Dona Bertarelli: Special Adviser for the Blue Economy

In the Decade of Action, Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14) calls on us to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources.

Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the ocean. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

UNCTAD's new Special Adviser for the Blue Economy, Ms. Dona Bertarelli, will help promote a sustainable and regenerative blue economy, particularly in developing countries and small island developing States.

She was named as Special Adviser of UNCTAD for the Blue Economy in June 2020 by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

As Special Adviser, she brings expertise, innovation and vision to her new role. Her multi-stakeholder approach of combining science, technology and education on one hand and working with governments as well as with local communities on the other will add immense value to UNCTAD's work on the blue economy.

Dona Bertarelli: Special Adviser for the Blue Economy
Dona Bertarelli in the Galapagos Islands / © Chris Schmid

About Dona Bertarelli

Dona Bertarelli: Special Adviser for the Blue Economy
Dona Bertarelli / © Mark Henley Ledunfly

Ms. Dona Bertarelli is the Special Adviser of UNCTAD for the Blue Economy. She is the fastest woman to sail around the world, a philanthropist, ocean conservation advocate and entrepreneur.

Her love of the ocean and offshore sailing has taken her across the world's waters, inspiring her work in conservation. She believes strongly in the power of business to do good for society. When she served as executive director of the family pharmaceutical business, Serono, she drove the development of its philanthropy and educational programmes.

She co-created the Bertarelli Foundation in 1998, and for the last decade, has led the foundation's work in advancing marine conservation policy and ocean protection, which can help safeguard the livelihoods of the billions of people who rely on the ocean for their food and livelihoods. To date, it has supported the protection and environmental conservation of more than 2.7 million square kilometres of the ocean.

Among her other philanthropic activities, she has developed programmes to support young people on the front line of climate change in creating sustainable and social enterprises, and an educational programme for school children.

We depend on the ocean for everything: livelihoods, transport, recreation, tourism, and even the very air we breathe. But our ocean is under threat. This affects all of us.   

Now is the time to do things differently and help humans live in harmony with our beautiful ocean. I'm honoured by this opportunity to join efforts with UNCTAD to ensure a sustainable and regenerative blue economy.

Dona Bertarelli
Special Adviser of UNCTAD for the Blue Economy