Speakers [in order of appearance]

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
Heiko Maas
Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany

Heiko Maas was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs on 14 March 2018. Before that, he served as Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection in the previous government from 2013 until 2018.

Before he was appointed Federal Minister in 2013, Heiko Maas had been a member of the Saarland State Government and a member of the Saarland Landtag (State Parliament) since 1994. In the Saarland, he served as Minister of Environment, Energy and Transport between 1998 and1999 and as Minister of Economics, Labour, Energy and Transport as well as Deputy Minister-President of Saarland from 2012 until 2013.

Minister Maas has stressed the importance of addressing the impacts of climate change on international peace and security on many occasions. In 2018, he co-initiated the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, seeking to help enable the UN system to better respond to the interlinkages between climate change and peacebuilding, and to develop greater understanding and capacity to address climate-fragility risks on the ground.  As non­permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2019/2020 term, Germany has decided to introduce climate and security as a priority issue on the Council’s agenda.

“Climate change is real. It is having a global impact. And it is increasingly becoming a threat to international peace and security”. (Maas, 2019)

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John Kerry
Former US Secretary of State

John Kerry served as the United States’ 68th Secretary of State from 2013 to 2017. As America’s top diplomat, he guided the Department’s strategy on nuclear nonproliferation, combating radical extremism, and the threat of climate change. His tenure was marked by the successful negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Agreement. From 1985 to 2013, he served as a U.S. Senator representing Massachusetts, and was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to 2013.  He served in the U.S. Navy, completing two combat tours of duty in Vietnam for which he received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his law degree from Boston College Law School. Secretary Kerry is the best-selling author of A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America, This Moment on Earth, as well as his recently published memoir, Every Day Is Extra, his first memoir. He currently serves as the Distinguished Fellow for Global Affairs at Yale University and the Visiting Distinguished Statesman for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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Baron Divavesi Waqa

President of the Republic of Nauru

His Excellency the Honourable Baron Divavesi Waqa, born 31 December 1959,is the current President of the Republic of Nauru since 2013. President Waqa is also the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Minister for Climate Change. President Waqa was first elected to the Parliament of Nauru in 2003, where he served as Minister for Education under the Government of Ludwig Scotty.

At the 49th Pacific Islands Forum hosted in Nauru in September 2018; the Pacific Leaders agreed on an expanded concept of security to cope with threats the Pacific faces. Under President Waqa’s chairmanship, the Pacific Leaders endorsed the BOE Declaration. It is significant in its acknowledgement that traditional security approaches are no longer enough to address contemporary and emerging security challenges. In fact, through the BOE Declaration, Forum Leaders reaffirm that climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods and wellbeing of Pacific peoples.

President Waqa is a strong advocate for climate change at the international fora. His advocacy is widely recognised. He has addressed both the General Assembly and the Security Council at the United Nations, calling for a stronger UN response to the security implications of climate change.

President Waqa is married to Louisa Corallie Waqa, and they have 5 children.

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Claire Doole
MC and moderator, Communications coach and trainer.

A former BBC reporter in London, Brussels and Geneva and spokesperson for the UN, International Federation of the Red Cross and WWF International, Claire specialises in working with international organisations and companies. As well as an expert communications coach and trainer, Claire is a sought after moderator and Master of Ceremonies. She has facilitated panel discussions with presidential candidates, Vice-Presidents, government ministers, heads of international agencies and the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Holding British and Swiss nationalities, Claire speaks 4 languages and is based in Geneva.

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Prof. Maja Göpel
Secretary General, German Advisory Council on Global Change

The German Advisory Council on Global Change works on the science-policy-society interface. As Secretary General Maja Göpel divides her time between management, public speaking, pioneer engagement and networking as well as continued research on system transformations for sustainable development. Her personal focus are new prosperity models with an emphasis on the role of paradigm shifts as strategic leverage points, summarized in her book The Great Mindshift (Springer 2016). Maja Göpel is a scientivist that combines theory with practice and formerly headed the Berlin Office of the Wuppertal Institut and spent 6 years starting up the World Future Council, its Future Policy Award and the “Future Justice” programme with EU and UN campaigns. She holds a PhD in political economy, a diploma in media/communication and is professor at Leuphana University, member of the Club or Rome, the Balaton Group and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. She serves on several Advisory Councils and as the mother of 2 fantastic daughters.

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Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer
Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer
Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer is Director and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as well as Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change and Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Technische Universität Berlin.

