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Joan Clos

Former Mayor of Barcelona, former UN Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. Led the New Urban Agenda, was Secretary General of Habitat III. 

Joan Clos was Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of UN-Habitat (2010-2017), the UN programme responsible for promoting sustainable, resilient and prosperous cities. During his tenure, he led the development of the New Urban Agenda and was appointed Secretary-General of the Habitat III Conference.  

Born in Barcelona, he is a medical doctor with a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He graduated in medicine from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, subsequently specialised in Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh and joined the municipal government of Barcelona as Director of Public Health in 1979.  

Joan Clos was twice elected Mayor of Barcelona, from 1997 to 2006, after having been a city councillor between 1983 and 1987, and Deputy Mayor for Finance and Budget playing a key role in the preparation of the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. 

During his time as mayor, Clos received several awards, including the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1999 for the transformation of Barcelona and, in 2002, the UN-Habitat Award of Honour for the promotion of global cooperation between local authorities and the United Nations.  

At the international level, in 1998, Clos was elected President of Metropolis, the international network of cities. Two years later, he was elected President of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities. Between 2000 and 2007, he served as Chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee for Local Authorities. And between 1997 and 2003, he was a member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions.  

Before joining the United Nations, between 2006 and 2008, Dr. Joan Clos was Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade of Spain and from 2008 to 2010, he was Spanish Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan.  

In 2016, he received the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation in recognition of his leadership in advancing the New Urban Agenda. 

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