Meet the speakers
Stay tuned to this website and our social media feeds for updates on speakers set to share their insights in Mannheim.
Dr. Peter Kurz
Dr. Peter Kurz, born in 1962, has been the Mayor of the City of Mannheim since 2007. He has numerous functions in municipal subsidiaries and various honorary posts in European and international committees. From 1999 to 2007 Peter Kurz was Mayor of Education, Culture, Sports and City Marketing in Mannheim. He studied law and completed his legal clerkship in Mannheim, Speyer, Heidelberg and in San Diego, USA. His political career began during his studies. He became a member of the District Advisory Council and worked as an assistant to a member of the state parliament. He was a member of the Mannheimer city councils and various supervisory boards, deputy district chairman of SPD, chairman of Mannheim’s SPD municipal council faction and member of the SPD state executive committee in Baden-Württemberg. From April 2018 to January 2020, Peter Kurz, represented the German Association of Cities and Towns at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and since January of this year he has actively continued his work as substitute member.
At the European level, Peter Kurz has also been a deputy member of the Main Committee of the German Section of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) since 2010. The international work of the CEMR continues in the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), where he is one of five German local representatives of the World Council and one of two German mayors of the Executive Board. Furthermore, Peter Kurz has actively participated in the founding of the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) in 2016 and held the position of Vice Chairman until he was appointed Chair, at the annual general meeting of the GPM in November 2019. Mayor Kurz shares that global politics and agendas can only be implemented successfully when they are being localised and the involvement of citizens for shaping urban life is the core of his vision. He hereby invites all interested parties to be part of Mannheim2020!
Rita Schwarzelühr-¬Sutter is parliamentary state secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety since 2013. Until 2005, the graduate business economist was active in the areas of marketing, consulting and communication. She first became a member of the German Bundestag in 2005, where she headed the Sustainable Mobility working group in the SPD party executive from 2008 to 2009. Since 2014, she is the chairwoman of the board of trustees of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) as well as chairwoman of the supervisory board.
Bernice Notenboom is a polar explorer, climate journalist and filmmaker.
She goes on extreme expeditions that give a face to the changing climate. These have included expeditions to the North and South Poles, Greenland ice sheet, Everest, in Siberia and throughout Africa.
She aims to show what the consequences of climate change will be for humans, animals and the planet, through her expeditions, journalism, videos, and lectures for companies, at congresses, in museums, and at schools.
Notenboom writes books, articles in newspapers and magazines, and makes television series and documentary films. Her latest film "Sea Blind – The Price of Shipping our Stuff" is about shipping emissions and what awaits us with opening new shipping routes in the Arctic. In 2017/2018, she organised three expeditions to Spitsbergen with leaders in industry, real estate, project development, and the financial world. The Spitsbergen ambition was developed there, a manifesto to measure banks, insurers and investors on their carbon footprint.
Diederik Samsom is the Head of Cabinet of Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission. He is the former leader of the Dutch Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid - PvdA), a position he held from 2012 to 2016. He was also a Member of Parliament, a position he took up in 2003 and held until the end of his party leadership.
He is a Chair, Advisor, and Member to several agencies and agreements; including Vice-Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Energie Beheer Nederland, Chair of the negotiation table on the Dutch Climate Agreement, and Supervisor of the Sustainability Pact of Eindhoven.
Before embarking in politics, Diederik was the CEO of the green utility company EchteEnergie, and a campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands.
Diederik has a Masters degree in Physics from Delft University of Technology, with a specialization in nuclear Engineering.
Winfried Kretschmann MdL
Winfried Kretschmann has been Minister-President of the State of Baden-Württemberg since May 2011. He cultivates a new style of politics and has set himself the target of implementing a process of ecological and social renewal in the State.
Politically active since his time as a student, Kretschmann and other like-minded associates founded The Green Party in Baden-Württemberg in 1979. One year later, Winfried Kretschmann became a member of the first parliamentary group of The Green Party to be elected to the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg. In 1986, he was appointed by Hessen’s Minister of the Environment Joschka Fischer as a policy advisor to the first Green Party Ministry of the Environment. After two years in Wiesbaden, he returned to the Baden-Wurttemberg State Parliament in 1988, where he has remained ever since with only one period out of office. In 2002, Kretschmann was elected Chairman of the Green Party in parliament which he remained until 2011. On May 12, 2016, Winfried Kretschmann was re-elected Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg in the State Parliament.
Laurence Tubiana is CEO of the European Climate Foundation (ECF). In addition to her role at ECF, she is the Chair of the Board of Governors at the French Development Agency (AFD), and a Professor at Sciences Po, Paris.
Before joining ECF, Laurence was France’s Climate Change Ambassador and Special Representative for COP21, and as such a key architect of the landmark Paris Agreement. Following COP21, she was appointed High Level Champion for climate action.
Laurence brings decades of expertise. From 1997—2002, she served as Senior Adviser on the Environment to the French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. From 2009—2010, she created and led the newly established Directorate for Global Public Goods at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She founded in 2002 and directed until 2014 the Institute of Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI).
Prof. Tim Jackson
Prof. Tim Jackson is Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), and Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey in the UK. CUSP builds on Tim’s vision over three decades to explore the moral, economic and social dimensions of prosperity on a finite planet. He's served as an advisor on sustainability to numerous commercial, government and intergovernmental organisations.
During five years at the Stockholm Environment Institute in the early 1990s, he pioneered the concept of preventative environmental management—a core principle of the circular economy framework—outlined in his 1996 book Material Concerns: Pollution Profit and Quality of life. Between 2004 and 2011, Tim was Economics Commissioner on the UK Sustainable Development Commission, where his work culminated in the publication of his controversial book Prosperity without Growth (Routledge 2009/2017). In 2016, he was awarded the Hillary Laureate for exceptional international leadership.
In addition to his academic work, Tim is an award-winning dramatist with numerous radio-writing credits for the BBC.
Lilyana Pavlova is Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and a Member of its Management Committee, for which she is the first Bulgarian national. In her position, she is oversees the financing of economic and social cohesion, transportation, Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS), and Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA). She began her six-year term as EIB Vice President on 1 November, 2019.
Before joining EIB, she was a Member of Parliament to the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, where she served on both the EU Affairs and Legal Affairs Committees.
Lilyana is a Doctor of Economics and holds a Master of Public Administration and European Integration, as well as a Bachelor in International Economic Relations.
Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner
Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner is President of the German Environment Agency, Co-Chair of the German Advisory Council for Global Change, and Director of the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). He is an internationally recognized expert on the topics of digitalization, sustainable development, transformation towards the decarbonization of the global economy, and global governance.
He has held the position of Professor of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen since 2006, and Co-Director of the university’s Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Centre for Global Cooperation Research since 2012. His voice is an active and thoughtful one in the world of sustainability and adaptation, and he is the author or co-author of more than 300 publications.
Anne Katrin Bohle
Anne Katrin Bohle was appointed State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community in March 2019. Before her appointment, she served as Director-General at the Ministry for Regional Identity, Communities and Local Government, Building and Gender Equality of North Rhine-Westphalia. During this period she also chaired the Committee for Building, Urban Development and Housing of the Conference of German Building Ministers. Prior to that she worked as Head of the Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Building and Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia.
She started her career at the Employment Office, heading several departments and chairing executive boards of the Employment Agencies in North Rhine-Westphalia and in Brandenburg. She studied law and political science at the Universities of Gießen, Münster, and Bonn.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas was born on September 2, 1978. He studied Government and International Relations at Georgetown University, in Washington DC. After graduating in 2000, he had his first working experience at the Office of the President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States Congress. In 2002 he obtained a Masters Degree on European Public Policy and Economics from the University College of London. Following his studies, he created his own company on the field of production, processing and standardization of dairy products, based on organic standards.
In 2007, he was elected Member of the Greek Parliament with the Nea Demokratia Party (EPP) in the First District of Thessaloniki. In the Regional Elections of November 2010 he was elected Vice-Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia and Head of the Metropolitan Area of Thessaloniki. On the Regional Elections of May 2014 he was elected Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, and on the Regional Elections of May 2019 was re-elected Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia. On November 2019 he was elected President of the Association of Greek Regions
Since 2015 he is a Member of the European Committee of the Regions. In July 2017, he was elected Head of the Greek Delegation and Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions. He fluently speaks English and French and his articles are regularly being published in Greek and foreign newspapers and magazines.
