Rebeca Grynspan, of Costa Rica, is the eighth Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She is the first woman to hold this position in the history of the organization. SG Grynspan is also the lead coordinator of the UN Task Team for the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance set up by the UN Secretary-General to help support developed and developing countries face the global shocks related to the war in Ukraine. Through the GCRG, SG Grynspan has been one of the principals brokers of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a UN-backed deal between Ukraine, Turkey and the Russian Federation which has facilitated over 4 million metric tons of food to leave Ukrainian ports during the war.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Grynspan has held numerous high-level positions. Prior to her UNCTAD appointment, she was the Secretary-General of the Ibero-American Conference from 2014 to 2021, the first woman to lead the organization. She is also a former Under Secretary-General of the UN and Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and a former Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Prior to joining the UN, she served as Vice President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998. She also held the positions of Minister of Housing, Minister Coordinator of Economic and Social Affairs and Deputy Finance Minister.
She has been member of different high-level multilateral working groups, such as the International Labour Organization’s Commission on the Future of Work, the High-level Panel for Financing for Development, and the G20’s Experts Group on Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
A renowned advocate of human development, Ms. Grynspan has helped to focus the world’s attention on relevant issues such as the reduction of inequality and poverty, gender equality, South-South cooperation as a tool for development, and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, among others.