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10TH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE CITIES & TOWNS

Speakers

Our speaker line up comprises experts from across the city and town planning sphere, who’ll share knowledge and recommendations on the most pressing topics facing European municipalities today.

Check back here and follow our social media channels for updates on speakers set to share their insights in Aalborg.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève
Sandrine Dixson-Declève
Co-President of Club of Rome

Sandrine Dixson-Declève

Co-President of Club of Rome

Sandrine Dixson-Declève is an environmental scientist and an international climate change, sustainable development, sustainable finance, and complex system thought leader. She is Co-President of the Club of Rome and divides her time between leading the Club of Rome, advising on non-Executive corporate and academic Boards, lecturing, and facilitating difficult conversations. She is a TED global speaker and was recognised most recently by Reuters as one of 25 global female trailblazers in 2023 and by GreenBiz as one of the 30 most influential women across the globe driving change in the low carbon economy and promoting green business.


Lasse Frimand Jensen
Lasse Frimand Jensen
Mayor of Aalborg, Denmark

Lasse Frimand Jensen

Mayor of Aalborg, Denmark

Lasse Frimand Jensen holds a Master’s degree in Development and International Relations. Prior to his appointment as Mayor in 2023, Jensen was Head of the International House in Aalborg. He has been a member of the City Council of Aalborg since 2014 and has also served as the chairman of the Danish Water Association, the Port of Aalborg and Aalborg Utilities Company. Jensen has been key in setting up Green Hub Denmark, a strong public-private partnership that uses green innovation, sustainable business models, and large-scale testing to address climate challenges. 

Since being elected Mayor, Jensen serves as Chair of the Finance Committee, Chair of Aalborg Business Council and Chair of the Regional Council of Municipalities. Furthermore, he sits on the board of Destination North Denmark. Jensen has experience in engaging citizens in the green transition, and set up the Green Agent's project, which aims at promoting sustainability among residents of the city. 

As host of the European Conference of Sustainable Cities and Towns on 1-3 October 2024, Jensen sees involvement in ICLEI key to understanding the bigger picture when working on local sustainability. 


Ovidiu Cîmpean
Ovidiu Cîmpean
State Secretary, Ministry of Investments and European Projects, Romania

Ovidiu Cîmpean

State Secretary, Ministry of Investments and European Projects, Romania

Ovidiu Cîmpean is a State Secretary at the Ministry of Investments and European Projects (MIPE), where he holds a pivotal role in managing the EEA and Norway Grants. Coordinator of M100 - Mirror Misson Cities Hub Romania, a national hub designed as a support platform for the Romanian cities in their transformation processes towards smart and climate-neutral cities by 2030.

With over 15 years of experience, Ovidiu has was the development director at Cluj-Napoca Municipality, being in charge with European funded projects. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and European Studies from Babeș-Bolyai University, providing a solid academic background for his career.


Chantal Zeegers
Chantal Zeegers
Vice Mayor, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Chantal Zeegers

Vice Mayor, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Since June 2022, Chantal Zeegers has been working as Vice Mayor in the Municipality of Rotterdam. She is responsible for the Climate, Building and Housing portfolios.

Previously, Zeegers has held a variety of different positions within the Ministry of Education and the Municipality of Rotterdam. She has been active in politics for the D66 party since 2011. She started out as an Executive Director of the Hillegersberg-Schiebroek sub-municipality, specifically focussing on outdoor spaces, sustainability, and traffic and transport. She was the D66 Party Chairperson in Rotterdam’s municipal council between 2018 and 2022. She is also vice-president of the regional environmental protection agency DCMR.

Zeegers believes that urgent action is needed to make the transition to a more sustainable, resilient and socially just society. To meet the challenges brought by climate change, she believes that international cooperation and legislation are required to make the necessary next steps.


Erion Veliaj
Erion Veliaj
Mayor of Tirana

Erion Veliaj

Mayor of Tirana

Erion Veliaj was re-elected for his third term as Mayor of Tirana in May 2023. 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 organizations in the Americas, Eastern Africa and Kosovo.
Veliaj holds a Master’s degree in European Integration from the University of Sussex and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Grand Valley State University.