Joaquim Oliviera Martins
Joaquim Oliveira Martins is Deputy Director at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities. He took up his duties on 1 September 2018. As Deputy Director, he works closely with the Director to advance the OECD’s work on SME and entrepreneurship policy; regional, urban, rural and local development; subnational statistics; multi-level governance and decentralisation; and tourism. He also oversees the work of the OECD Trento Centre for Local Development. He has held several senior positions at the OECD since 1991. He previously served for eight years as Head of the Regional Development Policy Division in the Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate. In this capacity, he supervised projects on regional and urban economics, governance, regional statistics and well-being. Mr. Oliveira Martins is the author of numerous academic articles and OECD publications. Prior to joining the OECD, he was a Research Fellow at the Centre d’Etudes Prospectives et d’Informations Internationales (CEPII, Paris).
Matthew Baldwin is Deputy Director-General of DG MOVE and was appointed on 2 October 2018 as European Coordinator for road safety and sustainable mobility. These issues are now the main focus of his professional activities. He is also managing the Commission’s network of COVID-19 transport contact points with a particular focus on helping find a coordinated, safe and sustainable way out of the crisis.
In his Commission career of more than 20 years, he has served in the cabinets of President Barroso, Commissioner Lamy, and Commissioner Hill, the last as Head of Cabinet. He has also been Director of Market Access and Industry in DG Trade and Director of Aviation in DG MOVE.
He is of Italian and British nationality, has two sons, speaks English, French and Italian and lives in Brussels.
Alejandro Gómez Gil
Alejandro Gómez is an Energy and Innovation Expert in the municipal foundation València Climate and Energy. He has experience in energy transition actions and projects at the local level, as coordinator of the Energy Office of València (OSS) and in the development of projects related to energy communities, energy efficiency, energy culture and energy poverty mitigation. Additionally, he has experience as a Project Manager of H2020 projects in the fields of energy, electric mobility, security and smart cities.
He has a Double Master in Renewable Energy Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona and the Technical Institute of Lisbon, and an Energy Engineer Degree from the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
Alexander Boto, technical coordinator for Environmental Planning at Ihobe, has recently taken on the role as Ihobe General Manager. He has worked previously on the implementation of Basque Government strategies, such as the Environmental Framework Programme, as well as the implementation of circular economy, climate change and biodiversity strategies in the Basque Country.
Mr. Boto has a background in Economic Sciences and in Regional and Urban Planning. He has previously served as the Basque Government’s Director for the Natural Environment, Climate Change and Urban Planning, and is a member of the European Commission’s TAIEX group of experts for the environment.
Ana Sanchis Huertas
She has experience designing and supervising architectural projects for both public and private organisations. Some of her research has included the use of Geospatial Science for smart cities and communities, as well as construction processes and buildings. Ana has collaborated with the JRC Institute for Energy (Italy) and on urban sustainability projects included in the Covenant of Mayors Programme.
Ana Oregi is an urban architect (UNAV) and Deputy Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz, where she is responsible for land, climate action, mobility, and public space. She has a long history of working in positions of responsibility in the Basque Country. Former positions include: Basque Minister for the Environment and Land Policy, with responsibility for Climate, Water, Mobility and Land Planning Policies; member of the Council of the Aquitaine-Euskadi-Navarra Euroregion; and President of the Network of Basque Municipalities for Sustainability, Udalsarea.
Oregi also served as Member of Parliament for Alava in the Basque Parliament, where she held numerous roles, including: President of the Commission on Human Rights and Equality; President of the Report on Memory and Coexistence; Spokesperson on the Commission for the control of Basque public radio-television; and Coordinator of the Parliamentary Working Group for the monitoring and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Anders is Chairman of the Governing Board of Climate-KIC, the largest public-private partnership on innovation for low-carbon solutions in the European Union. He is a member of the International Resource Panel (IRP), a United Nations appointed expert body that aims to "to build and share the knowledge needed to improve the use of our resources worldwide".
He is also the Chair of Circular Sweden, which is a platform for producers, retailers and recycling companies to advance the Circular Economy.
Anders is Honorary President of the Club of Rome and Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Swedish Climate Research Program. He holds many memberships, such as with the World Future Council, and he is a board member of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
He is also a published author on the themes of capitalism, circular economy, and natural disasters.
Anna has been working at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) on public procurement law and policy for five years. She is in charge of the Commission's policy on socially responsible public procurement, coordinating awareness-raising initiatives on the topic and the creation of support tools for public buyers. She has also worked with a number of EU Member States as a desk officer.
Prior to joining the Commission, she worked in Brussels on issues related to the EU internal market and to fundamental rights. She holds a law degree from the University of Pisa (Italy) and an LL.M. in Public International Law from the George Washington University (United States).
Dr. techn. Anna-Vera Deinhammer
Anna-Vera Deinhammer founded and leads "DoTank Circular City 2020-2030" in Vienna. She holds a diploma in architecture and a PhD in civil engineering – her research and practical work has always dealt with providing a healthy, liveable, healthy built environment. In her work, she aims to combine the best of two worlds: the academic world and the construction industry, fostering an integrated approach.
Since 2016, she has been employed at the Executive Group for Construction and Technology to shift her expertise to the strategic level. She is now responsible for coordinating the Circular Economy activities of the City of Vienna. Her work focuses on fostering a Circular City, Integral Building Research and Engineering Science. She represents the City of Vienna in many working groups, such as chairing the Working Group on Circular Construction Materials of ICLEI's Big Buyers Initiative; the EUROCITIES Economic Forum; and the Circular Economy Club.
Educated as an urban planner, Anne-Marie Larsen has been working for the City of Copenhagen for many years and has a profound knowledge about the relations between environment, sustainability and spatial planning.
She was in charge of bringing the “European Green Capital Award” to Copenhagen and secured the award for 2014. She has been the driving force behind the creation of the European Green Capital Network – a network for cities that have been shortlisted for the award and she is still an active member of the network.
Anne-Marie strongly believes in the importance of cities sharing knowledge and experiences. She represents Copenhagen in the Eurocities Environment Forum.
Anuela Ristani is the Deputy Mayor of Tirana, responsible for International Affairs and Sustainable Development. She joined the City in 2015 as Chief of Staff to the Mayor, Erion Veliaj, and was appointed Deputy after he was re-elected in 2019. During her work for the city, she has overseen the Green City Action Plan, the Tirana Child Friendly agenda, and the Resilience and Sustainability strategies. Prior to joining local government she established the National Youth Service where she also co-founded the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) with the participation of the six Western Balkan Countries.
Anuela joined public service following more than a decade of experience with multinational corporations and International Organizations, where she served as a Marketing and Communications expert.
Ashima leads the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Government & Cities Programme, engaging national, regional, and city governments in the transition towards a circular economy. Her previous work at the Foundation has spanned the Business and Insights & Analysis teams, and includes a secondment to the World Economic Forum to support the development of their circular economy initiative.
Prior to joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Ashima worked with the Strategy & Operations group of Deloitte Consulting in New York. Ashima graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Economics, minoring in Sustainability & Environmental Management.
Attila Katona is an urban nature-based solutions governance PhD researcher at the Central European University. He is also an innovation consultant. Some of his clients include the European Commission, EIT Climate-KIC, and various global research projects (Loop Ports, INTENSE, SUNRAISE, etc).
He has worked with urban decision makers on environmental policy, urban transformation and circular economy processes in Europe, Canada, Russia, China, Singapore. He is enthusiastic about designing learning experiences in academic and professional settings, and runs trainings and courses regularly.
Aziza Akhmouch is the Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development division within the Centre for entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities of the OECD. She oversees a team of 30+ experts providing governments with new data, evidence, analysis and guidance in a wide range of urban policies to foster smart, inclusive, competitive and sustainable cities. Amongst others, she oversees the OECD metropolitan and National Urban Policy Reviews, and a broad range of thematic work related to housing, transport, cities and inclusive growth, cities and environment, metropolitan productivity and governance, and localising the Sustainable Development Goals. Aziza Akhmouch spearheaded the OECD Principles on Urban Policy and the OECD Water Governance Initiative. She also manages the OECD Champion Mayors Initiative for Inclusive Growth, the OECD Roundtable of Mayors and Ministers, and the OECD-UN Habitat-Cities Alliance National Urban Policy Platform. She holds a PhD and Ms Degree in Geography, specialised in Geopolitics from the University of Paris 8-Vincennes, and a Master’s degree in international relations.
Caroline has chaired the Bristol Energy Network (BEN) Board since 2017, providing strategic direction and management to the network. Currently, she manages the community engagement aspects of the SONNET city lab in Bristol. The city lab is addressing innovation in funding energy improvements for community buildings. Caroline is also an academic researcher with the University of Bristol, exploring the social impacts of energy transitions and grassroots approaches to urban sustainability.