Edenhofer is a leading expert on the economics of climate change. His main research interests cover the impact of technological change on the costs and strategies of climate change mitigation, public finance, distributional effects of climate policy instruments, scientific policy advice and the science-policy-interface as well as inequality research. Edenhofer was pioneering in giving PIK a social science research agenda providing rigorous and meaningful information on climate change mitigation to society.

Ottmar Edenhofer’s research influences political decision making. His advice is sought on the ministerial and international political level such as the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the World Bank. Among his many obligations he is member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech as well as member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Section Economics and Empirical Social Sciences. From 2008 to 2015 Edenhofer served as Co-Chair of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and contributed heavily to the shaping of the Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change Mitigation which provided the scientific basis for the Paris Agreement. Its analysis on the feasibility of the 2°C-target was groundbreaking and provided essential information for decision makers.    

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Prof. Johan Rockström

Prof. Johan Rockström
Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Prof. Johan Rockström is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam.

Rockström is an internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues, where he led the development of the new Planetary Boundaries framework for human development in the current era of rapid global change. He is a leading scientist on global water resources, with about 25 years of experience from applied water research in tropical regions, and more than 150 research publications in fields ranging from applied land and water management to global sustainability.

Aside from his research helping to guide policy, Rockström consults several governments and business networks. He also acts as an advisor for sustainable development issues at noteworthy international meetings, such as the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences (UNFCCC). Supplementary, he chairs the advisory board for the EAT Foundation and the Earth League.

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Didier Reynders

Didier Reynders
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and of Defence, in charge of Beliris and Federal Cultural Institutions

A father of four, Didier Reynders was born in Liège on 6th August 1958. In 1981, he obtained a degree in law at the University of Liège. As a guest lecturer at the universities of Liège and Louvain, he has never really left the academic life.

After presiding the Belgian railways and the Belgian Airways Agency, he was elected Deputy Chairman of the PRL (Liberal party), before becoming a Member of Parliament in 1992. On 12th July 1999, he became Minister of Finance and, on 18th July 2004, (concurrently) Deputy Prime Minister. He was Chairman of the Mouvement Réformateur (party alliance) from 11th October 2004 until 14th February 2011. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs from 6th December 2011 until 11th October 2014. He became Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, in charge of Beliris and Federal Cultural Institutions on 11th October 2014. He has also been Minister of Defense since 9 December 2018.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Didier Reynders is convinced that ambitious climate action is an investment into peace and stability. Following the consultations Minister Reynders had with SIDS and with African countries in the run-up to the election as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, he decided that the issue of climate and security should be an important priority of the Belgian mandate at the UNSC 2019-2020. Climate change, as a threat multiplier with a particular impact on vulnerable countries, deserves the international community’s full attention. This focus on the climate and security nexus is also a natural consequence of Belgium’s general approach, based on prevention and increased attention to the most vulnerable countries. Minister Reynders is also convinced that it is only through stronger cooperation and improved policy coherence that people can make the difference. 

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Shirley Ayorkor Botchway
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ghana

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (MP), was appointed January 10, 2017.

She is a product of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), the Pitman’s Central College, University of London and University of Westminster all in the United Kingdom (UK).

The Hon. Minister holds an Executive MBA, (Project Management option), MA in Public Communication, Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB), a Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising as well as a certificate in Marketing Management.

Before entering into frontline politics, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey ran a successful Marketing and Communications Company where she was a consultant for the Ministry of Tourism.

As a practitioner of public administration, she worked with various organizations such as Worldspace Ghana, the Divestiture Implementation Committee, Glaxo Group Research and Hodge Recruitment.

In the last NPP administration under President John Agyekum Kufuor, Hon Ayorkor Botchwey served as Deputy Minister for the Foreign Affairs, Information, as well as the Trade and Industry ministries. She is a fourth term legislator and represented the most populous constituency in the country, Weija, for two terms until it was re-demarcated. She is currently serving a second term, representing the people of Anyaa/Sowutuom.

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Abdulla Shahid
Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Maldives

His Excellency Abdulla Shahid has been the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives since November 2018, and previously held the same position from 2007 to 2008. Since being in office, he has raised the Maldives’ profile and image in the international community and broadened the Maldives’ diplomatic reach by opening new diplomatic missions in the US, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He participated in the negotiations for the Earth Summit in 1992 and in the Summit itself, and attended all sessions of the UN General Assembly from 1987 to 1994. He represented the Maldives at the preparatory meetings for the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993 and attended the Conference itself. He has also remained closely associated with the work of the UN Human Rights Commission. He led the Maldives delegation to the UN General Assembly twice, to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda in 2007 and also to the 11th Islamic Summit Conference in Senegal in 2008. 

