Secretary-General Ban names Mexican sustainable development official as UN management chief

3 January 2007

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Alicia Bárcena Ibarra as head of the United Nations Department of Management, voicing confidence that the Mexican national, who has extensive experience both within and outside the world body, will contribute to his efforts to strengthen it.

Ms. Bárcena will be charged with carrying out the new direction being set by Mr. Ban, who has pledged “continuity along with change” and has made transforming the Organization a top priority since taking office on 1 January.

“The Secretary General highly values her leadership and managerial skills and has confidence that she shares his vision and philosophy to strengthen and revitalize this Organization,” spokesperson Michele Montas said of Ms. Bárcena, who served under the previous Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, since 2005, most recently as Chef de Cabinet.

Prior to joining the Secretariat in New York, Ms. Bárcena, who earned her master’s degree in administration from Harvard University, was Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), a position she assumed in 2003. She also was Chief of ECLAC’s Environment and Human Settlements Division for four years.

With extensive policy experience in the field of sustainable development, she was the Founding Director in Costa Rica of the Earth Council, an organization created to monitor follow-up to results achieved at the landmark 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

Ms. Bárcena also worked as the Director-General of the National Institute of Fisheries and as the Vice-Minister of Ecology for the Government of Mexico.

She succeeds Christopher Burnham of the United States, who left the post in mid-November 2006.

The announcement came as Mr. Ban continues building a new cabinet by naming officials to top posts, including John Holmes, a veteran British diplomat, who was today appointed UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.


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