First woman takes the reins at Unctad

13th September 2021 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

Economist Rebeca Grynspan has effectively taken up her role as secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) for the next four years.

She is the first woman to serve in this position, after being nominated by the prior secretary-general António Guterres and approval of the General Assembly in June.

Grynspan says she starts her work at Unctad at a critical time, in that Covid-19 has exposed the widespread inequalities and vulnerabilities of the world and its development model.

She believes that, as the world recovers from the pandemic, there is an opportunity to rebalance the global economy, boost resilience and ensure shared prosperity.

As such, Unctad’s quadrennial conference, scheduled for October 3 to 7, will feature discussions about the massive unmet trade, finance, investment and technology needs of developing countries, as they struggle to meet Sustainable Development Goals.

Prior to her appointment at Unctad, Grynspan was also the first woman to head up Ibero-American.

She was also previously an under secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) and associate administrator of the UN Development Programme.

In the 1990s, she served as Vice President of Costa Rica, as well as Minister of various departments including finance and housing.