Minna Arve
Minna Arve
Mayor of Turku, Finland

Minna Arve

Mayor of Turku, Finland

Minna Arve has served as the Mayor of Turku, Finland since 2017. Prior to this, she was the Managing Director of the Turku Chamber of Commerce and the Secretary General of the Finnish National Coalition Party. She holds a Master’s degree in Economics and participated in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative from 2022 to 2023. As Mayor, Arve prioritises sustainable growth, climate and nature initiatives, and the prevention of social exclusion, actively advocating for innovative cultural, industrial, and business policies. 

Arve is an active member of Finland's circular economy steering group and chairs the working group on cities and regions. She has contributed to numerous Finnish and European processes and actively participated in COP25, COP26, and COP27, as well as the UN Secretary General Climate Summit in 2019, where she delivered several keynotes and panel contributions on climate action and the circular economy. During her tenure, Turku has made significant progress towards achieving climate neutrality by 2029. Arve is keen to continue her active engagement in the ICLEI network to create new solutions to our challenges together. 


Martin Horn
Martin Horn
Lord Mayor, Freiburg, Germany

Martin Horn

Lord Mayor, Freiburg, Germany

Martin W. W. Horn, Lord Mayor of Freiburg im Breisgau since July 2018. He studied International Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences in Ludwigsburg and then completed a Master’s degree in “European and World Politics”. Until he took office in Freiburg, Horn was the European and Development Coordinator of the city of Sindelfingen and, among other things, Executive Director of the European city net-work Eurotowns.

As Lord Mayor of Freiburg, Martin W. W. Horn is committed to climate protection, affordable housing, digitization, social justice and closeness to citizens. Among other things, he is also President of ICLEI Europe - Local Governments for Sustainability. When it comes to climate protection, Horn pursues an integrated policy approach, especially for future generations. Part of this policy is a climate conservation offensi-ve of the city of Freiburg with many concrete climate preservation measures.


Gino Van Begin
Gino Van Begin
Secretary General of ICLEI

Gino Van Begin

Secretary General of ICLEI

Gino has worked for ICLEI for 20 years. In his former positions as Regional Director for Europe and Deputy Secretary General, and now as Secretary General since 2013, he has consistently worked towards ensuring ICLEI performs as a responsible, forward-looking, not-for-profit local and regional government organization serving its Members worldwide.

Throughout his 20 years at ICLEI, Gino has witnessed cities becoming home to over half of the global population, while facing an increasing number of challenges. At the same time, he worked with and witnessed local and regional governments as they respond to these challenges, despite their sometimes limited means. Without waiting for nations to take action, over the years, local and regional governments have found solutions to mitigate the effects of urbanization, climate change, inequity and ecosystem degradation, while increasing their resilience, lowering their dependent on fossil fuels and becoming more sustainable overall.

In his position as Secretary General, Gino also ensures that ICLEI takes every opportunity to decisively influence global negotiation processes and increase the presence of local and regional governments on the global stage, in order to promote the sustainability agenda at all levels.

Gino Van Begin was born in Belgium and graduated with a law degree from the University of Brussels. Before joining ICLEI, Gino worked in Russia for seven years as an advisor and as team leader at the EU-funded Environmental Centers for Administration and Technology in Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg. Prior to that, he worked in Brussels for five years at the European Commission, DG Environment.


Bjarke Bjørch-Haderup
Bjarke Bjørch-Haderup
Selected Member, Danish Youth Climate Council

Bjarke Bjørch-Haderup

Selected Member, Danish Youth Climate Council

Bjarke Bjørch-Haderup is a selected member of the Danish Youth Climate Council (YCC), a council under the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities dedicated to representing and amplifying the voice of Danish youth in the climate debate, providing direct feedback to the Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities. Bjarke recently graduated with an MSc in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University, where he completed his thesis on the social acceptance of offshore wind energy, focusing on the involvement of local communities in planning processes. Bjarke will now devote his professional endeavours to advancing the green transition from the outset of his full-time career.


Dr. Hannah Bolz
Dr. Hannah Bolz
Local Green Deal Manager Biodiversity, City of Mannheim

Dr. Hannah Bolz

Local Green Deal Manager Biodiversity, City of Mannheim

Dr. Hannah Bolz studied biology with a specialization in ecotoxicology and subsequently completed her doctorate on the topic of "Spray drift of pesticides". During her professional career, she focused on increasing biodiversity in urban and agricultural areas. Since February 2023, she has been working for the City of Mannheim as Local Green Deal Manager in the field of biodiversity and ecosystems. In this role, she works closely with other city departments, associations and citizens with the aim of increasing biodiversity in and around the city. She also coordinates the participation of the city of Mannheim in the EU-project Urban Nature Plans plus.


