Topics: Peace and Human Rights
Environment and Climate Change
Regional focus: Global
Latin America and the Caribbean
Origin: Costa Rica
Fellowship: Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the forty-eighth President of the Republic of Costa Rica, completed his constitutionally limited term in May 2022. Under President Alvarado’s leadership, Costa Rica contributed to global efforts to combat climate change, and defended human rights, democracy, and multilateralism.

In February 2019, President Alvarado launched Costa Rica’s National Decarbonization Plan, the first of its kind since the Paris Agreement of 2015 which established the road map to decarbonize the country’s economy by 2050. His administration also organized the run-up to the U.N. Climate Change Conference – COP25 in Madrid, while creating with France and the United Kingdom the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People that now includes 190 member states that agreed to this goal during the biodiversity COP-15 in Montreal 2022.

In May 2020, under his leadership Costa Rica launched with the World Health Organization the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) initiative with the to facilitate faster, equitable, and affordable access to COVID-19 health products for people in all countries.

Furthermore, his administration has overseen historic fiscal reforms to strengthen the country’s economy. He was responsible for Costa Rica’s accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), marking the fourth Latin American country and the first in Central America to do so.

President Alvarado was awarded the 2022 Planetary Leadership Award by the National Geographic Society for his outstanding commitment and action toward protecting the ocean. In 2019, President Alvarado was named as one of TIME’s 100 Next emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership. And that year he received on behalf of his country the Champion of the Earth Award for policy leadership, presented by the United Nations Environment Program.

He is currently Professor of Practice of Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University.

Last updated: 2023