The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday, September 13, 2021, announced Rebeca Grynspan as the new Secretary-General.

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.

Grynspan takes over from Kenyan Presidential hopeful Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, who served at the helm of the UNCTAD for 7 years. Kituyi was first appointed in September 2013 before being re-elected for another 4-year-term in July 2017.

File image of newly appointed UNCTAD Secretary-General Mrs. Rebeca Grynspan. |Photo| Courtesy|

He resigned early this year to pursue presidential ambitions.

Grynspan was nominated to the post by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and was approved on June 11 by the UN General Assembly.

“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.

“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 said.

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

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).

“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," UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant stated while welcoming Grynspan's appointment.