Luis Gomez Echeverri profile picture

Luis Gomez Echeverri

Senior Advisor to the Program

Advancing Systems Analysis Program


Luis Gomez-Echeverri is an emeritus research scholar at IIASA. His research interests are in the areas concerned with climate and development linkages, implementation of the Paris Agreement and Development Agenda 2030, governance and institutions, climate change, finance, and development cooperation. His research interests focus on the fragmentation of institutions, policies, and finance, and the consequences that this has on the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He is currently co-leading the preparation of a major report for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the SDGs and climate synergies, and their importance. At IIASA, he is also a senior advisor to the Transformations within Reach initiative.

After over 30 years in a variety of senior positions with the United Nations, Gomez-Echeverri joined IIASA in 2009, having been appointed associate director and co-editor of the Global Energy Assessment, the most comprehensive energy assessment to date. The publication, published by Cambridge University Press in the fall of 2012, involved some 500 authors and analysts from around the world.

Until recently he was a member of the leadership team of an initiative by IIASA and the International Science Council (ISC) known as the IIASA-ISC Consultative Science Platform: Bouncing forward sustainably: Pathways to a post COVID-19 world. The platform served as a global hub for consultation, deliberation, and cooperation among scientists, policymakers, and representatives from civil society around four key interconnected themes: strengthening science systems, governance for sustainability, resilient food systems, and sustainable energy. He is part of the leadership team responsible for designing, developing, and putting in place a follow-up initiative – Transformations within Reach – designed to undertake deeper research and analysis along with further and expanded global consultations. The ISC also recently invited him to act as one of two senior research analysts supporting their Technical Advisory Group, which in turn supports the work of the Global Commission on Science Missions. This commission is tasked with recommending co-design processes, funding mechanisms, and institutional arrangements to support mission-oriented science as part of the decade for action.

During his time at IIASA, Gomez-Echeverri has been involved in a variety of projects and initiatives including work in China on two reports: one on China’s Livable Cities, with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and another titled, Toward a Low Carbon Economy, with Renmin University. In both reports, he was a lead author as well as a member of the editing team. Until the end of 2019, he was also a senior member of the team of a major initiative at IIASA – The World in 2050 – which endeavored to demonstrate how the objectives of sustainable development can be achieved within planetary boundaries. In addition, he was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 3 for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) chapter on Finance (Chapter 16). He was also a member of the small core team responsible for producing the synthesis report of the AR5 as well as the summary for policymakers and the technical summary.

For approximately four years, he was a senior advisor and team member of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), an initiative of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, launched at Rio +20. Working with the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General, Gomez-Echeverri was initially responsible for leading and overseeing the start-up of the SEforALL initiative throughout the developing world in over 50 countries in the run-up to Rio +20. In the last two years with SEforALL, he was responsible for developing and leading an initiative and major project to promote energy efficiency globally. As part of IIASA and the SEforAll team in Vienna and New York, he was one of the members of the team who helped shape, and finally helped to negotiate SDG7, which aims to provide clean and affordable energy for all, to its successful completion and adoption.

In his last 15 years with the UN, Gomez-Echeverri occupied several senior positions including that of country resident coordinator, chief of staff, and deputy director of the Policy and Research Department at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the largest development agency within the UN system. He was responsible for setting up the first Environment and Energy Department at the UNDP in the early 90s and subsequently became its first director. The department he created now oversees one of the largest energy and environment portfolios in the UN system. His last position with UNDP was as deputy assistant administrator and deputy director of the Bureau for Development Policy (BDP), the office responsible for research, development policy, and policy advice to developing countries, with over 100 policy advisors around the world. He was with the Secretariat of the UNFCCC for several years, where he was the coordinator of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation of the Convention (SBI), which is the body responsible for supporting the climate change political negotiations, as well as director of implementation programs for the Convention and director of programs related to finance of the Convention.

In 2002, and working with the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, Gomez-Echeverri was the leader of a group of some 200 authors who were responsible for preparing the Frameworks for Action in the areas of water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity (WEHAB) for the Earth Summit 2002 in Johannesburg – the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The team was composed of authors from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and some 20 UN agencies, as well as many other institutions in the science community. The Frameworks for Action served as the basis for two days of preparatory discussions prior to the summit negotiations and as the basis for much of the discussion, deliberations, and negotiations that followed.

Gomez-Echeverri received his post-graduate degrees from Yale University’s School of the Environment and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in the United States in the areas of environmental science and management, and international economic affairs, respectively.

Last update: 28 JUN 2023