Alicia Bárcena is the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Bárcena has a long history of public service with the UN. She has previously served as under secretary general for management at headquarters in New York, chef de cabinet and deputy chef de cabinet to former Secretary General Kofi Annan, deputy executive secretary of ECLAC, director of ECLAC’s Environment and Human Settlements Division, coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Sustainable Development Program of the UN Development Program (UNDP), and director of the Environmental Citizenship Project at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Additionally, Bárcena was the founding director of the Earth Council in Costa Rica, a non-governmental organization in charge of follow-up to the agreements reached at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Bárcena has taught and conducted research at the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico. She has published numerous articles on sustainable development, public policy, environmental issues, and public participation.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology as well as a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. In September 2014, Bárcena was awarded an honoris causa doctorate by the University of Oslo, Norway.
Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the ECLAC, has co-authored and published a new book titled La emergencia del cambio climático en América Latina y el Caribe ¿Seguimos esperando la catástrofe o pasamos a la acción? or “The Climate Change Emergency in Latin America and the Caribbean: Are We Still Waiting for the Catastrophe or Do We Take Action?”
How are external factors such as global trade tensions, the coronavirus outbreak and Brexit likely to affect Latin America and the Caribbean, and what structural issues are still holding the region back?