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Costa Rican Tapped For Senior U.N. Position

December 18, 2009

A longtime Costa Rican politician has been named to a top spot at the United Nations, according to a recent announcement by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Rebeca Grynspan, who served as a vice president in the administration of former President José Figueres (1994-98), will be second-in-command at the U.N. program responsible for providing resources to countries to aid economic growth.

Grynspan’s official title is under-secretary-general and associate administrator of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP). Since 2006, Grynspan has served as Latin American and Caribbean regional director for the UNDP.

She told The Tico Times in February 2004 that during her time with the U.N. she would use Costa Rica as a model of development for the rest of the region.

“Costa Rica is an exemplary country in the region; it has much to offer,” she said. “Despite the problems it faces right now, if you view it from a historical, structural perspective, considering Costa Rica’s gross domestic product, it should have a much lower standard of living. But it’s able to veer its resources toward its citizens. Our challenge is to keep this up.”

Grynspan, who studied economics at the University of Costa Rica and later sociology at England’s University of Sussex, served as vice minister of finance from 1986 to 1988. Her husband, Saúl Weisleder, also has been politically active, serving as president of the Legislative Assembly from 1994 to 1998.

In her new post, Grynspan will assist the UNDP administrator, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, in overseeing the agency’s programs, as well as fulfilling other leadership responsibilities.

–Chrissie Long

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