DIPLOMAT | NEGOTIATOR | LEADER
UN Architect of Global Climate Agreements
My name is Karen Christiana Figueres Olsen and I was born in 1956 in Jan José, Costa Rica, where there is a beautiful tropical forest. When I was a child, an endemic species of golden toads lived there. But when I wanted to show them to my daughters twenty years later, I discovered that the whole species had disappeared because of climate change. I then realised that we were transmitting to our children an impoverished planet compared to the one we had received from our parents. That is when I started to commit to the environment cause.
My mission is to ensure that countries around the world, poor or rich, find viable and productive economic means in accordance with the sustainable development of our planet and join forces to fight against global warming. I work to find and implement concrete actions with governments and private or public companies to deal with the effects of climate change.
Being the daughter of a diplomat mother and of a father who was three times President of Costa Rica, I have a sound knowledge of the political systems. My brother has been President of Costa Rica too. His sustainable development policy has made our country one of the greenest and happiest in the world. This helps me establish worldwide negotiations to slow down air polluting emissions, to protect the environment and to develop a circular economy.
After graduating in anthropology in 1981, I become a diplomat, and I hold positions of responsibility in several ministries. In 1989, I move to Washington with my family. Six years later, I fund an NGO, the Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA) and join the climate negotiating team for Costa Rica.
In 2010, I am appointed Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). I chair successfully numerous international conferences climaxing with the COP 21 in Paris when almost 200 countries sign the first-ever legally binding global climate agreement.
To find out more about me visit Global Optimism website