Frida Brett-Smith
Frida Brett-Smith
Local Green Deal Manager Farm to Fork, City of Mannheim

Frida Brett-Smith

Local Green Deal Manager Farm to Fork, City of Mannheim

Frida Brett-Smith works on Urban Food System Transformation as a Local Green Deal Manager for the City of Mannheim, driving change towards a fair, healthy and sustainable food system. She fosters collabortion between actors across the administration, civil society, research insitutions, organisations and companies, and supports concrete action on issues like environmentally friendly food production; healthy and accessible food; fair and sustainable food chains; food waste and consumer education. Frida has a scientific background in Governance & Public Policy and holds a Masters of Science degree in Environment and Resource Management. She specialised in Global Food Challenges and Sustainable Food Systems with complementary insights into ecosystem services and biodiversity. Among other, she gained practical experience at the service agency of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation.


Karl-Filip Coenegrachts
Karl-Filip Coenegrachts
Chair of the Governing Body, Open & Agile Smart Cities

Karl-Filip Coenegrachts

Chair of the Governing Body, Open & Agile Smart Cities

Karl-Filip is Chair of the Governing Body and acting Executive Director of Open & Agile Smart Cities, an international cities and communities network supporting its members in their digital transformation journey with a strong focus on interoperability. He is also Head of the Data, Governance and Communities Unit at the imec research group SMIT of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (imec-SMIT, VUB). The main focus of the work of his unit is on governance and business aspects of urban digital transformation and urban innovation, including data spaces, local digital twins and personal data management. Before joining OASC and SMIT, he served in government for 24 years, working at the local level as Chief Strategy Officer of the City of Ghent and at the Belgian FPS Justice on digital policies and digital transformation programmes. He holds a master of laws degree, specialized in European and International Law.


Tue Damsø
Tue Damsø
Senior Advisor, CONCITO

Tue Damsø

Senior Advisor, CONCITO

Tue is a Senior Advisor at the Future Cities program at CONCITO. He is in charge of intiatives supporting local climate action, project management for the DK2020 initative in addition to his role as knowledge partner for the Danish Climate Alliance. Tue has a PhD in strategic energy planning and has worked on supporting local action on climate change for more than 15 years, combining insights from research and hands-on experience.


Dr. Sabrina Dekker
Dr. Sabrina Dekker
Regional Climate Action Coordinator, Dublin City Council

Dr. Sabrina Dekker

Regional Climate Action Coordinator, Dublin City Council

Sabrina is the Regional Climate Action Coordinator for the Dublin Metropolitan Climate Action Regional Office (CARO). Prior to this she was the Climate Action Coordinator for Dublin City Council, where she was responsible for developing Dublin City Council's new climate action plan - Climate Neutral Dublin 2030, which sets out Dublin City's path to achieving climate neutrality. She is the author of the book “Cities Leading Climate Action: Urban Planning and Policy”. She holds a PhD in Environmental Policy, an MPA in Human Security, and an MPP in Urban Development and Public Health.


Marcel Duffhuis
Marcel Duffhuis
Programme Manager Digital Twin, City of Utrecht

Marcel Duffhuis

Programme Manager Digital Twin, City of Utrecht

Marcel Duffhuis is an experienced professional who has made his mark in various sectors, including technology, sustainability, and urban development. With a strong background in both technical and management roles, Marcel has proven himself to be a visionary leader and innovator. His passion for promoting smart urban solutions and sustainable technologies has led to his involvement in numerous successful projects, consistently demonstrating his expertise and dedication. Marcel is known for his strategic mindset and his ability to turn complex challenges into achievable solutions. Additionally, he is a strong advocate of collaboration and knowledge sharing, as evidenced by his active role in various professional networks and communities. His most recent focus is on the development and implementation of Urban Digital Twins, innovative digital replicas of urban environments that enable data-driven decision-making and more efficient management.


