Senior Management Group
Joan Clos, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme
On 25 August 2010, the General Assembly elected Joan Clos (Spain) as Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to a four-year term of office, beginning on 18 October 2010. Established in 1978 to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities, with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all, UN-Habitat contributes to the Organization’s overall objective to reduce poverty. Mr. Clos had been recommended by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The former Mayor of Barcelona, Joan Clos, has a long career in the Spanish Government both at the local and national level. Between 2006 and 2008, he was appointed Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade in President José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's cabinet. Prior to this, between 1997 and 2006, Joan Clos served two terms as Mayor of Barcelona. He is currently Ambassador to the Republics of Turkey and Azerbaijan.
A graduate of medicine with qualifications in public health, Joan Clos first joined the Barcelona Municipal Government as Director of Public Health in 1979. During this period he was instrumental in conceptualizing the General Health System law which led to the introduction of the Spanish National Health System.
As Councillor, between 1983 and 1987, Clos was known for improving municipal management and for initiating urban renewal projects. In particular, he directed the regeneration of Ciutat Vella (The Barcelona Downtown district) through a series of comprehensive interventions that included financial and social investment and the strengthening of urban facilities.
Elected as Deputy Mayor for two terms, from 1991, Clos reorganized the economic and financial structures of Barcelona City Hall to meet the challenges of the Olympic Games. He was also instrumental in establishing a financing programme for further investment following the Olympics.
Mayor of Barcelona
During his tenure as Mayor, from 1997 to 2006, Joan Clos implemented far reaching investment programmes for the city of Barcelona. One of the most ambitious projects was the design and preparation of Barcelona22@ Project which aimed at renovating the city's industrial and technological zones. An additional 250 hectares of land in one of the most deprived areas of Barcelona was renovated to include social housing, hotels and offices. In 2004, this was the site of the first Forum of Cultures, which also hosted the second United Nations World Urban Forum.
In addition to his municipal background in Barcelona, Joan Clos has considerable regional and international experience. He helped establish the Regional Consortium for Public Transport in charge of managing and coordinating public transport, which established a common ticketing system for over 5 million inhabitants across an area of 3,500 sq. km. Clos also established the Metropolitan Plan for the Management of Urban Waste which led to the closure of the Garraf waste dump, setting up four treatment stations with facilities for recycling.
At the international level, in 1998, Joan Clos was elected President of Metropolis, the international network of cities. In 2000, he was elected President of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities, (WACLAC). Between 2000 and 2007, he was Chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, (UNACLA). In 2004, he was the Vice-president of United Cities and Local Governments, (UCLG). And between 1997 and 2003, he was member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, (CEMR).
Minister of Industry and Tourism
As Minister of Industry and Tourism in Prime Minister Zapatero's Cabinet, from 2006 to 2008, Joan Clos rationalized the Iberian Energy Market in line with European Union Policies. This included establishing bi-lateral agreements between Spain and France to improve electrical power linkages. During this time, amongst other initiatives, over 17,000 Mw of renewable wind energy systems were also installed.
During his Mayoral term, Joan Clos received a number of awards including, in 1999, a gold medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects for transforming Barcelona. He also received in 2002, the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award for his contribution in encouraging global cooperation between local authorities and the United Nations.
Joan Clos was born in Parets del Vallês (Barcelona) on 29 June 1949. He is married with two children. He graduated from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) with a degree in medicine. He later specialized in Public Health and Epidemiology, at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland).