Issue 133 - March 18 - Recent Developments: New UNICEF Head, Costa Rican Candidate for UNFCCC, Interviews for Human Rights ASG

New York, March 18, 2010 - A number of developments have taken place on UN elections and appointments. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon selected former U.S. National Security Advisor Anthony Lake as the new head of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Costa Rica named a candidate for head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). And interviews have begun for the new position of Assistant Secretary-General to lead the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Anthony Lake Appointed Head of UNICEF, Pending UNICEF Approval

Three months after Ann Veneman announced her resignation from her post as Executive Director of UNICEF, the Secretary-General has appointed her successor: the U.S.' nominee Anthony Lake. UNICEF's board must now approve Ban's selection.

In his parting words for the outgoing Executive Director, on March 16, Ban thanked her for her "immense dedication, energy and determination to improve the lives of children around the world," and concluded, "she leaves behind an organization well-equipped for the enormous challenges ahead." 

Veneman's term ends on April 30.

The Secretary-General also expressed confidence in Lake's ability to lead the Fund: "He brings with him a wealth of experience after a long and distinguished career with the United States Government."   

Costa Rica Nominates Christiana Figueres for UNFCCC Post

The Economic Times reported on March 16 that Costa Rica has nominated Christiana Figueres for Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

Figueres was nominated by Costa Rica's President Óscar Arias on March 11. In his statement, Arias affirmed his confidence in Figueres and expressed the hope that a Costa Rican national could fill the high-level post. Arias referred to Costa Rica's reputation as "a democratic, neutral mediator with profound commitment to national and global environmental protection," adding that, "naming a Costa Rican citizen to this position would send an important signal to a world that shouts for urgent action on climate change." He cited Figueres' "long-standing experience in the field, her widely recognized facilitation and conciliation skills, and her knowledge of the many international organizations and norms related to climate change."

The Economic Times reported that Figueres enjoys the support of "many members of the," Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), for which she is a "strong ally...both within the G-77 and the broader UNFCCC."

Figueres' personal website lists her as a member of the UNFCCC negotiating team since 1995. Figueres recently served as the representative for Latin America and the Caribbean on the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism in 2007, and served as Vice President of the Bureau of the UNFCCC from 2008-2009. Figueres began her career in 1982 as Minister Counselor for Costa Rica's embassy in Bonn, Germany. Domestically, she served as Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Planning, and later became Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture. Later, Figueres was the Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA). In 1995, she founded the Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA), which focuses on "climate change capacity building," for which she was the Director until 2003. Figueres received National Geographic's Hero for the Planet Award in 2001.

Selection Committee Holds Interviews for New Human Rights Post

Interviews have begun for the new position of Assistant Secretary-General to lead the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UNelections Campaign understands that at least six of the reported candidates were interviewed in New York last week and this week.

The selection process for that post also has been commented on at


UNelections and Appointments in the News