News release

Brussels, Naivasha, 10 May 2024. Cities Alliance has elected María Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador as its new President during the ongoing Assembly in Naivasha, Kenya. A distinguished academic, diplomat, and politician, Ms Espinosa previously served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly from 2018 to 2019, making her the fourth woman and the first from Latin America and the Caribbean to hold this position.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of Cities Alliance, 2024
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the Cities Alliance Assembly 2024


Recognized as one of BBC's 100 Most Influential Women worldwide, Ms Espinosa’s professional background spans over three decades, encompassing global governance, sustainable development, climate change and gender equality.

Throughout her extensive career, Ms Espinosa served as Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Integration, and Minister of National Defence. During her tenure, she played a central role in international negotiations on climate change, established bilateral and multilateral agreements, and implemented significant reforms with a strong focus on human rights.

Ms Espinosa is currently the Executive Director of Global Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion. She also serves as a member of leading international organizations including the International Crisis Group, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and the World Commission on the Economics of Water.

She succeeds Anibal Gaviria Correa of Colombia, to whom the Assembly extends its appreciation and gratitude for his dedication and commitment. Mr Gaviria’s contributions as President have been instrumental in advancing Cities Alliance’s mission of promoting sustainable urban development and social inclusion. 

As the new President of Cities Alliance, Ms Espinosa will continue to advocate for inclusive and sustainable urban development, leveraging her vast experience and networks in the global arena. She is committed to fostering collaboration and partnership to address the most pressing challenges facing cities today.



Media inquiries: Yamila Castro, Communications lead, Cities Alliance

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