Dr. Edgar E. Gutiérrez-Espeleta
Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica,
President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly
“Our goal, collectively, must be a pollution-free planet.”
Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez is the Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly. He is an advocate and leader of environmental change and has a particular interest in sustainable development and human security.
Dr. Gutiérrez represented his country, Costa Rica, in United Nations agencies and regional ministerial forums. He led the first two status reports of UN Environment on the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the first environmental report in Central America. In addition, he directed the compilation of environmental data for Latin America and the Caribbean. He also led the National Environmental Strategy of Costa Rica in 2005 in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Energy.
Prior to his appointment as Minister of Environment and Energy, Dr. Gutiérrez was a Professor at the University of Costa Rica. He co-founded the project “State of the Nation” of the National Rectors Council of Costa Rica, and founded the Observatory for Development at the University of Costa Rica in 1997 and was its Director until 2005. Dr. Gutiérrez was the Director of the School of Statistics of the University until August 2013 and the Director of the Graduate Program in Statistics until May 7, 2014. He was also coordinator of the project, “Atlas de Desarrollo Humano Cantonal”, a joint initiative with the United Nations Development Programme.
Dr. Gutiérrez has published over 30 works in national and international scientific journals, including a book on statistical methods. He graduated from Iowa State University in the United States, with a Master and PhD in Forest Biometrics. He also obtained a Statistics Sciences Degree from the University of Costa Rica.
Priorities of the President of the 2017 United Nations Environment Assembly
1. Strengthening the role and visibility of the UN Environment Assembly
Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez has placed a particular emphasis on strengthening the UN Environment Assembly and its visibility on the international stage. On 18 May 2017, the Committee of Permanent Representatives discussed ways to strengthen the Assembly and UN Environment Programme as a whole, in order to deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
2. A vision for a pollution-free planet
Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez considers pollution to be one of the main obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Pollution destroys ecosystems and hampers economic growth. At the 2017 UN Environment Assembly, he wishes to focus on measures to fight pollution, such as wastewater treatment, action on marine litter, micro plastics and single-use plastics, and a global ban on lead in paint.
3. Clean Seas
Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez supports the CleanSeas initiative to build a global movement that highlights the problem of marine litter and tackles it decisively.
"Costa Rica recognizes the risks and damage caused by the effects of single-use plastic and non-recoverable micro plastics on the marine environment. We strongly favour the engagement of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, private sector and all citizens to support national and global efforts. Only through a real and active engagement of all of us, with the help of dynamic partnerships, we will be able to effectively combat marine litter."
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