Rebeca Grynspan appointed as UNCTAD’s secretary-general

11 June 2021

The Costa Rican economist and former vice president of the Central American nation becomes the first woman to be appointed secretary-general of the UN's trade and development body.

Rebeca Grynspan
Default image copyright and description

© The Ibero-American General Secretariat

Rebeca Grynspan of Costa Rica will be the new head of UNCTAD, the United Nations trade and development body. Her nomination to the post by UN Secretary-General António Guterres was approved on 11 June by the UN General Assembly.

Ms. Grynspan, the first woman and Central American to be appointed as UNCTAD’s secretary-general, is an economist and current Ibero-American secretary-general.

“I am grateful and honoured for the trust UN Secretary-General António Guterres has placed in me with this appointment as secretary-general of UNCTAD,” Ms. Grynspan said. “I look forward to bringing my experience and commitment to development to this unique organization, whose history, mandate and recognized world-class expertise make it a key partner for all countries facing the challenges of post-pandemic recovery.”

She added: “I believe that, at this critical time, UNCTAD can make an essential contribution for a more just, sustainable and inclusive recovery for all.”

Ms. Grynspan has had a career spanning many years and has held several high-level positions including, among others, former under secretary-general of the UN and associate administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

She has also served as UNDP’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, a member of the High-level Panel on Financing for Development, and vice president of Costa Rica (1994 to 1998).

UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant welcomed the appointment and said: “This is great news for UNCTAD. The timely coming on board of Ms. Grynspan as our secretary-general will be key to leading us in the implementation of a new chapter and mandate that will be decided by our 15th ministerial conference, UNCTAD15, in October this year.”