Maurice Strong’s work helped usher in a new era of international environmental diplomacy at the 1972 Stockholm Conference.

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TORONTO — Maurice Strong, whose work helped lead to the landmark climate summit that begins in Paris on Monday, has died at age 86, the head of the U.N.’s environmental agency said Saturday.

“Strong will forever be remembered for placing the environment on the international agenda and at the heart of development,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP).

Details of Mr. Strong’s death were not released.

The Canada-born Strong, the first UNEP chief, organized the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which led to the launch of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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Christiana Figueres, current head of the U.N. climate agency, tweeted Saturday: “We thank Maurice Strong for his visionary impetus to our understanding of sustainability. We will miss you.”

Steiner said Mr. Strong’s work helped usher in a new era of international environmental diplomacy at the 1972 Stockholm Conference, which saw the birth of UNEP. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, it’s the first U.N. agency to be headquartered in a developing country.

The former oil-industry executive was a native of Oak Lake, Manitoba. As head of UNEP he convened the first meeting of global experts on climate change.