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Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz

Senior Trade Policy Advisor


Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz is a policy strategist and entrepreneur, at the origin of several collaborative ventures applied to solving complex international governance issues.

He currently serves as a trusted advisor on ESG and sustainability. He is also Strategic Advisor for LatinTrade; Climate and Energy Advisor, World Business Council for Sustainable Development; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Center for China and Globalisation, and is building Caeruleum | Globe & Sustainability, a thought leadership platform.

He is the co-founder and executive lead of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), active 1996-2018, known for BRIDGES, a periodical series in 8 languages/regions, as well as its authoritative research and policy dialogues, and Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, (Quito, Ecuador) that promotes sustainable development in leadership and fosters conflict management for major socio-environmental tensions.

In 2012-18, jointly with the World Economic Forum, Ricardo conceived and co-convened the E15 Initiative, a major undertaking involving 400 experts to chart options for the future of the global trade system. He also led SETI (sustainable energy trade initiative), a public-private campaign engaging major wind and solar energy manufacturers. He acted as co-chair of task forces and advisor for China, German, and Argentina G20 presidencies. He was the lead negotiator of the US-Colombia Framework Agreement on Trade and Investment (1989/90). During GATT’s Uruguay Round, he was chargé d’affairs and negotiator on services, investment, IPRs, textiles, development, environment and functioning of the GATT system; chaired the International Textile and Clothing Bureau; UN Commisions on Commodites and on Preferences; and acted as G77 spokesperson during the UNCED and U.N. preparatory processes on climate change. Previously, he had been Adviser, Minister of Economic Development, and Chief of Administration at the Office of the President of Colombia. Ricardo has served as member, UN Secretary General’s Millenium Project Task Force on Trade; designated chair, EU-Korea FTA Dispute Settlement Panel of Experts on Sustainable Development and member, Experts Panel of NAFTA’s Commission on Environmental Cooperation.

Ricardo has published works and books with Palgrave Macmillan, Cambridge U Press, Edward Elgar Publishing, Éditions Charles Léopold Mayer and other. He studied economics and political science at Uni Andes (Bogotá); social sciences at Harvard University; leadership, corporate sustainability and blockchain strategies at Oxford Said Business School. Spanish, English and French are his working languages.