UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters here that the UN chief received a letter this morning from Pachauri informing him of his decision to step down as the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with immediate effect.

Asked if the UN would initiate an inquiry into reports alleging Pacahuri of sexual harassment, Dujarric replied in the negative and said that "we have seen the press reports of the case and I understand the case is being investigated by national authorities and that is where it stands."

Dujarric said Ban has thanked Pachauri for his "dedicated leadership" of the IPCC over the last 13 years.

"Pachauri's leadership has been critical in increasing the world's understanding of the true nature of climate change. He has also played a leading role in mobilising international action to address one of the defining issues of our time," Dujarric said.

Ban has expressed confidence that the IPCC will "continue its important work at a time when climate change is affecting more and more people and threatening sustainable development for all," he said.

Pachauri resigned as the chair of the IPCC following accusations of sexual harassment by a women employee of TERI, the NGO he heads in India.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) also announced that 74-year old Pachauri has proceeded on leave "for the time being" but gave no further reasons.

In the letter to UN Secretary General Ban, Pachauri said he has decided to step down from his post "some months" before the completion of his term.

"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," he said.

IPCC under Pachauri had shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice President Al Gore for work on climate issues.

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