the NGO and wider development sector."

He praised Atkins for his passionate leadership on Tearfund's environmental policy and how these affect people in poverty, his "visionary" role establishing the international movement Micah Challenge and his contributions in making Make Poverty History a huge success.

Atkins will take up his new role at Friends of the Earth at the end of June.

The Chair of Friends of the Earth's Board, Simon Counsell, said, "I am delighted that Andy has agreed to become the new Executive Director of Friends of the Earth. We were looking for an exceptional person, who can build on the successes of the past few years and publicly champion a charity that makes a real difference to people and the environment. With his impressive leadership, campaigning and communication skills, and his obvious commitment for addressing environmental issues and social justice, I am certain we have found such a person in Andy Atkins."