Bristol Energy Network is an umbrella organisation for communities and groups addressing energy issues in the city and working together towards a fair and sustainable energy future – from reducing fuel poverty to energy efficiency retrofits to community owned renewables.
César Aliaga Baquero
Cheryl Jones Fur
Cheryl Jones Fur has been the Deputy Lord Mayor of the Municipal Council, as well as Deputy Chairperson of Växjö’s Technical Services Board, since 2018. She is on the board of directors of the municipality-owned energy company, Växjö Energi. From 2016-2018, Cheryl Jones Fur was Chairperson for Växjö’s Strategic Committee on Environment and Sustainability. Prior to this, she was Spokesperson for the Green Party in Kronoberg County and Chairperson for the Green Party in Växjö. Cheryl Jones Fur holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Uppsala (Sweden).
Claudia Fusco is the Head of Unit responsible for Environmental Knowledge, Eco-Innovation, SMEs and Green Cities at DG Environment. At present, she is responsible for developing EU policies on urban environment, managing and promoting the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards and improving the environmental knowledge and evidence base for EU Environment Policies.
Throughout her career at the Commission she has worked in several Directorates-General developing and coordinating a variety of EU policy areas such as Transport, Energy, Industry and Internal Market. She is also responsible for relations with the European Environment Agency and for supporting and developing tools for SMEs to benefit from the opportunities offered by the transition to a green economy.
Cyril is an investment manager with the Venture Capital team of the European Investment Fund (EIF), a position he has held since 2013. He currently leads a team responsible for the management of the EIF's equity impact portfolio; this includes, social impact fund investments, Social Impact Bonds, investments in impact incubators, and co-investments with business angels.
His career with the EIF has been dedicated to impact-related activities, beginning with microfinance in 2008. In this context, he was responsible for the implementation of the JASMINE programme, an EU initiative aimed at boosting the institutional capacity of microfinance institutions in Europe.
Prior to joining the EIF, Cyril gained unique field experience working with microfinance institutions in the Middle East.
Dr. Daniel Lückerath
Daniel is a Senior Researcher and Project Manager at Fraunhofer IAIS (Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems), where he coordinats the EU Horizon2020 (H2020) project 'Advancing Resilience of Historic Areas against Climate-related and other Hazards' (ARCH). His research interests cover climate change adaptation, resilience, disaster risk management, as well as modelling and simulation of urban systems. In the ARCH project, he is currently developing methods and tools for disaster risk management and resilience assessment together with the cities of Bratislava (Slovakia), Camerino (Italy), Hamburg (Germany), and València (Spain).
Daniel has a background in Computer Science and has worked for Fraunhofer IAIS since 2017, where he has been involved in European and national research project like H2020 RESIN and ERA-NET UNCHAIN.
Dario Nardella holds a law degree and a Ph.D in Public Law, Construction and Environmental Law from the University of Florence. His political career began in 2004 as Councillor for the City of Florence (Democratic Party). He has since held a number of positions politically, including legal advisor to the Minister of Institutional Reforms, Deputy Mayor, and from 2014 Mayor of Florence and elected ANCI coordinator for the metropolitan cities (national municipal association).
David Salomonsen heads Denmark’s most ambitious effort to target social dumping and cultivate sustainable public procurement.
He is a former lawyer specializing in responsible public procurement and corporate social responsiblity. Being passionate about the law, particularly individual rights, he teaches Human Rights Law and EU Law at Copenhagen University.
David also services on the board of The Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH), where he works, together with companies, NGOs and Trade Unions, to create more responsible global value chains, and thus contribute to the fulfilment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. David Christensen
David Christensen is a Project Manager at BOFA, the waste management entity of the Regional Municipality of Bornholm in Denmark. His work focuses primarily on the EU Interreg co-funded project “Wasteman”, with partners in Poland and Lithuania. The project aims to set up Living Labs in order to try out innovative ways of separating, collecting and transporting waste in a co-design process with user- citizens.
Previously, he lectured on environmental technology and planning at Copenhagen Business Academy, and worked as PhD researcher at Aalborg University, where he focused on sustainable innovation processes and partnerships within waste management in international settings.
David holds Master degrees in Environmental Management and Development, and in International Relations from Aalborg University.
Dora Almassy, Ph.D.
Dora Almassy is a researcher affiliated with the Environmental Sciences and Policy Department of the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary).
Since January 2017, she has been involved in the Naturvation project on nature-based urban innovation, a four-year Horizon2020 research project focusing on the assessment of nature-based solutions in cities. She also participates in international research projects focusing on environmental sustainability topics and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Previously, between 2009 and 2014, she worked as an expert at the Environmental Financing Topic Area of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe.
Dora holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from the Central European University, a post-graduate degree in Business Management from Sciences Po (Paris, France) and a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Miskolc (Hungary).
Dr. Douglas Salt
Dr. Douglas Salt has twenty-five years of experience in commercial IT, as well as a doctorate in the semantic and information-theoretic aspects of databases, including formal ontologies.
He has worked at the James Hutton Institute since 2016, where he has developed an active interest in agent-based modelling. His work mainly focuses on the agriculture, environment and energy sectors, on projects funded by the Scottish Government and the European Union.
Elin works as a sustainability advisor at the Municipality of Stavanger, where her she focuses on the coordination of the municipality's commitment to sustainability, within the frame of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She is involved in the municipality's commitment to transparent and sustainable trading by focusing on the use of social and ethical criteria in the procurement process. Before joining the Municipality of Stavanger earlier this year, Elin worked as a sustainability consultant for GreenCo and Nordic Choice hotels.
Elin has a degree in Sustainability from the Stockholm International business school.
Dr. Elisa Bevilacqua
Elisa is the Head of the Sustainable Finance and Communication Department at the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB), where she has held various roles since 2004, focusing on social responsibility and co-operative missions. In her role leading the work on Sustainable Finance, Elisa has authored several position papers and publications in the context of the EU Action Plan for sustainable growth. She represents the EACB in various fora and expert groups at European and international levels.
Before joining the EACB, Elisa worked as an MEP assistant in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee at the European Parliament. She previously worked in the financial services sector in Luxembourg. She holds a degree in Business Economics from the University La Sapienza of Rome, specialising in environmental economics, and a master's degree in Business Administration – majoring in European Affairs – from the Vlerick Management School in Belgium.
Erica has been cooperating with the City of Torino as European Project Manager since 2009, within the International Affairs and EU Projects Department, and the Innovation and EU Funds Department. Her primary work embraces urban policies at large, including urban regeneration, local development, sustainable mobility, and social inclusion.
In recent years, Erica has also worked for Urban Lab, a city agency whose main purpose is to promote communication, research activities, and citizen engagement on the urban transformation process in Torino. She has been actively involved in the development of the European City Agencies Network, with the purpose of encouraging a closer link between the EU's Urban Agenda and local communities.
Erion Veliaj was re-elected as Mayor of Tirana in June 2019, after being first elected in June 2015. His first term in office was marked by an urban transformation of the city, oriented towards the implementation of child-friendly policies as part of his vision of giving the city back to the citizens. Prior to his tenure, Veliaj served as a Member of Parliament of Albania and Minister of Social Welfare and Youth from 2013 through 2015.
Before joining the ranks of the Socialist Party of Albania in 2011, Veliaj had a long experience as the leader and founder of the youth movement “MJAFT”, a civic organization which gained huge popularity for inspiring peaceful protest since its creation in 2003.Veliaj has also worked with several international humanitarian organisations in the Americas, Eastern Africa and Kosovo.
Espen D. Nicolaysen
Mr. Nicolaysen works as the Head of Section for Sustainable Procurement in the Central Procurement Unit for the City of Oslo. In this role, his main responsibility is to influence and facilitate processes to ensure that the city's sustainability goals are at the heart of all of the city's procurements processes.
He holds a law degree and has worked in the field of public procurement for more than 10 years.
Felicitas Kubala has been the Deputy Mayor of Citizens’ Service, Environment and Technical Operations of the City of Mannheim since 2013. In the municipality, she is responsible for public green space, environmental and climate protection, and municipal enterprises, like waste management, waste water, and the city cemeteries. Since 2015, Felicitas Kubala has been the chairwoman of the Environment Committee of the Association of the Cities of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. From 2001 to 2012, she was member of the Berlin House of Representatives as vice-chairwomen of the parliamentary group of Bündnis90/Die Grünen. During her term, she has worked extensively on developing city parks and playgrounds to enhance the living quality and well-being of citizens.