H.E. Mr Shahid has attended numerous international meetings to raise awareness of the human impact of global climate change. The advocacy resulted in the adoption of a UN Human Rights Council Resolution calling for a comprehensive study on the adverse effects of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights. He also participated in the first ever UN Security Council debate on the impact of climate change on peace and security. 



Carmelo Abela
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta

A social democrat by conviction, Malta’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela (born 10th February 1972, Żejtun, Malta), is a strong believer in the capacity of the individual to make a positive difference. Standing out as a soft-spoken, driven politician, he has always led by example and conscientiously progressed through political circles.

Mr Abela has participated in a number of panel discussions related to security including, at the Munich Security Conference, 15-17 February 2019 as well as a side event of the Munich Security Conference organised by the UN Environment and German Federal Foreign office on “Climate Change and Security: Rethinking Multilateralism in a Divided World”; Warsaw Ministerial Conference, 13-14 February 2019; Dubrovnik Forum “Strengthening Resilience: the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Western Balkans”, 1 September 2018, Bled Strategic Forum, 11 September 2018; Globsec Forum, ‘Global Economy: How Fair and Free Can Trade Just Be?’ on 17 May 2018; Warsaw Security Forum (Intervention on 24 October 2018), key note speech on ‘Migration, Confrontation, Cooperation – Realities and Relations with the Southern Neighbourhood’, on 24 October 2018.

Mr Abela regularly attends security related international meetings and conferences. Recent meetings include, EU - G5 Sahel Ministerial Meeting 13-14 May 2019, Brussels; Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership , 14 May 2019, Brussels; Eastern Partnership for Minister’s Meeting, 13 May 2019, Brussels; Brussels III Conference Supporting the future of Syria and the region, on 12-14 March 2019, Brussels; 5th EU-LAS Ministerial Meeting, 4 February 2019, Brussels; EU-African Union Foreign Ministers Meeting, 21-22 January 2019, Brussels; EU-ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting –21 January 2019, Brussels;  15th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 5+5 Western Dialogue on 17-18 January 2019 , Malta; High-Level Forum Africa Europe: Taking Cooperation to the Digital Age, 17- 18 December 2018, Vienna; Palermo Conference for Libya: 12-13 November 2018 alongside the Hon. Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta); Summit on Libya, 29 May 2018, Paris (alongside the Hon. Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta);

Minister Carmelo Abela also participates in meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council, which regularly discusses climate diplomacy, recognising the implications that climate change has for international security and stability.

Mr Abela is married to Melanie and is the proud father to two children.

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Md. Shahriar Alam
State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh

Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam, M.P., Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh born was in 1970. He received his Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Dhaka City College and obtained an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.

Mr. Alam is deeply involved in politics and has been working as an active member of the Bangladesh Awami League since 1997. He has been enthusiastic to ensure effective representation of the new generation in politics and in the Parliament. He was elected as a member of the National Parliament for the first time in 2008. He acted as the Vice Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Climate Change, Education and Poverty Reduction; and Vice Chairman of All-party Parliamentary Group on MDGs, PRSP, WTO and Bangladesh Development Forum.

Mr. Alam is a successful entrepreneur and started his career in the Ready-Made Garments Industry in 1995. A prominent entrepreneur having interest in different fields, his main focus is on textile business that employs 25 thousand workers. 

A widely-travelled person, Mr. Alam visited all parts of the world even before joining as the State Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2014.

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Laura Tuck

Laura Tuck
Vice President for Sustainable Development, The World Bank

Laura Tuck became the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development in July 2015. Her portfolio includes global practices covering Agriculture; Climate Change; Environment and Natural Resources; Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience; and Water. She is responsible for lending, technical assistance, sector policy and dialogue, and analytics in these areas.  In 2019, she was named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy.

Before becoming Sustainable Development Vice President, Ms. Tuck was the World Bank’s Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region.

Prior to that she was Director for Sustainable Development in ECA (2002-2006) and in  Latin America (2006-2011) and then Director of Strategy and Operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MNA).

Ms. Tuck joined the World Bank in 1987 as a Young Professional, and worked as an economist in MNA and then ECA, and as Sector Manager for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Before the World Bank, Ms. Tuck worked for several consulting firms in agricultural and food policy, and on the faculty of Princeton University as part of a university research project.  She worked and lived in Africa between 1980 and 1987.

