Alicia Bárcena assumed office as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on 1 July 2008.
She had previously served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Chef de Cabinet and Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the former Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan.
Alicia Bárcena held the post of Deputy Executive Secretary and Director of ECLAC's Environment and Human Settlements Division.
Prior to her time at ECLAC, Ms. Bárcena served as Co-ordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Sustainable Development Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), responsible for the Environmental Citizenship Project at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Alicia 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 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
Ms. Bárcena has published numerous articles on sustainable development, public policy, environmental issues, and public participation. Alicia Bárcena holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, in Spanish), as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. She has completed the courses for a degree of Master in Ecology, and has initiated studies for a PhD degree in Economics at the UNAM.
She has been awarded an honoris causa doctorate by the University of Oslo, Norway, in September 2014, and by the University of Havana, Cuba, in March 2016. In July 2014, she was appointed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico as extraordinary teacher to collaborate at the Economics School and other entities.
Place of birth: Mexico City, Mexico
Occupation: ECLAC Executive Secretary
Education: National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of Harvard
WHAT DOES THE ECLAC SECRETARIAT DO?
÷ Undertakes studies, research and other support activities within the terms of reference of the Commission.
÷ Promotes economic and social development through regional and sub-regional cooperation and integration
÷ Gathers, organizes, interprets and disseminates information and data relating to the economic and social development of the region.
÷ Provides advisory services to Governments at their request and plans, organizes and executes programmes of technical cooperation
÷ Formulates and promotes development cooperation activities and projects of regional and sub-regional scope commensurate with the needs and priorities of the region and acts as an executing agency for such projects
÷ Organizes conferences and intergovernmental and expert group meetings and sponsors training workshops, symposia and seminars
÷ Assists in bringing a regional perspective to global problems and forums and introduces global concerns at the regional and sub-regional levels;
WHAT ARE ITS MAIN AREAS OF WORK?
÷ Economic Development ÷ Social Development ÷ Statistics ÷ CELADE-Population Division ÷ International Trade and Integration ÷ Economic and Social Planning (ILPES) ÷ Production, Productivity and Management ÷ Sustainable Development and Human Settlements ÷ Natural Resources and Infrastructure ÷ Gender Affairs ÷ Programme Planning and Operations ÷ Publications and Web Services
HOW HAVE ITS MAIN IDEAS AND OBJECTIVES CHANGED OVER TIME?
÷ Origins and the 1950s: industrialization through import substitution;
÷ The 1960s: reforms to facilitate industrialization;
÷ The 1970s: reorientation of development "styles" towards social homogeneity and towards diversification as a means of promoting exports;
÷ The 1980s: overcoming the external debt crisis through "adjustment with growth";
÷ The 1990s: changing production patterns with social equity.
÷ Today: Human economy and sustainable development