Dan Kristian Kristensen
Dan Kristian Kristensen
Project manager, Aarhus Municipality

Dan Kristian Kristensen

Project manager, Aarhus Municipality

Dan Kristian Kristensen holds a PhD from Aarhus University's Department of Agroecology, where he specialized in sustainability transitions within the agrifood system, employing a science and technology studies approach. Following the PhD Dan Kristian Kristensen transitioned into public administration and currently contributes to food system transformation as part of Aarhus Municipality’s Climate Plan. In this role, he among other things serve as the Living Lab Coordinator for the EU Horizon-funded project, FoodCLIC, driving innovative solutions for sustainable food systems.


Jakub Mazur
Jakub Mazur
Deputy Mayor of Wroclaw, Poland

Jakub Mazur

Deputy Mayor of Wroclaw, Poland

Jakub Mazur has been Deputy Mayor of Wrocław since December 2018 and is responsible for supervising the Department of City Development and Strategy, and representing the City in international affairs. Under his portfolio as Deputy Mayor, Mazur is responsible for such things as urban planning and land use plans, architecture, construction administration, city aesthetics, monument preservation, economic development, sustainable development, and energy. Mazur has over 20 years of corporate and business experience working as a business consultant, and holds two master's degrees from the University of Wrocław, alongside an executive MBA from Apsley Business School London (United Kingdom). Mazur is also President of METREX, and his areas of expertise include strategy, branding, new business development, IPO, IT, e-commerce, and energy.  


Katrina Sichel
Katrina Sichel
Managing Director, Wit and Word Communications SRL

Katrina Sichel

Managing Director, Wit and Word Communications SRL

London-born and bred, now Brussels-based moderator with a degree in Modern Languages from Oxford University. An eclectic career path spans steel-trading in West Africa, business development in the post-Soviet states, delivering public-speaking and media training to private and public sector clients at an international film, television, radio and theatre facility, and co-running an award-winning broadcast PR company producing packages for BBC, Sky News, Channel 4, ITV and Reuters.

 

Since 2011, Katrina has been moderating events on diverse topics for all sorts of clients, from R&I, technology and digitalisation, to agriculture, oceans and maritime affairs; from environment, climate change, biodiversity and forestry issues to energy, mobility and transport topics; from financial governance to health(care). Alongside, until 2017, she managed the design and roll-out of EU multimedia communications campaigns for big agencies in Brussels. She speaks French, rusty Russian and a smattering of German.


Susanne Schilderman
Susanne Schilderman
Deputy Mayor, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Susanne Schilderman

Deputy Mayor, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Susanne Schilderman has a degree in Public Economics and Public Administration. Before being elected as Deputy Mayor of Utrecht in 2022, she was a member of the city council for almost seven years, advocating for better designed cycle paths, greener neighbourhoods and affordable housing. During her time on the city council, she worked on (social) housing policies, first as an advisor to the national government and later for the association of housing corporations.

As Deputy Mayor, Schilderman is responsible for Climate Adaptation, Circular Economy, Public Space, Finance and Economic Affairs. Her career has been shaped by improving welfare and implementing sustainable solutions for public policy. She is also a member of the standing committee on municipal finances of VNG, the Association of Netherlands Municipalities.

Schilderman works towards a just, ambitious and sustainable city, where there is room for everyone. Focus areas in her policies include expanding circular and sustainable initiatives so that they become the standard operating mode, applying to both government policy and business. Schilderman is ready to join forces and build a sustainable future that younger generations can live to see and enjoy as well.


Agnes Schönfelder
Agnes Schönfelder
Spokesperson EU Green Deal/EU Mission100CNSC, City of Mannheim

Agnes Schönfelder

Spokesperson EU Green Deal/EU Mission100CNSC, City of Mannheim

Agnes Schönfelder's main activities relate to her work as a senior expert for climate and sustainability policy, coordination, communication and project management. Her key role is to develop integrated sustainability and climate strategies and coordinate multi-level processes with stakeholders. As local spokesperson of the EU Green Deal and coordinator of the EU Mission "100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030", leader of the NetZeroCities pilot project "CoLAB - Committed to Local Climate Action Building", she is responsible for the coordination of the Climate City Contract towards a climate-neutral, sustainable and inclusive city. Agnes Schönfelder works as sector and thematic expert for sustainability and climate strategies and the implementation of a Local Green Deal as mentor city within the ICC-Intelligent Cities Challenge Initiative. As CEO, Agnes Schönfelder supports the work of the Climate Action Agency Mannheim (NGO).