Ms. Tuck has an MPA from Princeton University in Economics and Public Policy and a BA from the University of California at Davis in Economics. 

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Alexander Carius
Managing Director, adelphi

Alexander Carius is founder and Managing Director of adelphi, the Berlin-based think tank. One of the leading consultants on environmental and development policy in Germany, he is in demand around the world as a speaker, facilitator, and advisor. He is a ground-breaking thinker, innovative designer, nimble strategist, and global influencer. He translates scientific insights into practical options for governments, non-governmental organizations, industry associations, and companies. He works with a diverse range of actors to develop, design, and implement international negotiations, agenda-setting processes, and consultations.

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Faustina K. Rehuher-Marugg
Minister of State of Palau

Faustina K. Rehuher-Marugg is the present Minister of State of the Republic of Palau, managing both domestic and foreign relations, overseeing the development and maintaining of strong diplomatic relationships, and pursuing foreign support to enhance Palau’s development objectives.

With more than three decades of experience in the development of the arts, culture and history, and environmental conservation of Palau, her knowledge and skills have contributed to the preservation, development and promotion of Palau's natural, cultural and historical heritage in the Pacific region.

Minister Rehuher-Marugg served as Minister of Community & Cultural Affairs from 2009 to 2012, following her tenure as Director/Curator of Belau National Museum for over 30 years. She holds a Master's Degree in Pacific Islands Studies/Anthropology from the University of Hawaii-Manoa/East-West Center along with an extensive academic background on regional and international matters.

Among many local, regional and international affiliations, she is a founding member of the International Federation of Arts Councils & Culture Agencies (IFACCA), the Pacific Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (PARBICA), and the Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA). She is also a founding board member of the Palau Conservation Society and the Palau Resource Institute serving as Vice-Chair (2016-Present) and Chairperson (2014-Present), respectively.

As a former member of the Palau National Commission on UNESCO, in chairing the Cultural Committee, Rehuher-Marugg’s work in the areas of culture and the arts is one of her primary focuses. Palau’s ratification of the Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage and the World Heritage Convention are products of her efforts. Palau’s Rock Islands Southern Lagoon as a World Heritage Site Mixed Site (nature and culture) is her important contribution to the field.

Rehuher-Marugg has authored/co-authored many publications. She is also a scuba diver, an artist, and a proud mother of two children with four grandchildren.



Mark Field
Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, UK

Mark Field was appointed Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 13 June 2017. Mark also took interim responsibilities for the Middle East and North Africa from March until May 2019. He was first elected as the Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster in 2001. Mark served on the Intelligence and Security Committee from September 2010 until March 2015. He was made a Privy Counsellor in March 2015 in recognition of his service on this demanding, sensitive parliamentary committee. Throughout the 2015 to 2017 Parliament he served as the Vice Chairman (International Affairs) of the Conservative Party, a role which included extensive diplomatic contact and work alongside senior figures in sister parties across the world. He has led parliamentary delegations to China, Japan, India, Bangladesh and the United States and has also visited many Middle Eastern states and European countries. Previously he served on the frontbench between 2003 and 2006 as an Opposition Whip, Shadow Minister for London, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Shadow Culture Minister.

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Amer Ahmed
CEO of Allianz Re

Amer Ahmed was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Allianz Re with effect from 1 January 2012.

Since 1 June 2010 he was President of Allianz Re with responsibility for the day to day operations of the company. 

In May 2007 he joined Allianz Re as Chief Risk Officer. Prior to this he was Chief Risk Officer and Member of the Board at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.

Mr Ahmed studied mathematics at Bristol University and started his career consulting at William M Mercer, subsequently serving in various actuarial and management positions at Odyssey Re. He joined Allianz Global Risks as Chief Actuary in 2002.

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Elliot Harris
Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Chief Economist of the United Nations

Mr. Elliott Harris is the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Chief Economist of the United Nations. He served previously as Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Office in New York of the United Nations Environment Programme, from 2013-2018. Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Harris spent 25 years as an economist at the International Monetary Fund IMF), working in the African and Fiscal Affairs Departments, including as IMF Mission Chief in Togo, Chad and Guinea. He served from 2008-2012 as the IMF Special Representative to the United Nations, in parallel to his role as Assistant Director of the Strategy Policy and Review Department.

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Prof. Wolfgang Ischinger
Chairman of the Munich Security Conference (MSC)

Ambassador Ischinger has been Chairman of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) since 2008 and teaches at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, where he is the Director of the Center for International Security Policy (CISP). He advises the private sector, governments, and international organizations on strategic issues. He has published widely on foreign, security and defense policy issues.

