Ricardo Mena is new Director UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
GENEVA, 5 June 2020 – The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has appointed Ricardo Mena, as Director of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, reporting to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori.
Ms. Mizutori said: “We are fortunate to have Ricardo Mena as our new Director. Ricardo is a seasoned manager and has been a pioneer in the field of disaster risk reduction since he started working in this field in 1990 in Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the world’s most disaster affected regions. More recently he has been instrumental in strengthening global monitoring, analysis and coordination of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction’s implementation. This work is fundamentally important for the achievement of the SDGs.”
In 2009, Ricardo Mena joined UNDRR as head of its Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean based in Panama. In 2017, he took on the position in Geneva of UNDRR Chief of Branch in charge of Supporting and Monitoring the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global blueprint for reducing disaster losses. Since December 2019, Mr. Mena has been serving as Director ad interim of the organization.
Mr. Mena, a dual Ecuadorian and Swiss national, joined the UN in 1993 from the NGO sector as a disaster risk reduction specialist. Based in Quito, Ecuador, he worked on a range of issues across Latin America and the Caribbean including risk assessment, institutional and legal frameworks, early warning systems, risk-sensitive land use planning, building codes and public awareness programmes.
“At the time it was becoming more widely accepted that disasters have long-term consequences for human development and that vulnerability and exposure play a much larger role in disaster impact than the actual hazard itself,” he said.
In addition to his work on disaster preparedness and mitigation for both OCHA and UNDP, Mr. Mena has led 16 humanitarian missions as part of the UN’s Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC).
Prior to joining UNDRR, he led the Business Continuity Management Unit at the UN’s Headquarters and oversaw the implementation of the corporate avian influenza (H5N1) Preparedness Plan from 2007 to 2009.