Published on April 18, 2024

Championing change in Cuba: A personal journey towards sustainable development

In 2015, as Cuba embraced the global challenge of the 2030 Agenda, Adriana Acosta found herself at the start of a transformative journey. After graduating as an economist from the University of Havana, she joined the Ministry of Economy and Planning with a vision of championing development and systemic reforms for the SDGs. 

Early in her career, Adriana recalls the initial challenge Cuba faced in unpacking the 17 SDGs and aligning them with its national development framework. With the government re-evaluating its National Development Plan, a crucial opportunity emerged to integrate the SDGs into Cuba’s development trajectory. 

The creation of an Integrated National Financing Framework became a pivotal moment in reimagining development financing in Cuba. Spearheading Fund joint programmes such as Support for the Development of an Integrated National Framework for Financing the SDGs in Cuba (CIFFRA), Adriana led efforts to prioritise initiatives essential for advancing development goals while simultaneously addressing structural and institutional challenges. 

As the SDG Lab platform lead, Adriana emphasises the transformative impact of the technical assistance provided by CIFFRA. Through improved measurement and reporting functionalities, including dedicated indicator modules and data disaggregation, the platform now offers a more nuanced understanding of development challenges, fostering inclusive financing perspectives. 

Reflecting on her journey, Adriana acknowledges the personal growth spurred by her involvement in CIFFRA. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Policies and Practices for Sustainable Human Development in 2022, her thesis delved into synthesising indicators for measuring the SDGs in Cuba, reflecting her commitment to advancing sustainable development.

“We have many challenges, and we can’t give up,” she says, highlighting her unwavering dedication to support the Ministry and the country in advancing the SDGs. Through CIFFRA, she envisions a future where policymaking and financing for development embrace a horizontal, multidimensional approach, fostering systemic change. 

Adriana epitomises the new wave of public officials in Cuba who are driven by a passion for development and a commitment to realising the transformative potential of the SDGs. As Cuba moves forward on its sustainable development path, Adriana stands as a beacon of change, inspiring progress and championing a brighter future for all. 



All joint programs of the Joint SDG Fund are led by UN Resident Coordinators and implemented by the agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations development system. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.