WORLD – Rebeca Grynspan has taken up her new role as secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for a four-year term.

The former vice president of Costa Rica is the first woman and Central American to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general.

Ms Grynspan, a former vice president of Costa Rica, and the first woman to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general was nominated for the post by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and approved by the General Assembly

“I am honoured to begin work at UNCTAD at a critical time for our world,” Ms. Grynspan said. “COVID-19 has exposed the widespread inequalities and vulnerabilities of the world and the development model. As we recover from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to rebalance the global economy, boost resilience and ensure shared prosperity.”

“We must take action today to transform trade and reshape our global economy to overcome barriers to greater prosperity for all and embark on a sustainable development path that will benefit everyone.”

Ms Grynspan said UNCTAD’s 15th quadrennial conference, slated for 3 to 7 October 2021 will be an important opportunity for countries to make bold decisions to address the massive unmet trade, finance, investment and technology needs of developing countries struggling to meet both the COVID-19 economic fallout and sustainable development challenges.

Several high-level positions

Ms. Grynspan has had a career spanning many years and has held several high-level positions.

Prior to her UNCTAD appointment, she was the Ibero-American secretary-general, also there she was the first woman to lead the organization.

She’s also a former under-secretary-general of the UN and associate administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and a former regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the organization.

Prior to joining the UN, she served as vice president of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998 and was also minister of housing, minister coordinator of economic and social affairs and deputy finance minister.

In addition, she was a member of the High-Level Panel on Financing for Development.

Ms. Grynspan succeeds Mukhisa Kituyi of Kenya to whom the Secretary-General is deeply grateful for his commitment and dedicated service in leading UNCTAD.

Ms. Grynspan holds a degree in Economics from the University of Costa Rica and a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Sussex. 

She has been awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa by the University of Salamanca, the University of Extremadura and the European University of Madrid.

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