Ambassador Ischinger had a distinguished diplomatic career. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Federal Republic of Germany's Ambassador in London and from 2001 to 2006 in Washington, DC. He served as Deputy Foreign Minister (State Secretary) of Germany from 1998 to 2001, and as Political Director of the Foreign Ministry from 1995 to 1998.

In 2007, he represented the European Union in the Troika negotiations on the future of Kosovo. In 2014, he served as the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-In-Office in the Ukraine crisis. In 2015, he chaired the OSCE “Eminent Persons Panel on European Security”, mandated to offer recommendations on how to build a more resilient European security architecture.

From 2008 to 2014, he was also Global Head of Government Relations at Allianz SE, Munich.

Wolfgang Ischinger studied law at the universities of Bonn and Geneva and obtained his law degree in 1972.  He did graduate and postgraduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and at Harvard Law School, Cambridge/USA.

He is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and serves on a number of non-profit boards and advisory councils, including the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the American Academy Berlin, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), and Atlantik-Brücke. He is also part of the Supervisory Board of Hensoldt GmbH and of the International Advisory Council of Investcorp, London.



Margot Wallström
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden

Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström has had a long political career. At the age of 25, she was elected to the Riksdag (Swedish parliament). In the Swedish Government she was Minister for Consumer Affairs, Women and Youth from 1988 to 1991, Minister for Culture from 1994 to 1996, and Minister for Social Affairs from 1996 to 1998.

In 1999 she was elected European Commissioner for the Environment and during her time in office, Ms Wallström pursued the European Commission’s initial proposal for REACH, a regulation requiring manufacturers of industrial chemicals to test and register their products with the European Chemicals Agency before they could be used. To the public in Sweden she is also well-known for having her blood tested for hazardous chemicals as a way to emphasise the need to implement REACH.

After the 2004 election to the European Parliament, Ms Wallström was appointed First Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for institutional relations and communication strategy. One key task was bringing the European Union closer to the citizens, and democracy promotion was at the centre of her work.

After her term as European Commissioner, Ms Wallström was selected as the first United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. After this, she chaired Lund University, one of Sweden’s most renowned universities.

In 2014, Ms Wallström was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Her first term focused on a feminist foreign policy, disarmament issues, and the campaign for and membership of the UN Security Council. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Sweden promoted a climate and security perspective, which was later passed on to Germany’s membership in 2019. Following her continued appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2019, Ms Wallström vowed to bring democracy promotion, common security and promoting dialogue and cooperation to the top of her agenda.



Prof. Joseph Séka Séka
Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development of Côte d'Ivoire

Prof. Joseph Séka Séka has been Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development since July 2018, and is also Professor Joseph Séka Séka, Professor of Clinical Immunology and Biological Immunology. He was formerly Director of the Regional Centre for University Works in Abidjan (CROU-A), Director of the Living Environment at the Ministry of the Environment, and Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Family, Women and Children, President of the Ivorian Workers' Party (PIT), Pr Joseph Séka Séka is Member of Parliament for Abongoua-Zeudji-Yakassé.

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Idrees Zaman
Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs of Afghanistan

Mr. Idrees Zaman was appointed as the Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs by H.E. President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani on October 21, 2018. Prior to his current appointment, he was the CEO of Afghanistan’s first and largest peace-building and conflict resolution organization, Cooperation for Peace and Unity (CPAU).

Idrees Zaman is a political expert, researcher and a regional and international affairs commentator with over 20 years of organizational management and research experience. Over the years, Zaman has integrated new areas to the CPAU’s organization focus, including the establishment of a Media and Peace Journalism Department, and a CVE department in order to help formulate Afghanistan’s National CVE Strategy for the Office of the National Security Council. Zaman was also a co-chair of Afghanistan's CVE Working Group/Resolve Hub.  As the CEO of CPAU, his role involved liaison and continuous interaction with international counterparts and drafting concept notes, proposal, negotiations, signing of project agreements and implementing large-scale projects.

An avid reader with knowledge of Afghan history as well as the Indian subcontinent’s history and geostrategic dynamics, Zaman is deeply involved in studies around peace and security in Afghanistan and the region. He is the author of a number of qualitative research studies including studies on drivers of radicalization, insurgency, drivers of violent extremism, drivers of reintegration, and the civ-mil relationship.

Zaman has been an active leader in civil society and a key member of the Afghan Civil Society’s Joint Working Group. He is also a founding member of a consortium of Peace Building and Research Organizations called SALAH. He is fluent in English, Pashto, Dari, and Urdu, with proficiency in Turkish. He is a published writer on Afghan security, peace, and civil society issues.

