Presently excelling as director 1 of the Intergovernmental Policy and Review in the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development in the United Nations’ department of economic and social affairs, Irena Zubcevic is internationally recognized as a sustainability officer and humanitarian. She first joined the United Nations in 2008, where she thrived as a senior sustainable development officer until 2016. In this role, she honed her skills in sustainability issues and supported intergovernmental processes. During this time, she was instrumental in the agreement on the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development, which has included 17 goals that focus on sustainable development across the globe. Following this position, Ms. Zubcevic was promoted to the role of director 1 of the Small Island Development States, Ocean and Climate Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development prior to commencing her present role.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Zubcevic served in her native Croatia as a diplomat and minister plenipotentiary for Croatia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which time she received a certificate in diplomacy. She also served as an advisor to Croatia’s Ministry of Information and advanced to serve as the head of the English News Service of the Croatian News Agency between 1991 and 1992. She draws upon a Bachelor of Science in linguistics and a Master of Science in humanities and social sciences, both from the University of Zagreb. She also holds a certificate in public diplomacy from the Centre for Diplomatic Studies in Cambridge, England, and a certificate in diplomacy from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Austria. Later, she received an additional certificate in public administration from Harvard University.
Demonstrating versatility in her profession, Ms. Zubcevic has contributed a myriad of articles to professional journals and other related publications, such as the United Nations’ Global Sustainable Development Report in 2015 and 2016. She further authored “Gateway Portals to the City: Reshaping Cities and the Urban Rural Continuum Through Gateway Portals” through the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization in 2017.
As a testament to her resounding success, Ms. Zubcevic earned a Certificate of Appreciation for Dedicated Service at the United Nations Conference in Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012, followed by many accolades from the International Association of Top Professionals. To note, the International Association of Top Professionals bestowed upon her the 2019 Top Chief of the Year in Sustainable Development award, 2020 Lifetime Achievement in Sustainable Development award and 2021 Woman of the Year award. She impressively speaks 10 different languages and attributes much of her success to her passion for her work, her ability to make a difference in the world and her steadfast commitment to empowering those around her.