Laureates 2019

2019 FUTURE - Combatting Climate Change

Ms. Christiana Figueres

laureate Christiana Figueres

Global Optimism
United Kingdom

Ms. Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change. She is a founding partner of Global Optimism, a purpose-driven enterprise, focused on social and environmental change.

Ms. Figueres was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016. Throughout her tenure, she brought together national and subnational governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the unprecedented climate change agreement. The exceptional merit of the Paris Agreement in the world’s efforts to combat climate change, lies in the universal international unanimity, in which 195 nations adopted the agreement, aiming to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C.

Figueres has a long trajectory in the field of global climate change, having been a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team, and having played a number of key roles in the governance of the UNFCCC before formally joining the Secretariat.

She initiated her life of public service as Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany, was Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and founded the non-profit, Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA).

Among her many awards and honors, the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany (1985), Legion of Honor of France (2015), National Guayacan Medal of Costa Rica (2015), Solar Champion Award (2016), British Renewable Energy Judges Award (2016), Manuel de Maria Peralta Prize International Law (2017), CARE Millennium Award (2017), and Distinguished Leadership Award BCSE (2017). Honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Concordia University, and Georgetown University.