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Ute Klamert
Assistant Executive Director, World Food Programme

Ute Klamert became WFP Assistant Executive Director for Partnerships & Governance in February 2019. In this role, Ms. Klamert oversees the organization’s partnerships and resource mobilization activities with governments, UN agencies, private sector and other partners.

Prior to joining WFP, Ms. Klamert served as Director General for the European, Mediterranean Region, and Central Asia Department with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), a position she held since 2015. In this role, Ms. Klamert, managed complex change processes and oversaw the strategic development for sectoral topics such as the humanitarian-development-stabilization nexus and fostered innovation for delivery modes in fragility, conflict and violence contexts. She mobilized a 25 percent budget increase in the 2016/17 biennial budget for GIZ operations in the MENA region and a substantial increase in EU funding for the Department. In this role, Ms. Klamert managed a budget of approximately 1 billion Euros per annum and around 5,500 staff in decentralized and multi-disciplinary teams across seven divisions and 34 GIZ Country Offices.

Ms. Klamert brings to WFP over 28 years of experience in development cooperation, partnerships, resource mobilization, strategy and operations, including 15 years in senior leadership positions. She started her career in the legal department with GIZ in 1991 and has, among other posts, served as Regional Director for Southern Africa and for South East Asia as well as Director General for the South East Asia, Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean Department.

A German national, Ms. Klamert holds a law degree from the University of Regensburg. She is married with two daughters, with whom she shares a love of skiing.

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Miroslav Jenča
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs

In January 2019, Mr. Jenča was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas working in the newly created United Nations Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations. Until this appointment, Mr. Jenča had served since March 2015 in the Department of Political Affairs dealing with the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East and West Asia, as well as the Decolonization Unit and the Division for Palestinian Rights. During his time at United Nations Headquarters, Mr. Jenča has continuously promoted integrated, multidimensional approaches to address complex challenges such as climate-related security risks and over the past 12 months briefed the Security Council as well as the Group of Friends on Climate and Security on related developments.

Prior to 2015, Mr. Jenča served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from 2008 through April 2015. In this capacity, he led diplomatic efforts to ensure equitable and effective management of transboundary water resources in the region. He was previously Director of the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, as well as Ambassador and Head of Mission to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Centre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He served as Ambassador and Representative of Slovakia to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union and Ambassador of Slovakia to Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia and in diplomatic missions in Ireland and Mexico.

Mr. Jenča holds a Doctor of Law degree from Comenius University in Bratislava. He studied foreign trade at the University of Economics in Bratislava; diplomacy and international relations at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and diplomacy at Hoover Institution of Stanford University.
Born in 1965, he is married and has two children.



Filippo Grandi
UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Filippo Grandi became the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on 1 January 2016. He was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve a five-year term, until 31 December 2020.

As High Commissioner, he heads one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Its 15,000-strong workforce spans 128 countries providing protection and assistance to nearly 60 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons. Some 88 per cent of UNHCR staff work in the field, often in difficult and dangerous duty stations. The organization's needs-based budget for 2019 is US$8.7 billion.

Before being elected High Commissioner, Grandi had been engaged in international cooperation for over 30 years, focusing on refugee and humanitarian work. He served as Commissioner-General of the UN Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, from 2010 to 2014, after having been the organization’s Deputy Commissioner-General since 2005. Prior to that, Grandi served as Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan, following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.

Grandi was born in Milan in 1957. He holds a degree in modern history from the State University in Milan, a BA in Philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Coventry.

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Chitra Nagarajan
Expert on the conflict in the Lake Chad Basin

Chitra Nagarajan lives in Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria, and is a journalist and writer who writes on climate change, conflict, feminism, foreign policy, migration, Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad region, race and sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. She has written for The Guardian, New Humanist, New Internationalist, This is Africa and Ventures Africa and appeared on Sky News and the BBC World Service. She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak, a book of narratives I co-edited with Azeenarh Mohammed and Rafeeat Aliyu, is published by Cassava Republic Press in Nigeria, the UK and the USA.

She is currently working on a book on the violent conflict in the Lake Chad Basin. Over the past 15 years, she has also been engaged in research and programmes in China, Guinea, Liberia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom and the United States. Her current research focuses on civilian protection, conflict mitigation, climate security, human rights (particularly those of women and girls) and building peace. She is an activist involved in feminist, anti-racist, anti-fundamentalist and queer movements.

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