At 9 years old, Felix Finkbeiner (now 22), inspired by the story of Kenyan politician and environmental activist Wangari Maathai, developed the idea that children could promote climate justice by planting a million trees in every country. With the support of children from over 100 countries, Felix launched the youth initiative Plant-for-the-Planet in 2007.
So far, more than 88,000 youth in 74 countries have been trained in Plant-for-the-Planet Academies. As Climate Justice Ambassadors, the children give speeches to adults and fight for their future. A self-developed Plant-for-the-Planet app helps them to plant trees through donations.
Today, Felix is a Ph.D. candidate at ETH Zurich studying the potential of forest restoration in addressing the climate crisis.
Filipe Araújo is Porto’s Vice-Mayor and City Councillor for Innovation and Environment. He also holds various Chairmanships, including to the Board of Directors of AdePorto (Porto’s Energy Agency), the Board of Directors of the Porto Digital Association, and of the Eurocities Environment Forum. He is also a board member of LIPOR-Intermunicipal Waste Management of Greater Port and of the Portuguese Association for the Development of Communications, and a member of the Innovation Advisory Board of Porto University. Previously, he was the Vice-Chair of the Eurocities Environment Forum (2016-2018).
He has degrees in Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications. He was a guest Professor at the Faculty of Science of University of Porto, between 2007 and 2011 and a Municipal Deputy of Porto between 2005 and 2009.
Filippo Antonio Capizzi
Filippo Antonio Capizzi is a renewable energies engineer at the Brussels-based, greentech consulting company, Greenfish. His business development experience is on smart grids, energy efficiency for buildings, and Industry 4.0 solutions for the manufacturing industry. He is actively involved in disseminating European energy policies amongst sector professionals, and coaches and empowers his clients using an educational approach. His focus on targets, rather than technological trends, ensures that the energy transition is faced with boldness, flexibility, and adaptability.
Previously, Filippo Antonio Capizzi worked as an Energy Policies Expert at VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research), which focuses on the transition to a competitive, clean and secure energy system. In this role, he was a member of the European Topic Center for Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation.
Franz Untersteller MdL
Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and Energy Sector, was born on 4 April 1957 in Saarland. After graduating from the Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Applied Science with a degree in Landscape Planning in 1982 he initially worked for the Öko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology). From 1983 he was parliamentary advisor to the Green Parliamentary Group in the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament before being elected to the Parliament himself in 2006. From 2006 to 2011 he also acted as deputy chairman of the Green Parliamentary Group. Franz Untersteller has been Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector in Baden-Württemberg since 2011.
She is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and currently sits on their Partnership and Accreditation Panel. She was recently the RTPI-nominated practitioner representative on the Queen's University Belfast Planning school partnership Board, which she also chaired for two years.
Gillian has a BSc (Hons) in Town Planning from Heriot-Watt University and BSc (Hons) in Human Geography from the Open University.
Gorka Urtaran has been Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz since 2015. The city played an important role in the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, which took place in 2016 and was hosted by the Basque Country. Mayor Utaran also brings unique knowledge on sustainable cities, as Vitoria-Gasteiz was the European Green Capital in 2012.
Dr. Hakan Lucius
Dr Hakan Lucius is Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Transparency and Civil Society at the European Investment Bank, the European Union’s bank and largest supranational lender, where he covers the transparency and stakeholder engagement of the institution.
Previously, he was responsible for the financing of operations, ranging from large-scale infrastructure projects, structured operations, and environmental investments, to SME finance, both through loans and equity. This broad financial experience, gained both within and outside the European Union, required extensive negotiations with corporations, governments, financial institutions and civil society organizations.
Dr Lucius also serves as the President of the European Investment Bank’s Pension Board, and is on the eligibility committees of the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry’s Environmental fund label and of the ESG fund label.
Hanna Szemző has been working for the Metropolitan Research Institute for more than 15 years. She has extensive experience in research and consultancy in the fields of urban development, social inclusion, energy efficiency, demography, welfare, and governance analysis. She has participated in various Framework Programmes and H2020 research projects of the European Union, prepared strategic development concepts for local governments, and has provided consultancy for Habitat for Humanity International about energy poverty in Armenia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
She is just starting to work on ComAct, an H2020 project focusing on making high-impact/high-cost energy-efficient improvements in multi-family apartment buildings in the CEE and CIS regions that are affordable and manageable for energy-poor communities.
Hanna has a PhD in History and a Master in Sociology and History.
Harriët Tiemens became an alderman of the municipality of Nijmegen in 2014, where she is responsible for sustainable climate and energy, housing, mobility, parking, parks, and water. Since joining the political party, GroenLinks, in 1999 she has been an active member.
Before politics, she worked as an organizational consultant in business services and assisted companies and governments in policy and organizational development. She studied both Environmental Science and Public Administration.
In 2017, Harriët Tiemens placed fifth on the Sustainable Top100 list by the Dutch independent news publication, Trouw. In 2018, Nijmegen was a European Green Capital city, and it intends to be climate neutral by 2030.
Dr. Heather Grabbe
Henk Kok is a senior strategist for the City of Eindhoven, where supports the interconnectivity between city projects and the European Agenda.
With more than thirty-five years of multi-level experience, Henk’s past roles include working at the grassroots level with neighborhood organizations, where he advocated for the integration of healthy living conditions for all. And, as a consultant, where he gained a sensitivity for co-designing solutions and balancing the technological, digital, and financial aspects of a project with all stakeholders. His awareness of data use and of the value of co-designing, complement his interests in climate neutrality and smart cities.
Igor Kos is an Advisor at the WCYCLE Institute Maribor (IWM), where he focuses on the ongoing development of a Circular Economy business model for the City of Maribor. In his position, he is a part of the consortium that has written the Roadmap towards the Circular Economy in Slovenia. He is also a member of the EU Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy and is an active promoter of the circular economic model at international conferences.
In his previous position as Project Manager for the City of Maribor, he headed a working group on the development of the Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategy for Maribor.
Iva works for the City of Zagreb, where she supports the management and implementation of EU-funded projects. Her current focus is the proGlreg project, which focuses on implementing nature based solutions in post-industrial urban areas. She is a part of the team that produced the City of Zagreb Master Plan 2000+, as well as developmental strategies for the City of Zagreb and the Zagreb Urban Agglomeration.
She is an Architect by training, and has worked at a variety of architectural design offices in Croatia, including Njiric+, Aries, and Arta.
Dr. J. Gary Polhill
Dr. Gary Polhill has worked for over twenty years on agent-based modelling of various systems, as well as a professional programmer, in the fields of artificial intelligence and neural networks. His work mainly focuses on the agriculture, environmental, and energy sectors, on projects funded by the Scottish Government, the European Union and research councils in the UK and Norway. From 2016 to 2020, he was the President of the European Social Simulation Association, the leading learned society for agent-based modelling.
Dr. Jana Deforche
Dr. Jana Deforche is a project leader for the city of Antwerp, working on the Horizon 2020 project 'Social Innovation in Energy Transitions' (SONNET). Together with partners from the city community, she is building a living lab that is providing solutions to energy poverty through concrete experiments in the field. She has been working for the city of Antwerp as an EU funding advisor for Energy and Environment since 2014.
Janet Sanz has been a Barcelona City Councillor and a Member for the Barcelona Metropolitan Area since 2011. Throughout her tenure in this role, she has specialised in drafting and implementing urban and environmental policies. She is now the Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility.
Her academic background has spanned political science, law, and local governments, and she has extensive work experience in the fields of sustainability, women's empowerment, housing, employment, immigration, and labour.
Jill Adams is a senior consultant with Prospex. She is an international coach, facilitator and trainer with a focus on developing stakeholder group, team and individual effectiveness. Working in a wide set of sectors, Jill is particularly interested in creating and developing networks and processes to promote an environment of inclusion for all concerned parties. Jill works mainly with organisations in the international arena, across both the private and public sector. These include EU Institutions, NATO, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, ING, Microsoft and many others.
During the first 15 years of her career, Jill worked as a senior manager for a global Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company where she implemented and led change in Engineering/Manufacturing organisations and across European-wide supply chains. During this time, Jill lived and worked in many different countries, including Russia, Poland, Germany, US, Belgium, and the UK.
Johan has worked on energy efficiency and climate change mitigation in cities and regions in Sweden for over 15 years.
His focus has been on the energy transition in cities and sustainable mobility. He is now responsible for the ecological development unit in Umeå, which gathers expertise in environmental planning, nature-based solutions, climate change and energy.
