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Plenary speakers

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development  
Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is an active global voice on the importance of inclusive finance for achieving development and economic goals. Designated in 2009 by the UN Secretary-General as his Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Queen Maxima encourages universal access for individuals and enterprises, at a reasonable cost, to a wide range of financial services, provided by diverse responsible and sustainable institutions.
Queen Máxima has also served as honorary patron of the G20's Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion since 2011. She is a champion of financial inclusion in her own country, particularly in the areas of financial literacy and education. She is a member of the Netherlands Committee for Entrepreneurship and Finance and honorary chair of the Dutch Money Wise Platform. More information on her royal activities can be found on the official website of the Royal House of the Netherlands.                            

Christian Blondin, Chief Cabinet Secretary-General World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Christian Blondin is the Chief of Cabinet of the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Director of the Department of External Relations since February 2011. He joined WMO located in Geneva in April 2009 as Senior External Relations Officer. He had been both a scientist in Meteo-France, the French meteorological Service and in the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading (UK). He exercised operational responsibilities in Meteo-France, responsible for the meteorological assistance to the main French airports and the relationships with national media.

Ian Burton, Canada
Ian Burton is an independent scholar, speaker,  and consultant. He was formerly Director of Adaptation in Environment Canada, and Director of Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto where he is now Professor Emeritus. He has served as an adaptation chapter author in three IPCC assessments and the Special Report on Extreme Events.
Ian is currently an adviser to the World Bank on PPCR and to the DFID / IDRC CARIAA project. He is a Visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, and is working on forensic investigations of disaster with the ICSU and UNISDR programme Integrated Research on Disaster Risk.

Paula Caballero, Senior Director for Environment & Natural Resources Global Practice, The World Bank
Prior to joining The World Bank in 2014 as Senior Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, Paula Caballero was the Director for Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. In this role, she was one of the leading architects of the Sustainable Development Goals and managed the team responsible for formulating foreign policy on a range of development issues including climate change. She was awarded a Zayed International Prize for the Environment in 2014 for her contribution to “environmental action leading to positive change”. Earlier in her career, she worked with UNDP. Paula has a Master’s in International Relations and a BA, Magna cum Laude. 

Laura Canevari, Acclimatise, United Kingdom
Laura works part-time as a risk analyst for lead international climate change adaptation consultancy Acclimatise, where her work focuses on climate resilient supply chains and the Latin America Region. Most of her projects in Latin America have been on climate change adaptation in the private sector.  Additionally, Laura is carrying an ESRC funded part-time PhD at King´s College London. Through her research, she is investigating how collaboration amongst companies and inter-firm networks can increase the adaptive capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises in the Caribbean Region.

Jos Delbeke, Director General DG Climate Action, European Commission
Jos Delbeke is the Director-General of the European Commission's DG Climate Action since its creation in 2010.
He was very involved in negotiations on the 2009 package on climate change and energy in the EU Council and Parliament.  Mr  Delbeke has been a key player in developing EU legislation on the Emissions Trading System (ETS), emissions from big industrial installations and chemicals (REACH). For several years Mr Delbeke has been responsible for developing Europe's International Climate Change strategy and he was for many years the European Commission's chief negotiator at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties.
He holds a PhD in economics and worked in 1985 at the International Monetary Fund. Since 2013 he is a lecturer at the University of Louvain on European and international environmental policy.
In 2015, Mr. Delbeke co-authored a book titled "EU Climate Policy Explained".                              

H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma, AbzeSolar S.A., Burkina Faso
H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma is a Mossi Princess from Burkina Faso. She is initiator and leader of the ‘MAMA-LIGHT® Initiative for Sustainable Energy, a worldwide program providing access to affordable energy for women, small business and children. The program is selected by the United Nations as one of the 14 global breakthrough solutions for achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals. Abze Djigma also founded AbzeSolar providing solar products, and is a board member of UNISDR Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies, where she represents the African private sector. She is also President Senior Advisor External Relations and Gender for the Center Region Council of Burkina Faso. She studied finance, accountancy and engineering.  

Sharon Dijksma, Minister for the Environment, the Netherlands
Sharon Dijksma was a member of the House of Representatives of the States General for the Labour Party (PvdA) from 1994 to 2007. Her portfolio included education, transport, public works & water management and development cooperation. In 2007 she was appointed State Secretary for Education, Culture & Science in the fourth Balkenende government. From 2010 to 2012 Ms Dijksma was a member of the House of Representatives for the PvdA, with responsibility for general economic policy and spatial planning & infrastructure. In 2012 she was appointed Minister for Agriculture and in 2015 she was appointed Minister for the Environment in the Rutte-Asscher government. 

