Biography

With more than 30 years’ experience working with governmental and nongovernmental organizations, Umaña has held leadership positions with international organizations such as the World Bank, where he was founding member and chairman of the World Bank Inspection Panel; the International Monetary Fund, where he has served since 2007 as senior adviser to the Office of the Executive Director for Central America, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela; and the United Nations, including UNESCO and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), where most recently he was principal adviser and leader of the Energy and Environment Group in the Bureau for Development Policy. From 2006 to 2007 he was an adviser for Costa Rica to the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington.

As Costa Rica’s first minister of energy and environment from 1986 to 1990, during President Oscar Arias’ first term of office, Umaña was internationally recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to conservation, including creation of the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) and implementation of innovative financial instruments such as debt-for-nature swaps. Under his leadership, Costa Rica implemented the largest commercial debt-for-nature program of any developing country.

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The idea that anyone could own the sky seems absurd, and therein lies the problem. We would not consider paying for the air we breathe, and neither do the 90 corporations currently responsible for about two thirds of global emissions. Presently, there are no property rights over the atmosphere, which is being utilized as a […]

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