Johannes is the Stakeholder Involvement Officer at JPI Urban Europe, where his primary responsibility is to bring together diverse knowledge and experience on urban transitions. As the manager of AGORA, JPI Urban Europe’s Stakeholder Involvement Platform, he designs and runs processes that aim to bring research communities, public urban administrations, urban change makers--and anyone enthusiastic about sustainable urban futures--together to exchange and co-create. These multi-actor processes aim to build capacities for the co-creation of pathways for urban transitions.
Johannes completed his studies in urbanism, geography and regional development at educational institutions in Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen, Madrid, Budapest and Klagenfurt.
Following studies in Civil Engineering and Engineering Geology, Jonas Byström worked 20 years as a environmental and waste management consultant, based in Sweden, Japan, Malaysia and Denmark. He also held a position as Assistant Technical Attaché to the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2007, Jonas Byström joined JASPERS in Luxembourg as waste management specialist, where he supported the preparation of EU co-funded projects. In 2010, he joined the Projects Directorate at the European Investment Bank, where he carries out due diligence and monitoring of solid waste, circular economy and urban development projects. He also undertakes sector development work, with particular focus on circular economy, and supervises technical assistance assignments.
Jonas is a Member of the JPI Urban Management Board, where his main responsibility is facilitating science policy communications and developing urban research and innovation funding calls with affiliated funding agencies and strategic relations.
Since 2013, he has been employed at the Swedish Centre for Innovation and Quality in the Built Environment (IQS). Hi background is in human geography and social anthropology, with a specific research focus on knowledge practice in planning and environmental sciences. His PhD thesis Planning, Projects, Practice (2006), investigated a national investment programme concerning new environmental technologies in the case of Stockholm urban development, as an attempt to translate actor-network theory into planning studies.
José Sá Fernandes
José Sá Fernandes has been Deputy Mayor of Lisbon’s City Council since 2007, where he is responsible for Environment, Green Structure, Climate, and Energy. He has contributed greatly to the definition and implementation of climate change-focused strategies and policies, and was pivotal to Lisbon’s achievement of the European Green Capital Award for 2020.
Currently, his primary focus is developing Lisbon’s water efficiency policy, which includes measures for consumption reduction and the reuse of treated wastewater in parks and gardens. He has been responsible for integrating Urban Allotment Gardens which have reached 650 families, as well as 200 new hectares of urban green space.
His decades-long commitment to public causes has earned him the role of prominent environmental activist in Lisbon. He was previously a lawyer.
As Head of Research and Analysis at CSE, Josh oversees the organisation’s research, policy and technical work. He is one of the UK’s leading experts on energy modelling and pioneering address-level heat demand modelling within the UK. Whilst as CSE, he has delivered a range of projects spanning smart energy, energy policy modelling, energy tariffs modelling and spatial resource assessments.
Prior to joining CSE, Josh was the Principal Policy Officer for the Greater London Authority’s Energy Strategy Team.
Juan Espadas Cejas
Juan Espadas has been Mayor of Seville since June 2015. In February 2020, he was elected President of the ENVE Committee in the Committee of the Regions, and Chair of the Green Deal going local working group.
He has held Directoral and Advisory positions in the Junta de Andalucía in areas of technical management, political responsibility, education and science, environment, and housing and territorial planning.
He has been a member of the Social Council of the University of Seville since July 2013, where he has taught Law and Environmental Management. Also, in 2015 he was Chairman of the Network of Cities for Climate of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces. Since 2016, he has been a Member of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union for the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.
Juan Espadas holds a degree in Law from the University of Seville and has been a registered lawyer since 1990. He holds a master's degree in environmental policy and management and a diploma in Business Management.
Juan Carlos Escudero
Juan C. Escudero has worked for the at the Environmental Studies Centre at the Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council for more than 25 years. In this position, he has been involved in the deployment of R+D+i projects applied to the urban environment. As Head of the Information and Innovation for Urban Sustainability Unit, he has been responsible for implementing and energizing innovative strategies concerning sustainable mobility, energy, and the fight against climate change.
He has also coordinated the development of the Vitoria-Gasteiz Sustainable Mobility and Public Space Plan, which is currently under review. He was member of the Vitoria-Gasteiz European Green Capital 2012 Technical Committee.
Judit Boros is a product and service designer who provides strategic design consultation for service and business development to organisations ranging from large service providers, to start-ups or NGOs.
Although her background is in engineering, she started her Ph.D. project in 2017, where she is investigating the role of design in the integration of nature-based solutions (NBS) to urban environments. With her thesis work, she is joining the NATURVATION research program that seeks to understand the effects and implications of NBS to specific urban challenges, and unlock the potential of NBS for sustainable urban development. She is interested both in the theoretical and practical aspects of applying transition design to urban sustainability challenges.
Dr. Karsten Sach
Dr. Karsten Sach is Director General "International and European Policy, Climate Policy" at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany. Before he assumed the office in 2016, he led the Sub-Department “European and International Policies” for twelve years. Since 1999 he is the German chief negotiator at the UNFCCC conferences of the parties. Previously, he was the Chairman of the Management Board of the European Environment Agency. He participated in the foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), first as the Chair of the preparatory process, then as Chairman of the Administrative Committee and of the IRENA Council. Dr. Karsten Sach holds a PhD in law.
Katelien van der Berge
Katerina is the Marketing Director at Grow with Google & Sustainability at Google, where she leads the Sustainability and Economic recovery - Grow with Google initiative, with the responsibility of brand marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Grow with Google is a collection of programs focused on closing the skills gap through free digital and developer skills training. She currently leads
During her thirteen years at Google, she has delivered successful marketing programs for a range of products, including Android in Emerging Markets.In addition to her marketing role, Katerina supports young artists in Central and Eastern European countries and has been a mentor to women in developing countries, inspiring them to build and grow successful startups. She is also a strong supporter and collaborator with both the Karimu Foundation and Thorn Foundation.
Kerstin Kleinhans is PhD researcher at the Laboratory for Circular Process Engineering (LCPE) at Ghent University, Belgium. In this role, she researches recycling solutions for industrial and commercial plastic waste in urban areas. Moreover, she works on modelling waste flows in sorting facilities.
In her role as a researcher on the Interreg 2 Seas project “PlastiCity”, she works on developing replicable strategies and solutions that can increase recycling rates in urban areas. This includes solutions for the whole plastics value chain to create a more circular economy for industrial and commercial plastic waste.
Kerstin is a graduated Environmental Engineer from the RWTH Aachen University in Germany, where she focussed on Environmental Process Engineering.
Lasse P. N. Olsen
Lasse P. N. Olsen has been a member of Aalborg City Council and Mayor of the Environment and Energy Department since 2014. He is passionate about leading the municipality’s transition towards a sustainable future.
Before entering politics, he was an activist for a number of causes, including anti-racism, the environment, education and more.
Prof. Laszlo Pinter
László Pintér is Professor and Head of Department at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at the Central European University (CEU), and Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). László has been working on sustainable development for nearly three decades.
During his years at IISD, he carried out pioneering work on sustainability indicators, sustainable development strategies and integrated assessments, often with an emphasis on the natural resources sectors. While at CEU, he has been conducting research on the potential of nature-based solutions (NBS) to re-nature cities in the Horizon 2020 funded NATURVATION project.
Linda works at the Energy Office of the eThekwini Municipality as a Climate Change Monitoring & Reporting Advisor in climate change mitigation. Her responsibilities involve updating the Municipality’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, and reporting the Municipality’s climate actions (adaptation and mitigation) to international platforms such as GCoM.
Luis has been working for the Municipality of Madrid since 2005, where he is responsible for the coordination of climate change policies which can be adapted to city programming. His work has been implemented across different city departments, including Parks and Gardens, Environmental Education, and Energy and Climate Change.
As a speaker at Mannheim2020, he intends to highlight the city's 'Madrid + Natural' programme, which aims to increase urban nature spaces and mitigate climate change impacts through the implementation nature-based solutions (NBS).
Luis is an agricultural engineer with a Master in City Science.
Dr. Luise Noring
Dr. Luise Noring's applied research and scholarship focus on urban governance and finance, which target cities and city stakeholders to spur inclusive economic growth through urban redevelopment, infrastructure investments, affordable and social housing, and devolved political and fiscal powers. Noring is Assistant Professor and Research Director of the City Solutions Team at Copenhagen Business School (2016-present) and Visiting Researcher at HafenCity University Hamburg (2018-present). She was a Research Fellow at The Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program (2016-2018) and has served as an EU-commissioned policy expert advising on sustainable urbanisation and nature-based solutions (2014-2015). Noring has sat on numerous advisory boards related to sustainable urbanisation and business development, and she is a recognised leader in driving processes of urban change.
