Joan Clos was Mayor of Barcelona from September 1997 to September 2006. From 2006 to 2008 he was Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Spain and later was Ambassador of Spain in Turkey and Azerbaijan.
On October 18, 2010, the UN General Assembly appointed him Executive Director of the United Nations Program for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT), with the rank of Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, a position he held until 2018.
Dr. Joan Clos joined UN-Habitat, being the first mayor to hold that position and during his tenure he promoted the development of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11), the first development objective focused on sustainable urbanization His emphasis on urban planning and national urban policies has been widely used to plan and direct the world’s cities towards sustainability, economic and social progress and inclusion. Both achievements were part of Dr. Clos’s strategic plan to increase the relevance of sustainable urban development on the international development agenda.
His term as mayor of Barcelona is characterized by the conception, preparation and celebration of the controversial first Universal Forum of Cultures, held in Barcelona in the summer of 2004, and the consequent redevelopment of the Besós and Diagonal Mar area. A ten-fold urban redevelopment project than the one that experienced the city on the occasion of the 1992 Olympic Games. It also launched Project 22@, a new technological neighborhood that is built on the old Pueblo Nuevo, and the remodeling of La Sagrera before the imminent arrival of the train of high speed (AVE) to the city of Barcelona.
Dr. Clos values in his lectures what are the conditions that make urbanization become an accelerator of prosperity, both economic and social, analyzing what factors intervene in a city to be more successful than another in creating jobs, encourage creativity and attract a virtuous circle of social and economic improvement.
It also focuses on investigating which strategies lead to “good” urbanization, and which are the policies that prevent urbanization that is unstructured economically, socially and environmentally. For Joan Clos, it is worth mentioning three constituent columns of sustainable urbanization: its legal and regulatory structure, good urban planning and the sustainability of the economic and financial model that sustains it.
Born in Barcelona, Joan Clos is a doctor with a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He graduated in medicine from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, later specialized in Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. In 1979 he joined the municipal government of Barcelona as Director of Public Health.