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
Christiana Figueres has been Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change secretariat since 2010. She has worked extensively with governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector on climate change and sustainability issues, including as a board member of the Clean Development Mechanism, Vice-President of the Climate Change Conference, as well as many non-governmental organisations. Ms Figueres has greatly contributed to literature on climate solutions and holds a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, a certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University and an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Massachusetts.  She was born in San José, Costa Rica in 1956 and has two daughters.

John Firth, CEO and Co-Founder of Acclimatise, United Kingdom
John has over 20 years’ experience in assessing the impacts of climate change. John co-founded Acclimatise with Dr Richenda Connell in 2004. He has extensive experience of integrating climate change into business decision-making and risk management processes. He has a particular expertise in the impacts of climate change on SMEs, multi-national corporates and their supply-chains, the financial services sectors and small island developing states. John is also interested in the legal implications for business, disclosure of information to investors, the mobilisation of private-sector finance and the provision of climate funding to developing countries.

Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
Robert Glasser is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction. From 2003 to (March) 2015 he was employed by CARE, the first four years in the capacity of Chief Executive of CARE Australia overseeing aid programmes in Cambodia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, and the Middle East, and till 2015 as the Secretary General of CARE International. Prior to joining CARE, he was Assistant Director General at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). Dr Glasser also worked on international energy and environmental policy for the US Department of Energy, and on peace and conflict issues at a variety of institutions, including the Cornell University Peace Studies Programme.

Joyeeta Gupta, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Joyeeta Gupta is Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft. She is also a member of the Amsterdam Global Change Institute. She is editor-in-chief of International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (IF 2.0) and is on the editorial board of journals like Carbon and Law Review, International Journal on Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Policy, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Catalan Environmental Law Journal, Review of European Community and International Environmental Law and the new International Journal of Water Governance. She was and continues to be lead author in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Naoko Ishii is CEO and Chairperson for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since  2012. Prior to that, Ms. Ishii was the Deputy Vice Minister of Finance, responsible for Japan’s international financial and development policies, and for its global policies on environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity. She led the Japanese delegation at the Transition Committee for designing the Green Climate Fund. For many years Ms. Ishii has served in international assignments, including at The World Bank as the Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Vietnam, and at the International Monetary Fund, working for Africa and Asia. She has published numerous papers and several books, is the inaugural recipient of the 2006 Enjoji Jiro Memorial Prize and holds BA and PhD from University of Tokyo.

Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director General Directorate-General International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
Marjeta JAGER is currently Deputy Director General for the Directorate-General for International cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO). Ms JAGER has been working in the European Commission since 2005, starting as Director for Security in DG Energy and Transport and later being Director for international energy and transport files and coordination, as well as being Head of Cabinet of the Transport Commissioner.
Before joining the Commission Ms JAGER was more than a decade working on the accession of Slovenia to the EU for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and she was the first Coreper I Ambassador of Slovenia to the EU.

Áile Jávo, President Saami Council
Áile Jávo was elected as the president of the Saami Council in 2013. The Saami Council is a Saami NGO, founded in 1956, with Saami member organisations in Finland, Russia, Norway and Sweden. Jávos background is from political science, and she has been working with indigenous and saami issues for the last nineteen years. This includes both internal saami issues, indigenous and human rights issues within the UN and Arctic issues within the Arctic Council, where the Saami Council is one of six Permanent Participants.

Richard Klein, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
Richard is Senior Research Fellow and Theme Leader 'Reducing Climate Risk' at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and Professor of 'Geography, Climate Policy and Development' at Linköping University. He has more than twenty years of experience in original research, science assessment and policy advice on climate change adaptation. Richard has been an IPCC author since 1994, member of the PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee since 2010, and co-director and chief scientist of the Nordic Centre of Excellence NORD-STAR since 2011. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the academic journal Climate and Development, which published its first issue in 2009. Before joining SEI in 2006, Richard worked at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the VU University in Amsterdam.

Wim Kuijken, Delta Commissioner and Chair of the Supervisory Board of DNB, the central bank of the Netherlands
Wim Kuijken studied Economics at VU University Amsterdam, majoring in spatial economics and transport economics and started his long career with the government in 1979. On 1 February 2010, in anticipation of the Delta Act, Mr Kuijken was appointed as the first Government Commissioner for the Delta Programme. In addition to his duties as Delta Programme Commissioner, he fills a number of secondary posts related to public administration. For example, he is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Commissioners of the Dutch Central Bank,  Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the VU University and Chairman of the Board of “The Hague Security Delta”.  