Mai leads the Energy Management Team in the Aberdeen City Council, where she manages utilities in public buildings and council housing. In her position, she strives to influence the energy efficiency in new builds and refurbishment projects, in order to ensure that Aberdeen City Council buildings are energy efficient and low carbon for climate change resilience. She is also involved in ensuring Scottish Government policies are incorporated in Council energy strategy.
In her previous position, Mai was a part of the Energy Management team in the Angus Council, where she delivered successful energy efficiency campaigns, and projects, which included carbon reporting.
Mai completed her studies at Dundee University, where she specialised in Electrical Power Engineering with Management.
Marc is an ecologist at the Agence Régionale de la Biodiversité (ARB) of the Paris Region Institute. His work focuses on urban ecology and implementing nature-based solutions into urban planning and architecture. The Paris Region Institute is one of the partners of the Horizon2020 REGREEN project on nature-based solutions.
He is also an Associate Researcher at the Veblen Institute, an organization whose mission is to make ecological transition a social project.
Marc is a member of AFIE (French Association of Ecologists).
Dr. Marc Gramberger
Dr. Marc Gramberger is the managing director of Prospex. He designs and facilitates corporate learning, stakeholder engagement and foresight processes.
He is a renowned facilitator of international conferences and workshops, and an international expert in foresight and scenario methodologies and stakeholder engagement. With interactive, creative and thorough interventions, he helps his clients to identify, understand and master strategic challenges in their organisational context.
Marc has worked with a huge variety of organisations in the international arena. He is the author of the official landmark OECD handbook “Citizens as Partners“.
Maria is a Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), one of the EU consultative bodies, representing the Spanish Trade Union 'Comisones Obreras'. She is also the President of the Association for the Development of Timebanks in Spain. In the EESC, she participates in the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Environment sections, contributing to the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform and the Sustainable Development Observatory. She is also involved in the Transport, Energy and Digitalisation section, by participating in the focus group on Services of General Interest.
Maria Sangiuliano is the Research Director and CEO at Smart Venice, where for the past twenty years she has designed and executed EU funded projects that focus on inclusive, participatory, and sustainable innovation. Gender equality is a cross-cutting and constant theme in her research and action.
She is the leader of the Citizen Focus Action Cluster of the EU’s Smart Cities initiative ‘EIP-SCC’, for which she heads a group of cities, businesses, and researchers in the goal of ensuring that cities involve citizens in the (co)creation of Smart City Projects.
Maria holds a PhD in Cognitive and Learning Studies, a Master Degree in Migration Studies, and a Master in Training Policies and Methodologies.
María Jesús Muñoz Cachón
María Jesús Muñoz Cachón is a Climate Change Technician at Ihobe, a publicly-owned company coming under the Environmental Office of the Basque Government's Ministry for the Environment, Territorial Planning and Housin. She is currently a part of the coordination team of the integrated project 'Life Urban Klima 2050'.
She has been working in the field of climate change for more than ten years, in the areas of both migration and adaptation. María has a PhD in Biology.
Mariangelina Evliati is a project manager for clean vehicles and electric mobility for the city of Stockholm. She is currently managing local and international projects for charging infrastructure and fleet electrification.
She has previously worked with strategies for knowledge transfer and replication of transport solutions at EUROCITIES, and has participated in research projects for urban renewal at KTH, The Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden as well as the University of Tokyo in Japan.
Mariangelina holds an MA in Geography from Stockholm University and an MSc in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design from KTH, The Royal Institute of Technology.
Mariusz Skiba was appointed Deputy Mayor of Katowice in 2014. In his role he is responsible for sustainable development, including the development of green areas and the management of natural resources and energy efficiency. He plays an important role in shaping central and local politics for energy and ecology.
Katowice's focus on the implementation of ecological measures has helped the city continue its transformation from an industrial hub into a modern city with an intelligent economy. Mariusz coordinated the organisation of COP24, which was held in Katowice in 2018.
Previously, he worked in the Silesian Marshall Office and then in Katowice City Hall, where between 2010 and 2014 he was councillor. He was also a part of the municipal budget committee. Since 2013, he has chaired a municipal committee for infrastructure and environment.
Mark is the Conservation Team Leader within the City Development Directorate of Sunderland City Council. He leads the Council’s participation in the Horizon 2020 ‘Open Heritage’ Project and manages the Sunderland Historic High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).
The HAZ is a leading regeneration initiative in partnership with Historic England and local partners that includes the Open Heritage project at 170-175 High Street West. It focuses on collaborative partnership solutions to unlock the sustainable regeneration potential of heritage buildings.
Mark is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and an affiliate member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. He has an Honours Bachelor degree in Town Planning and a diploma in Urban Conservation from Newcastle University.
Markus Duscha has 30 years of experience in strategic political consulting and research for sustainable development. Prior to the establishment of Fair Finance Institute (2016), he served as managing director and as the head of the department for topics related to the energy turnaround at IFEU – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg gGmbH for nearly 25 years. Since 2014, his focus has been on the necessary restructuring of the financial system towards sustainability. Thus, FaFin focuses on consulting, research and design for sustainable finance.
Marte Mjøs Persen
Marte Mjøs Persen has been Mayor of the City of Bergen (Norway) since 2015. She represents the Norwegian Labour Party.
Mrs. Persen has been a member of the City Council of Bergen since 2003. During her first term in council, she was a member of the Committee for Environment and Urban Development. Since then, she has served as both the Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee, and, from 2011 to 2015, she chaired the Committee on Health and Social Affairs.
Martin W. W. Horn
Martin Horn holds a Bachelor's degree in International social work from The Ludwigsburg Protestant University of Applied Science (Evangelischen Hochschule Ludwigsburg) and a Masters degree in European and World Politics from the University of Bremen. Before being elected Lord Mayor of Freiburg in 2018, Horn worked as European and Development Coordinator for the City of Sindelfingen (Germany) and as a freelance lecturer at the Ludwigsburg Protestant University of Applied Science.
Marvin Rees was elected mayor of Bristol in May 2016, following a rich career in international development, social justice, and journalism. He holds a number of public appointments, including the National Community Forum, Yale World Fellow, and co-founder of the City Leadership Programme. During his time in office, he has overseen the building of over 8,000 homes, announced the development of a mass transit system and led city-wide campaigns on period poverty and child hunger. He has also volunteered with the National Health Service Bristol's Public Health team on Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health. His academic background is in Political Theory and Government, and Global Economic Development.
Matej Drobez is a specialist in public finance and has been participating in interdisciplinary teams for the realization of investment projects for the last decade. These include projects investing in renewable energy sources and increased efficient energy use.
Matej works primarily on indirect EU funding in the field of regional development and cohesion funding. He participated in the comprehensive energy rehabilitation of degraded urban markets in the municipality, and the energy renovation of public buildings (kindergartens, schools and cultural institutions).
Previously, he was the local coordinator of the research and development project 'Remining Lowex' (FP6), which focuses on the redevelopment of European mining areas into sustainable communities by integrating supply and demand based on low energy principles.
Mercè Corretja Torrens has been the General Director of Public Procurement of the Government of Catalonia since February 2016.
She has a degree and doctorate in law from the University of Barcelona. She is an Attorney and has developed a professional career in the Catalan Public Sector. She was also an Associate Professor of Law at the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona for 18 years, and has published numerous publications in the fields of Public Law and Public Procurement.
For more information in Spanish and Catalan, visit:
- “Observatorio de Contratación Pública”: http://www.obcp.es/opiniones (Spanish)
- Revista Catalana de Dret Públic: http://revistes.eapc.gencat.cat/index.php/rcdp/index (Catalan, Spanish, English)
- Butlletí de Contractació Pública: https://contractacio.gencat.cat/ca/difusio/publicacions/butlleti-contractacio-publica/ (Catalan)
- Blog de l’Escola d’Administració Pública: https://eapc.blog.gencat.cat/ (Catalan)
Dr. Michaël Ghyoot
Michaël Ghyoot has been working at Rotor since 2008, where he mostly works on research projects, lectures, exhibitions and assistance missions. In 2014, he obtained a PhD in architecture at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where he was a part-time lecturer for 3 years.
In 2018, Michaël supervised the edition of Rotor’s book Déconstruction et réemploi. Comment faire circuler les éléments de construction (Deconstruction and reuse. How to circulate construction elements), published by the EPFL Press as part of the ERDF project 'Brussels Building: a Source of Future Materials'. Michaël is currently orchestrating the FCRBE (Facilitating the Circulation of Reclaimed Building Elements) Interreg NWE project, which brings together eight partners and aims to enhance the use of reclaimed building components in large-scale construction projects.
