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Ms. Figueres was appointed Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in May 2010. With a long and distinguished career in the field, Ms. Figueres was a member of the Costa Rican climate change negotiating team 1995- 2009. She represented Latin America and the Caribbean on the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism in 2007, and was then elected Vice President of the Bureau 2008-2009. She conceived the new financial instrument "programmatic CDM" with four groundbreaking publications that marked global thinking on this novel concept.
She initiated her life of public service as Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany in 1982. She served as Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Planning in Costa Rica, and was then named Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture. Moving to the USA, she was Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and in 1995 founded the non-profit Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA) which she directed for eight years. She designed and helped to establish national climate change programs in Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, becoming a prime promoter of Latin America's active participation in the Climate Change Convention. She served as high level advisor to both governments and private companies, including Endesa Latinoamérica. In 2001 she received the Hero for the Planet Award from the National Geographic Magazine.
Ms. Figueres has made important contributions to the analytic literature on the design of the climate regime, is one of the most widely published authors on the topic, and a frequent public speaker. She has a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, and a certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University. She speaks Spanish, English and German.
Ms. Figueres on the International Women's Earth and Climate Summit:
“Women are the heart of the climate challenge, both with respect to impacts as well as in regard to potential solutions. Women need to participate more actively in the policy making process.”