Costa Rica has nominated the U.N.'s former lead official on climate change as its candidate to be the next secretary-general of the United Nations.

Christiana Figueres is the 12th candidate vying to succeed Ban Ki-moon as U.N. chief on Jan. 1.

Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solis said Thursday the U.N. and the world need Figueres because she is a proven "bridge builder" who can listen, consult, help resolve disputes, build agreements and anticipate problems.

Figueres helped shape last year's long-awaited Paris Agreement to fight climate change as executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, and her performance has raised her international profile.

Figueres described herself as a leader with organizational skills and "a strong moral compass" who can inspire the world.