Michael Glotz-Richter is Senior Project Manager for Sustainable Mobility at the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and for its Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban and Housing Development. In his position, he has been leading a number of internationally-recognized pilot projects in the field of sustainable mobility. Key project elements include the promotion of integrated sustainable transport modes, the car-free lifestyle, and car-sharing.
Bremen has been awarded several times for its modules of sustainable mobility, recently the CIVITAS Award in 2019 and for the first German cycle zone with the German Cycle Award in 2018.
Michael holds a diploma in urban and regional planning with a special focus on transport planning. In his professional career in Berlin, Bonn, Cologne and Bremen, Michael has always worked on the link between urban development, transport strategies and urban lifestyle.
He also lectures at the Bremen University for Applied Science.
As a Chartered Engineer with Masters Degrees in Building Services Engineering and Business Administration, Micheál began his journey in climate action while working in the Energy Conservation Support Unit of the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in the UK in the 1990s. During this period he focused on projects such as Domestic Building Energy Ratings and Life Cycle Costings. He was appointed as Manager of Cork City Council’s Energy Agency in 2000, and then subsequently worked in various service areas including Buildings Capital, Parks, Housing Maintenance, Water Capital and Environmental Management.
He is currently the Manager of the Climate Action Unit for Cork City Council, and recently developed the Cork City Council Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2019-2024. He was a founding Director of the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA), a past Chairman of the Association of Irish Energy Agencies (AIEA) and a current Steering Group member of the Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) in Ireland’s Atlantic Seaboard South Region.
Miia works as a R&D Team Leader at Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto (LSJH), a waste management company owned by 17 municipalities in Southwest Finland. She is responsible for coordinating the research and development projects and the key performance indicators of the company. Her current development projects involve a post-consumer textile waste recovery plant and public-private cooperation in Circular Economy Hubs built in the area.
Miia has over 20 years of expertise in the waste management field, including public relations, environmental education and counselling, waste policy planning and project management. She has a degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Helsinki.
Minna Arve has served as the Mayor of Turku since 2017. Turku-born Arve is a Master of Economics and a nurse. During her career Arve has worked as the Managing Director of Turku Chamber of Commerce, Party Secretary of the Finnish National Coalition Party, full-time Chairperson of the City Board in Turku, and Marketing Manager of HyTest Oy. She has also led a long career in municipal politics. As the Mayor of Turku, Arve has highlighted major issues such as sustainable growth, urban inclusion, the prevention of social exclusion, and new means of industrial and business policies.
Miquel Rodríguez Planas
Miquel Rodríguez is the Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda at Barcelona City Council, where he spearheads its mission to fulfil the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by creating, implementing and adapting plans and programs supporting the 2030 Agenda.
Prior to joining Barcelona City Council, he was the director of the Public-Private Sector Research Centre (PPSRC) of the IESE Business School.
Miquel Rodríguez holds a degree in Economics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and a Masters degrees in Strategic Management of Information and Knowledge and Public Management.
Nina Sankovič is a Head of the Public Relations department at VOKA SNAGA, the largest Slovenian public utility company. She joined the waste management company Snaga Ljubljana as Public Relations Advisor in 2011. She has been responsible for the design and further development of tools to promote and accelerate Zero Waste strategies, circular economy system solutions, and corporate social responsibility practices.
Nomusa Dube-Ncube is the Member of the Executive Council responsible for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She has served as a Member of the Executive Council for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for two terms between 2009 and 2019. MEC Dube-Ncube serves as a Member of the KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Council. Previously, she was Chief Whip of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament. She has also served South Africa as its Ambassador to the Czech Republic. She is a former Mayor and Speaker of South Africa’s largest city and economic hub – Durban.
Dr. Rachel Aldred
Rachel is a Professor of Transport and Director of the University of Westminster's Active Travel Academy. She is interested in sustainable mobilities and especially active transport, and has published widely in this area.
She teaches on the MSc Transport Planning and Management. Her research has been funded by the EU's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), AHRC, Blaze, TfL, DfT, British Cycling, CIL, Sport England, and others. This work has won prizes including in 2016, the ESRC Prize for Outstanding Impact in Public Policy.
For more of her publications please see http://rachelaldred.org/publications/ or her Google Scholar page.
Rafał Trzaskowski is the Mayor of Warsaw (Poland), as well as a Member of the Board of Eurocities and the European Committee of the Regions.
Previously, he was the Minister of both Administration and Digitalisation, and EU Affairs within the Polish government. He also held the Vice-Chairship of the European People's Party and was a Member of the European Parliament.
Richard is an Investment Programme Manager at the Bristol City Council. In this role, he manages a team of energy professionals who work on securing local authority and community financing for renewable energy, as well as for energy efficiency investment in public and private sector assets.
He previously worked for nine years in the private sector, where he specialised in the design and construction of solar PV systems.
Richard has a Master degree in Renewable Energy Systems Enginnering from Loughbourough University.
Rik Thijs is Vice-Mayor of Eindhoven, which is located in the heart of Europe's Brainport Region. As a Member of the Board, his ambition is to see Eindhoven become the most sustainable city in the Netherlands. Much of his work focuses on bringing together local organisations, with the aim of sharing knowledge and ideas about sustainability. He is an advocate for cross-sectoral collaboration across government, with the belief that it can bring about effective and sustainable change.
Rik studied at the Technical University of Delft and has a Master degree in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences.
Roby is the Rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on "Bio-diverse cities and regions beyond 2020 at the UN CBD COP15 and in the EU strategy for 2030", foreseen for adoption in December 2020.
He has been a Member of the CoR since 2014. Currently, he is a member of the Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE), where he is the political coordinator of the Party for European Socialists political group. He is also a member of the commissions for Natural Resources (NAT) and for Territorial Cohesion Policy (COTER).
Roby is also a member of Bettembourg communal council in Luxembourg.
Rut Einarsdóttir is a strong advocate for youth empowerment and youth inclusion in all decision making spaces. She is a current Board Member of the Icelandic National Youth Council and a former member of the Advisory Council on Youth to the Council of Europe, as well as a former Youth Delegate to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
While she is completing her MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development at SOAS University (London, UK), Rut works as the Operation Manager of SCRAP Weapons, a youth-led organisation that advocates for general and complete disarmament, as well as acting as a member of the European Youth Advocacy Team at UNOY, advocating for implementation of UNSCR 2250, and youth inclusion in peace and security matters.
In her work with the National Governmental Agency for the Territorial Cohesion, Sandra Gizdulich (PhD) acts as an Urban Expert responsible for: the Urban Agenda for the European Union (drafting the common position and monitoring its implementation), the coordination of the European Partnership on Culture & Cultural Heritage (comprising 30 members spanning states, regions, cities, EU institutions and other EU entities), and the active monitoring on the ground of national and European integrated urban programmes. She was also active in the creation and the animation of a national technical secretariat comprising various national central bodies responsible for urban programmes and policies to foster synergies among several thematic urban silos.
In her previous position, she was a European officer at the EIB responsible for the evaluation of integrated programmes at local levels. Before that, she worked at the European Commission (DG REGIO), where she was in charge of Italian "10 URBAN Programmes" (negotiation, management, monitoring, evaluation).
She is an Urban Planner (PhD) specialised in integrated sustainable development programmes and policies at the University of Florence (IT).
Sandy Tung is based at the Greater London Authority, where she is the Programme Manager for 'Sharing Cities', a pan-European programme that tests out innovative smart city solutions across major European Cities, replicating and scaling what works through new business and investment models. She is passionate about making cities better places for people to live, work and play.
She has ten years of experience working in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, where she has worked with cities across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America to become more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive. Sandy has previously worked on programmes including '100 Resilient Cities' and Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Development (ICED).
Sandy holds a Masters degree on Sustainable Energy Futures from Imperial College London.
Sara Maia has been working as a researcher for environmental and sustainability projects since 2014. Since 2016, she has been affiliated with the Central European University as a research assistant on a Horizon 2020 project, focused on understanding the potential of nature-based solutions to solve societal challenges (Naturvation). She has been focusing her research on the socio-cultural values and benefits of urban nature, as well as on the evaluation of these benefits. Her experience also extends to the assessment of urban ecosystem services and air quality modelling.
She holds a Master in Environmental Management and Economics and a Bachelor in Environmental Sciences and Technology from the University of Porto.
