Patricia Espinosa served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2016-2022. As Mexico's representative to several multilateral bodies and international organisations in Vienna, Geneva and New York, Ms Espinosa has been a vigorous advocate for human rights and gender equality, and a leader in the global fight against climate change and its consequences, including as President of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, which led to the adoption of the Cancún Agreements. Elected President of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1996, she played a key role in the process leading up to the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women.
On 18 May 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Ms Espinosa as the new Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. In that role, she led efforts to finalise the Paris Agreement Work Programme, a critical step in turning the global covenant into a clearly defined set of agreed upon operational rules and procedures, which was achieved at COP26 in Glasgow.
Before taking on her role as the head of the Climate Change Secretariat, Ms Espinosa served as a diplomat, holding different posts in major multilateral organisations, representing her country as Ambassador to Germany (2001-2002) and to Austria (2002-2006), as well as serving as Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2012.
She has more than 30 years of experience at the highest level in international relations, specialising in climate change, global governance, sustainable development, gender equality and human rights protection. Elected President of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1996, she played a key role in the process leading to the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women. Former Ambassador of Mexico to Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and to the UN in Vienna (2002-2006), she was also Chief of Staff for the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991, and responsible for economic issues at the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN in Geneva (1982-1988).
She is a tireless advocate of multilateralism as a means to promote prosperity and wellbeing in all regions of the world through the Sustainable Development Goals and, in particular, to accelerate climate action on behalf of nations and nature, both today and tomorrow.