René Castro-Salazar

René_Castro_SalazarAssistant Director General of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, international consultant in energy and sustainable development and full professor at INCAE Business School

Doctor in Design, Harvard University; M.P.A., Harvard University; Civil Engineer, Universidad de Costa Rica

René Castro Salazar earned a Doctoral Degree at Harvard University, where he also received his Masters Degree. His post- graduate studies concentrated on design for sustainability, environmental economics, public policy and natural resources. He holds a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Costa Rica.

Dr. Castro is president and main shareholder of companies working in development issues such as energy efficiency, environmental design and project financing. He is a Full Professor at INCAE Business School; where he taught sustainability and supervised graduate projects in private companies in Latin America and Spain for 15 years.

He served as Minister for the Costa Rican Government from 2011 to 2014, responsible for areas such as Environment, Energy, and Mining. During this period he also led an institutional restructuring and was in charge of Telecommunications and Seas sectors. He previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2010 to 2011. In office he was board member for the Costa Rican Petroleum Company (RECOPE), the Public Transportation Council, and the National Emergency Commission, amongst others.

Formerly, he served as Minister of Environment, Energy, and Mines from 1994 to 1998. From 1984 to 1986 served as Vice Minister of Interior, and from 1982 to 1984 as Head of the Transportation Division of the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works. He was also President of the Municipal Council of the City of San Jose, Costa Rican Capital.

He worked as an international consultant for the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and other development institutions in Latin America, Europe and Asia. He pioneered schemes of “Payment for Environmental Services (PES)” in Costa Rica, performed the first CO2 transaction in the world, led debt-for-nature swap negotiations and transportation agreements between various countries. He has also been a lecturer at Harvard University, Yale, London School of Economics, Zurich Technology Institute, Yonsei University, The University of Tokyo, UN University in Tokyo, Getulio Vargas and other academic institutions in Latin America and Europe. He is coauthor of 3 books and numerous articles on sustainability, public policy, environmental and infrastructure issues.

For more than 10 years he worked in engineering and infrastructure projects in Costa Rica, and developed real estate investments and ran successful free trade zones in Central America.

He is currently the Assistant Director General of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, based in Rome, Italy.