 

Vivienne Parry, United Kingdom
Vivienne is a freelance British writer and broadcaster.  A scientist by training she is best known for her health and science programmes for BBC radio and television and for the wide ranging features she contributes to newspapers and magazines.  She also has a part time position as Head of Engagement for the 100,000 Genomes Project, the UK’s flagship gene sequencing programme and is on the board of the Medical Research Council.  She facilitates many major scientific and policy events across the globe, particularly on innovation. 

Roger Pulwarty, NOAA, USA
Roger S. Pulwarty is Senior Science Advisor for Climate and Director of the National Integrated Drought Information System at the NOAA Climate Program. His research is on climate, impacts and adaptation in the Americas. Roger has contributed to several international assessments, including the IPCC as a convening lead author. Roger provides testimonies before the US Congress and serves on advisory committees on climate risk management for the UN and other development agencies. He co-chairs the WMO Commission on Climatology Climate Services Information System Implementation Team. Roger received several awards, including the Gold Medal for Excellence in Applied Science and Technology from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. He is Adjunct Professor at the universities of Colorado and the West Indies.

Debra Roberts, eThekwini Municipality, South Africa
Dr. Debra Roberts established and heads the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of the eThekwini Municipality. She was a lead author of Chapter Urban Areas of WG II 5th AR. She is a member of the South African climate negotiating team and sits on various international advisory bodies focused on climate change issues in cities. Debra was vice-chair of UN-Habitat’s HS-NET Advisory Board which oversaw the production of the 2011 ‘Cities and Climate Change’ Global Report. She is a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Group on Sustainable Cities, working towards the establishment of an urban SDG as part of the post-2015 development regime. She was also appointed as a member of the Future Earth Engagement Committee and as thematic policy expert on Africa for UNEP’s GEO6.

Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Netherlands
In 2012 Melanie Schultz Verhagen was appointed Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment in the Rutte-Asscher government. From 2010 till 2012 she held the same position in the Rutte-Verhagen government. From 2007 to 2010 she worked for Achmea Zorg healthcare insurers where she was the director responsible for contracts with care providers. In 2002 she was appointed State Secretary for Transport, Public Works and Water Management in the first Balkenende government, and also held this office in the second and third Balkenende governments. She was responsible for aviation and water management and, from May 2003, for railways.

Laurent Sédogo, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Ghana
Dr. Laurent Sédogo graduated on the use of GIS/RS in sustainable management of natural resources from ITC in Enschede and Wageningen, the Netherlands. He is (co-)author of publications on geoinformation science and participatory GIS. He worked with institutions dealing with land degradation and desertification control in Burkina Faso and the Sahel region. Laurent held a variety of (political) offices such as Minister of Farmers’ Cooperatives, Minister of the Environment and Quality of Life and Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fishery, Vice President of the Governing Council of UNEP and Member of the Governing Council of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory. He was a Member of Parliament in Burkina Faso, and the Pan African Parliament until joining WASCAL as Executive Director.

Feike Sijbesma, CEO Royal DSM, the Netherlands
Feike Sijbesma joined the Managing Board of Royal DSM in 2000. He became CEO in 2007. He is Supervisory Board member of De Nederlandsche Bank (Dutch Central Bank); member of the board of
Unilever; and member of the Global CEO Council of Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. He is a recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Leaders of Change Award, both presented by the United Nations; the George Washington Carver Award for Biotechnology and he received an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University, Netherlands. Feike Sijbesma studied medical (molecular) biology at Utrecht University and business administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
Robert-Jan Smits is Director-General of DG Research and Innovation (RTD) at the European Commission. He is responsible for defining and implementing the EU policy and programmes in the field of research and innovation (average annual budget of 8 billion euro). He has degrees from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Switzerland and Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in the United States of America.

Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
Ibrahim Thiaw is the Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, since August 2013. Mr. Thiaw plays a critical role in the implementation of UNEP’s mandate and management of the organization as well as in catalysing UNEP’s political engagement with governments and relationship with UNEP's Governing Bodies. Before joining UNEP in 2007, Mr. Thiaw was IUCN Regional Director for West Africa and later Acting Director-General of IUCN. He has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of sustainable development, environmental governance and natural resource management at the national, regional and international levels. He holds an advanced degree in Forestry and Forest product techniques.                  

Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
Mark Watts has served as the Executive Director for C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group since December 2013. Prior to joining C40, Mark was the Director of consultancy firm, Arup’s, energy and climate change team. Earlier in his career, he was the climate change and sustainable transport adviser to the Mayor of London, in which role the London Evening Standard described him as 'the intellectual force behind Ken Livingstone’s drive to make London a leading light of the battle against global warming'. Mark is a Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, a member of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute, and a member of the Yale Climate Dialogue.

        

HOSTS OF THE CONFERENCE