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Born in Italy.   Married.  Three, now mature, children adopted from Ethiopia, Colombia and Italy


Academic Curriculum

Ph.D. in Economics, 1971, University of California at Berkeley (USA)

M.A. in Economics, 1969, University of California at Berkeley (USA)

Specialisation in Mathematical Economics, 1967, Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Moscow)

Laurea (BA degree) in Political Science, 1963, Turin University (Italy)

Laurea Honoris Causa from La Universidad del Magdalena in Santa Marta de Colombia, February 4th, 2005

Fluent in English, French, Russian, Spanish and Italian (mother tongue)


On October 1, 2014 I published a book matured during 40 years of experience in international policy making, finance, anti-money laundering and crime control..  The novel (The Checkmate Pendulum) is inspired by real people, in the real life situations I have encountered.  In fact, the book shows that my intimate knowledge of politics, finance and crime can turn fiction into reality.


Employment History

At present:   Editor-in-Chied, The Journal of Policy Models, Elsevier Int'l


2002 - 2010

Executive Director (ED), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Director General (DG), United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV), with the rank of Under-Secretary General

Unprecedented double tenure (ED & DG) for two consecutive 4-year mandates, that ended in the Fall 2010.

(1)       As Executive Director of UNODC I headed an Office with 1000 staff in Vienna, and about 2000 additional staff in 52 missions around the world, with a budget of nearly $500 million.  The Office runs a 50 year-old of drug control program to assist countries contain the drug problem at supply (production), demand (addiction), as well as fight illicit trafficking.  The Office also runs a 10-year old crime control program to assist countries to implement the UN Conventions against Organized Crime (UNTOC) and Corruption (UNCAC), as well as 3 protocols (against trafficking of human beings, smuggling of migrants and trading of illicit arms).  In addition, the Office runs a terrorism prevention program, providing legal and operational assistance around the world to government administrations, intelligence agencies and judicial systems.

The position requires:

·             supervisory skills for efficient management (in the 3 areas: policy, research and operations),

·             fund-raising capability (UNODC budget tripled in 8 years),

·             political instinct (to guide member states face common threats),

·             research expertise (to document the severity of the drugs, crime and terrorism problems),

·             communication intuition (for media recognition),

·             vision (to sense the severity, and deal with some of the most sinister problems facing our societies),

·             intellectual and personal gravitas (to develop integrated understanding of the drug, crime and terrorism problems, show their interdependency and convince governments to act). 

At a time of financial hardship, the fact that UNODC has consistently been the fastest growing UN program, shows unique fund-raising capability and unprecedented ability to canvass government support (92% of the budget is consists of voluntary funds).  The biggest success story has, however, been political in nature as both the Security Council and the General Assembly have periodically (and with growing frequency since 2008)) invited the UNODC Executive Director for guidance and advice:  a unique status among the UN Under-Secretaries General.

(2)       As Director General of the United Nations Office in Vienna, I carried out (on behalf of the Secretary General) all administrative and managerial responsibilities for the smooth functioning of the biggest UN campus in the European Union (about 900 staff). 

Thanks to efficient and convincing lobbying with the host country (Austria), the Campus has gone through a massive renovation ($40 million of asbestos removal and environmental improvement) and a large scale expansion (with $60 million new conference facility). 


1994 - 2002        Secretary General of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

In charge of institutional affairs, shareholder relations and governance.  The Bank's mandate centres on the promotion of former communist bloc countries' transition to pluralistic democratic values, honest economic management, the rule of law and the fight against corruption (public and private).  The position required excellent managerial skills (to handle 1200 staff, with Headquarters in London and presence in 27 Eastern European countries and in the former USSR), superior diplomatic ability for ministerial level negotiations (with 62 member countries), vision on these countries' future, commitment to staff (resources are limited) and gravitas.


1987-1992:  European Union - EU  Director General for Economics and Finance (DGII) at the European Union (Bruxelles)

Chief economist at the EU Commission, and Special Advisor to the President of the Union.  Supervised international staff of 485 people.G7 Sherpa (Finance)for the EU.  Responsible for the EU preparation of the G7 Summits of Industrial Countries in:  - Venice (1987):      prepared the EU position on integrity in public finances management

-        Toronto (1988):    drafted the EU paper against corruption in public tender

-        Paris (1989):         assisted in the Summit's draft Report on the macroeconomicOutlook for the world economy

-        Houston (1990):  co-ordinated the EU position on economic assistance the Central-Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union

-        London (1991):     co-ordinated the EU position on the harmonisation of economic policies in member countries

-        Frankfurt (1992):  prepared the EU position paper on international capital flows and their impact on national economies


Member of the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Luxembourg.  The Bank has a staff of 1100 and lends on average $35 billions/year to member countries (15) and to the developing world (49 Lome' Pact countries).

Member of the Monetary Committee of the EC (Bruxelles)

Alternate Member of the Committee of Governors of the EU Central Banks (Basle)

EU Rapporteur to the Industry and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (Strasbourg and Brussels)

Alternate Member of theIMF/WB Interim Committee (Washington)


1983-1987: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD

Under-Secretary General (Special Counsellor) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD (Paris), charged with responsibility for economic, public and development affairs.

Member of Working Party No 3 of the OECD (Paris) for the co-ordination of policies of the G10 countries, the liberalisation of capital flows, the fight against tax-havens and tax evasion.

Alternate Member of the IMF/WB Interim Committee (Washington)

Alternate Member of the G10 Group for the co-ordination of economic policy, public governance and international monetary affairs.


1971-1983:     United Nations in New York

Started as economist in DIESA (then the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs) and moved up to become:

-        Secretary of the Development Committee (chaired by late Nobel Price winner Jan Tinbergen);

-        Secretary to the Task Force on Long-Term Development Priorities

-        Responsible of the project on the Future of the World Economy, directed by late Nobel Price winner Wassily Leontief

-        Head of mission, in charge of over 50 assistance projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia, for the promotion of economic development, the planning of investments and economic management. 



1979 to date

Chairman of the Board of Editor, Journal of Policy Modelling(JPM)

The most respected academic journal in applied economics, modelling and quantitative analysis, published by the most prestigious economics publisher:  Elsevier Inc.



Academic records

1990-1994       Visiting Professor at the Free University of Brussels (ULB, Belgium)

1976-1987       Professor of Economics, New York University (USA)

1970-1976       Professor of Economics, the City University of New York (USA)

1968-1970       Adjunct Professor of Economic, University of California at Berkeley (USA)

1963-1964       Professor of Economics at the Moscow University (MGU, USSR) and at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Moscow): first western economist ever in such a position.



The Checkmate Pendulum, a political novel, 500 pages with action on 4 continents, 34 characters, available from Amazon starting on Tuesday 1 October 2014.  This book is fiction turning into reality:  everything in it is real. 


A list of additional publications (consisting of dozens of books and articles, in addition to hundred of speeches) is available upon request.  Most of this research material was put together with staff during the institutional tenure as Secretary General/Director General/Executive Director of OECD, EU, EBRD and UNODC. 

The site Costa’s Corner (visible at the home page of www.AntonioMariaCosta.com) publishes many of the publications, speeches and reports