March 10, 2022
A member of the Jury since 1991, Alvaro Umaña’s international career spans academia, government, philanthropy, and NGOs. As Costa Rica’s first Minister of Environment (1986-1990), under President Oscar Arias, he was internationally recognized for his pathbreaking contribution to conservation, including the implementation of innovative financial instruments like debt-for-nature swaps. Dr. Umaña created the National Biodiversity Institute and developed a masters-level specialization in natural resources and sustainable development at Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas. He was founding member and chair of the World Bank Inspection Panel, an innovative mechanism for transparency and accountability in international organizations, and has served on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, the UNESCO Executive Council, the World Resources Institute, and the Stockholm Environment Institute. Dr. Umaña presently co-chairs Climate Transparency, which focuses on the climate performance of G-20 countries.
Dr. Umaña holds a BS in physics with honors and a master’s in environmental pollution control from Pennsylvania State University. He holds a PhD in environmental engineering and science and a master’s in economics from Stanford University.