He has been a diplomat since 1983 and was first appointed Ambassador on December 2001.
Ambassador De Alba has served as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and to the International Organizations in Geneva as well as Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) and General Director for the United Nations System in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was elected as the First President of the United Nations Human Rights Council and was Mexico’s Special Representative for Climate Change, leading negotiations for COP16 in Cancun (2010).
He has participated in numerous multilateral meetings, both at the global and regional levels, which has allowed him to gain substantive knowledge on the work and functioning of multilateral organizations, particularly those of the United Nations. In these fora, he has actively pursued the advancement of human rights, humanitarian issues and the rule of law, disarmament, the fight against climate change, and the promotion of development, including through the strengthening and improvement of the relevant international mechanisms.
From 1983 to 1986, he was posted to the Mexican Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, where he was responsible of the Decolonization Committee and member of the Council for Namibia. He followed political issues such as the peace process in Central America (Contadora Group) and the situation in the Middle East.
In 1986 he served as Head of the Political Department for the United Nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and from 1991 to 1994, as Director for Social Issues at the UN section of the Ministry. During this period he participated in the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna), as well as in several sessions of the Commission on Human Rights, and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, in which he worked particularly on the situation of Human Rights in El Salvador and the protection of migrants and other vulnerable groups.
From 1994 to 1998, he was Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the Organization of American States (OAS), where he promoted important initiatives, such as the negotiation of the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the Interamerican Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Fire Arms, Ammunition, Explosives, and other Related Materials. He also served as the Facilitator of the Declaration of the Summit on Sustainable Development (Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 1996) and in the preparation of the Summits of the Americas (Miami, 1994 and Santiago, 1998).
Ambassador De Alba was General Director for the United Nations System of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1998 to 2001. Among other tasks, he coordinated the participation of the Mexican Delegations to different international meetings, in particular the World Conference against Racism (Durban, South Africa, 2001) and the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children (2002). He was a member of the Mexican Delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms (2001), where he promoted a multidimensional approach in order to include humanitarian and human rights concerns. He took part in the negotiations of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Optional Protocols on trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms.
In 2002 he promoted the yearly General Assembly resolution on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, a first step that, combined with the resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, led to the establishment of the Special Rapporteur of the Council on that matter. In his capacity as Deputy Permanent Representative to the Security Council during that period, those efforts were accompanied by the promotion of human rights within the Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the Security Council.
From 2002 to 2004 Ambassador De Alba was Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations in New York. He promoted the Mexican initiative to elaborate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including the establishment of the negotiating Committee. He also pursued and achieved several measures that granted full participation of civil society, and particularly of persons with disabilities, in the elaboration of the Treaty.
Ambassador De Alba served as Permanent Representative of Mexico to the International Organizations in Geneva from 2004 to 2009 and was elected Chairman of the Disarmament and International Security Committee (First Committee) of the General Assembly during its 59th Session (2004). Under his chairmanship, the Committee approved an initiative for the revitalization of its work, and in particular for the strengthening of dialogue and cooperation to advance the Committee’s agenda.
He was Chairman of the Council of the International Organization for Migrations (IOM) at its 88th and 89th Sessions (November 2004 to November 2005). During his tenure, he undertook broad consultations leading to a comprehensive proposal for a new strategy to further improve the work and functioning of IOM and to develop a new paradigm on migration placing the rights of migrants at its core.
On 19 May 2006, he was unanimously elected First President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a mandate he held from 19 June 2006 to 18 June 2007. During that period, the Council was entrusted by the General Assembly to design the new institutions of the international human rights system, while at the same time fulfilling its mandate to promote and protect human rights, in order to avoid a protection vacuum. Furthermore, Ambassador de Alba actively promoted the negotiation and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For his role in the Council, he was considered a strong candidate for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2008.
In June 2009 Ambassador De Alba was appointed Mexico Special Representative for Climate Change and led negotiations for COP16 (Cancun, Mexico, 2010). According to several diplomats involved in the negotiations, he helped to restore trust into the multilateral process after COP15 in Copenhagen. He was nominated for the Chatham House Price (2011) for his role as chief negotiator at this high level meeting.
From 2011 to 2013 he was Mexico’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (New York), where he introduced a new resolution on Special Political Missions of the UN, seeking greater transparency and accountability. He actively participated at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio, Brazil, 2012) and was elected Senior Vice-President of ECOSOC (2012). He served as Co-Facilitator of the High Level Event on the Rule of Law (2012), led negotiations for the General Assembly Declaration of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (2013) and, along with an indigenous representative, facilitated the preparation of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
Since June 2013 he is the Mexican Ambassador to Austria, concurrent with Slovakia and Slovenia and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations based in Vienna. Under his Chairmanship, the Expert Group on Protection Against Trafficking in Cultural Property approved the Guidelines for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses with respect to trafficking in cultural property and other related offences (2014). He chaired the 24th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (2015) and facilitated negotiations of the Doha Declaration approved at the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Doha, Qatar, 2015).