Ludwig Bengtsson Sonesson
Ludwig Bengtsson Sonesson
Climate Adaptation Strategist, City of Malmö

Ludwig Bengtsson Sonesson

Climate Adaptation Strategist, City of Malmö

Ludwig Sonesson works as a Climate Adaptation Strategist for the City of Malmö focused on urban greening, nature-based solutions, heat risks and just adaptation. With a background in both adaptation and in futures studies, his mission is to anticipate the risks of the future and use nature to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected.


Wolfgang Teubner
Wolfgang Teubner
Regional Director, ICLEI European Secretariat

Wolfgang Teubner

Regional Director, ICLEI European Secretariat

Wolfgang Teubner is the ICLEI Regional Director for Europe and also the Managing Director (CEO) of the ICLEI European Secretariat. He is responsible for the strategic and economic development of ICLEI in Europe.
 
He has more than 25 years professional experience working with local governments on sustainable urban development, climate adaptation and mitigation, Local Agenda 21, waste management, as well as sustainable urban transport policies. During his career he has been involved in more than 150 European and international projects, including several research activities. In the period between 1994 and 1999 he has coordinated ICLEI‘s European Cities for Climate Protection Campaign and ICLEI‘s European Local Agenda 21 Guidance and Training Programme. From the start in 1994 he has been involved in the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign and has participated in the drafting of the Aalborg Charta as well as the Aalborg Commitments. Between 1999 and 2004 he has represented the Local Government sector on the European Environment and Health Committee and has been a speaker at many high level international events including the European Council of Ministers.


Serkan Yucel
Serkan Yucel
Expert, Ministry of Youth and Sports Turkiye

Serkan Yucel

Expert, Ministry of Youth and Sports Turkiye

Serkan Yucel has worked within government in the fields of finance, employment, communication and youth agencies for the last 20 years. In recent years, he has been working in the field of social inclusion of youth through sports. He is now in the final stages of obtaining a Master's degree in Recreation Management in the field of social inclusion with sports.


Céleste Rouberol
Céleste Rouberol
International Projects Manager, Agency for Urban Ecology, City of Paris

Céleste Rouberol

International Projects Manager, Agency for Urban Ecology, City of Paris

Celeste Rouberol is the International Projects Manager at the Agency for Urban Ecology, Department of Green Spaces, in the City of Paris. She holds a Master's degree in European Affairs and Public Administration from Sciences Po. She began her career as a Local Urban Policy Officer focused on Parisian underprivileged areas, and then moved on to working in a regional office in Brussels where she further developed her expertise in local EU affairs.


Ida Vad Svenningsen
Ida Vad Svenningsen
Green Agent, Centre for Green Transition, Municipality of Aalborg

Ida Vad Svenningsen

Green Agent, Centre for Green Transition, Municipality of Aalborg

Ida is employed as a Green Agent in Aalborg municipality. Here, her task is to engage the citizens in a green transition. Ida is concerned with creating momentum and empowerment among the municipality's citizens, so that they understand the importance of prioritizing sustainability in everyday life, without it becoming an unmanageable and opaque agenda to work with. Ida works with various forms of involvement and co-creation on a daily basis, because she is focused on securing democracy in the green change process. In order to achieve this, Ida has a number of real partners who both help to ensure the close relationship with the citizens and civil society, and who also help to ensure close interdisciplinary and inter-organisational cooperation. You can hear more about this in Ida's presentation during the workshop "Better together: local governments and communities collaborating for just, resilient cities.


Magnus Kolind
Magnus Kolind
Coordinator, Center of Health Promotion, Aalborg Municipality

Magnus Kolind

Coordinator, Center of Health Promotion, Aalborg Municipality

Magnus Kolind, Coordinator of the local Urban Regeneration Project (Kvarterværkstedet) in the Department of Healt & Culture, is presenting the unique method of co-creation and community engaging together with the local citizens of the urban and city near districts in Aalborg Municipality. The purpose is to create a well functioning and strengthen identity of the districts. For example strengthen the green initiatives, including creating protects together like urban gardens, recycling boxes, collective garbage days, upcycling ideas etc.


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