Astrid Puentes announcement

With immense pleasure and gratitude, International Rivers congratulates former board member Astrid Puentes Riaño on her new appointment to this critical United Nations role. 

At the 55th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, Astrid Puentes was appointed the next UN Special Rapporteur on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. She is the first woman and the first person from the Global South to be appointed to this position.

Ms. Puentes is a Colombian lawyer and expert on climate change, human rights and international law based in Mexico. She previously served as Vice-Chair on International Rivers’ board of directors, and for 18 years she directed the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA). 

In July 2023, Ms. Puentes and International Rivers were part of the global coalition that won the prestigious UN Human Rights Prize. The award highlighted the importance of collaborating to advance the much-needed protection of our planet and fulfillment of human rights.

“Astrid has been a tireless defender of rivers and communities. She has used her expertise in climate change, and international human rights and environmental law to advance protection and show those who follow what effective leadership looks like.”Josh Klemm and Isabella Winkler, Co-Executive Directors, International Rivers

“Astrid is exactly the kind of brilliant, compassionate leader the UN needs. Serving on the International Rivers’ Board of Directors, her wisdom and international experience supported the organization through many challenges and important victories. We are deeply grateful for her immense contribution.” – Melina Selverston, Board Chair, International Rivers 

The International Rivers family congratulates Astrid on her new role and looks forward to continuing our shared mission of safeguarding the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.