Sergio Humberto Graf Montero
Dr. Arch. Simona d'Oca
Simona is a Project Manager, Researcher, and Horizon2020 project coordinator at Huygen Engineers and Consultants. She is currently coordinating four H2020 projects, including TripleA-reno, U-CERT, and NRG2peer, for which she is also involved in partner relations at the EU-level, business modelling, and policy planning.
She has eight years of expertise in innovation and sustainability research and consultancy, with particular focus on human-building interaction, demand-response and smart grids, building automation and controls, blockchain-based mechanisms for peer-to-peer energy markets and energy communities, and ethnographic research.
Simona holds a Ph.D. in Technology Innovation. She obtained a joint doctoral title from the
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA) and the Department of Energy, Polytechnic
of Turin (Italy).
Currently, he is leading the Papillon project, a circular economy product-as-service rental model for energy saving household appliances for people in poverty. The project is co-created with Bosch Belgium.
Susan Aitken became Leader of Glasgow City Council when the Scottish National Party (SNP) became the largest party on the Council and formed a minority administration in May 2017. She was elected as a councillor for the Langside ward, where she lives, in 2012 and has been leader of the SNP group since 2014, having previously served as the group spokesperson on health and social care.
Before being elected, Susan worked in a variety of policy and research roles in the Scottish Parliament and the third sector, and as a freelance writer and editor specialising in health and social care policy. She grew up in Biggar in South Lanarkshire and is a graduate of both Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities.
Dr. Susanna Albertini
Dr. Susanna Albertini is a Partner and Senior Communication Expert at FVA New Media Design, where she has integrated her specialization in the Psychology of work and business organization with multimedia and ICT-supported communication. Her primary area of interest is sustainable circular bio-economy, and societal challenges with a special focus on sustainable and inclusive growth.
Since 2000, she has been involved as project manager and researcher in projects funded by the European Commission, where she has supported the promotion, awareness-raising and communication of Bio-economy for Horizon2020 projects (BIOVOICES, BIOBRIDGES, LIFT and BIOWAYS).Susana is a promoter of the European Bioeconomy Network, an alliance of EU-funded projects that support the Bioeconomy uptake. In the context of the Network and the BIOWAYS, BIOVOICES, LIFT and BIOBRIDGES projects, her company organises workshops and awareness-raising activities to promote bio-economy, address challenges and opportunities, and engage stakeholders.
Thomas Kastrup-Larsen has been a member of Aalborg City Council since 1998. From 2007-2013, he was Mayor of the Department of Health and Sustainability, and since 2014 he has been the Lord Mayor of Aalborg Municipality, the third largest municipality in Denmark.
Thomas Kastrup-Larsen is on the Transformative Action Award Jury.
Tim Ash Vie
Tim has nearly twenty years’ experience of delivering climate action in the UK and internationally. He joined the Climate Group in September 2017 as Director of the Under2 Coalition Secretariat. The Under2 Coalition is a leading, international network of 222 national and state governments that have committed to ambitious climate action, for which the Climate Group acts as Secretariat. The Under2 Coalition has members in over 40 countries and every continent.
Tim worked for the British government in the early 2000’s to develop the UK’s responses to climate change, before focusing on the particular challenge of climate change in developing countries. Tim’s personal climate change experience includes working in China, Mexico, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia and South Africa.
Tine Heyse has been the Deputy Mayor of the City of Ghent since January 2013. She currently holds an executive portfolio combining energy, climate, international solidarity and environmental policies. She is also co-president of Climate Alliance. Combining an effective local climate policy with social justice is one her main areas of focus right now.
Climate and energy have been common themes throughout her career, having worked as a campaigner for Greenpeace for 10 years and at the climate change unit of the Belgian Federal Ministry of Environment. Before taking office as Deputy Mayor of Ghent, she was the climate and energy expert for the Green Party in the Belgian federal parliament.
Tom Meeuws is Vice-Mayor of the City of Antwerp and its alderman for social affairs, poverty reduction, social economy, environment and honorary services. Over the past 20 years, Tom has worked in a number of roles at the City of Antwerp, including: staff member to the city’s labour market policy, chief of staff for the alderman for Community Development, Director of the City’s department for community building and society, and Director of its public mobility enterprise.
Previously, he was a policy advisor on labour market and sustainable development for the Federal Planning Bureau, an independent advisory institution supporting Belgian policy making. In his current role as alderman, Tom is responsible for Antwerp’s commitments in several European partnerships. Building on these, his areas of focus include tackling energy poverty, decarbonising buildings, and the just energy transition.
Drs. Ton Verhoeven
Ton Verhoeven is a Policy Advisor of Green, Water and Climate Adaptation. He is involved in all policy aspects of green and water in relation to spatial planning and citizen involvement. He is also involved in national and regional governance processes regarding High Water threats and Climate Adaptation projects.
Ton's academic background is in Biology, with a specialization is Aquatic ecology. He has worked with a variety of organisations, both small and large, in the public and private sector. His primary topics of interest include nature maintenance and water governance. He has worked for the Municipality Nijmegen since 2003.
Trevor Graham is the director of Urbanisland, a company focused on innovative sustainable communities and economic development. He works with public, private, academic, and non-profit partners as a strategic advisor and project manager, using a partnership approach and sustainable development and community perspective. He works primarily with sustainable cities, but also in rural and island development contexts.
Originally from the UK, Trevor spent fifteen years leading sustainability work for the City of Malmö (Sweden), driving urban regeneration, innovation, and sustainable business models. More recently, he has worked as Director of Environment on the island of St Helena, with responsibilities ranging from spatial planning and property management, to agriculture and environment.
Véronique Willems is representing Crafts and SMEs in Europe as the Secretary General of SMEunited (formerly known as UEAPME) since January 2017. Previously, she was the Head of European affairs at UNIZO (SMEunited Belgian member organisation), where she was responsible for advocacy on policies affecting SMEs at the EU-level. Ms Willems started her career at UNIZO in 1999 as Policy Officer responsible for education, training and SME counselling. From there she went on to work at the regional office (Vlaams-Brabant & Brussel), where she was responsible for advocacy at the regional level, mentorship programs, and individual counselling for entrepreneurs.
Véronique holds a Law degree from Vrije Universiteit Brussels and a Masters in Commercial sciences & Business management from VLEKHO Brussels.
Dr. Wander Jager
Wander Jager is an Associate Professor at the University of Groningen and the Managing Director of the Groningen Center for Social Complexity Studies. His teaching and research focuses on how interactions between people give rise to the emergence of collective behavior. In particular, he is interested in the spreading of new technologies, opinion dynamics and polarization, and the societal transition towards sustainability.
He uses behavioural theory and empirical data in agent-based simulations to study processes of social innovation, such as transportation, farming and city-planning.
Wolfgang Teubner is the ICLEI regional director for Europe and the managing director of the ICLEI European Secretariat. With more than 25 years of professional experience, Wolfgang has been working with local governments on sustainable urban development, climate adaptation and mitigation, waste management, and sustainable urban transport policies. Since 1994, he has been involved in the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Platform, during which he participated in the drafting of the Aalborg Charter and the 2016 Basque Declaration. He has been involved in more than 150 European and international projects, including several research activities.
Yvon Slingenberg is Director at DG Climate Action of the European Commission, responsible for international climate negotiations and the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as the mainstreaming of climate issues in EU policies (e.g. Multiannual Financial Framework).
Throughout her career, she has been closely involved in negotiations on the 2020 and 2030 climate and energy packages and international climate negotiations. She was Senior Advisor in the Cabinet of Commissioner Arias Cañete for Climate Action and Energy, where she was in charge of issues related to the EU Emissions Trading Systems, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
She has also worked on chemicals and waste policy, environmental and climate issues, and for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Zoran is the co-founder of the ImPPPact Global Alliance Ecosystem, and Global Co-ordinator for the Public Private Partnership Alliance, an initiative that implements the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through Public, Private, People Partnerships (PPPPs) infrastructure projects. The projects are supported with the help of Geospatial Intelligence, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Everything (IoE) Technology.
He developed the EuroPPP and MasterPPPlan initiatives, whose promotional campaigns led to the implementation of infrastructure PPP projects across political and economic institutions, like the European Commission and the EIB.
Zoran's specialities include infrastructure project development based on Life-Cycle Project Alliancing, and Project Financing according to sustainability and resiliency criteria. He is a member of multiple committees, including the Strategic Committee of the World Association of PPP Units and PPP Experts (WAPPP).
Zsófia is a freelance software developer, working on a scenario development tool for the Naturvation project. Her academic background is in engineering and the humanities, and she has a long-term interest in biology and environmental studies.