Advisory Group

Stephen Ross

Stephen Ross 
Honorary Chair, Advisory Group, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities; Chairman and Founder, Related Companies

Stephen M. Ross is the Chairman and Founder of Related Companies. Formed in 1972, Related is one of the largest owners of affordable housing in the country and was recently named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World by Fast Company Magazine. Ross has received numerous honors for his business, civic, and philanthropic activities. He was part of the Board of Directors of World Resources Institute (WRI) and established WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Ross proudly serves on the Executive Committee as a trustee of Lincoln Center, as a trustee of New York - Presbyterian Hospital, a director on the board of Cornell Tech, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the New York Stem Cell Foundation. He is frequently recognized by peers and industry associations for his leadership. In 2013, he pledged to give more than half of his estate to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations through the Giving Pledge, a long-term global initiative created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates that aims to inspire deeper engagement in philanthropy and increase charitable giving globally. Mr. Ross graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Wayne State University Law School with a Juris Doctor degree and from New York University School of Law with a Master of Laws in Taxation. In 2004, University of Michigan renamed its business school the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and in 2011 the university awarded Mr. Ross an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.


James Harmon

James A. Harmon 
Co-Chairman of the Board, World Resources Institute; Chairman, Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund; Chairman, Caravel Management LLC

James A. Harmon is the Chairman of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, a private corporation seeded by the U.S. Government to promote the development of the Egyptian private sector, as well as Chairman of Caravel Management LLC. Jim is Co-Chairman of the Board of World Resources Institute. He served as the Chairman, President and CEO of the Export-Import Bank of the United States from June 1997 to June 2001. Prior to the Export-Import Bank, Jim was Chairman and CEO of the investment bank Schroder Wertheim & Co. He received a B.A. in English Literature from Brown University and an MBA in Finance from Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania. He is Trustee Emeritus of Brown University and Barnard College.


Carp;oma Toha

Carolina Tohá
Former Mayor of Santiago, Chile

Carolina Tohá presides over the Fundación Instituto Ciudad (City Institute Foundation), of which Carolina is the founding member, a recently formed civil society organization dedicated to the promotion of urban policies centered on people and emphasizing equality and sustainability. From 2012 to 2016, she served as the Mayor of Santiago, Chile. During her term, she actively encouraged policies in favor of a sustainable transit system, prioritizing public transport, pedestrian and cycling schemes. Tohá also acted as Co-Chair of the High-Level Advisor Group on Sustainable Transport, convened by the ex-United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon. Before becoming mayor, she worked as Minister of the Government’s General Secretary under the first Michelle Bachelet’s government (2009), as a Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2009, as Government’s General Under-Secretary during the Ricardo Lagos government (2000-2001), and as President of the Partido por la Democracia (PPD) from 2010 to 2012.


Dirk Messner

Dirk Messner
President, German Environment Agency (UBA)

Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner assumed the office of President of the German Environment Agency (UBA) in January 2020. He is also the Co-Director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Previously, he served as Director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security of United Nations University (UNU-EHS) in Bonn. Messner is an internationally recognised expert on globalisation / global governance, transformation pathways to sustainability, decarbonization of the global economy, sustainability and digital change, and international cooperation and societal change. He combines his research interests with teaching activities and is currently professor of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In his scientific career, Messner has chaired various different international research initiatives, including “The World in 2050”, a global research consortium on the implementation of the Agenda 2030. He has also been a member of a number of high-ranking policy advisory councils, including co-chairing the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Germany and the Science Platform Sustainability 2030. He has served as a member of the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Council and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. Prior to becoming Director of UNU-EHS in October 2018, Dirk Messner had been Director of the German Development Institute since 2003. Under his leadership, the institute developed an excellent reputation for its scientific and policy-relevant research on global sustainable development.


Frannie Léautier

Frannie Léautier
Senior Partner, Southbridge Group; CEO, Southbridge Investments

Dr. Léautier, Senior Partner at SouthBridge Group and CEO of SouthBridge Investments has long-standing global experience leading and transforming organisations in the private, public and non-for-profit spheres. She was Vice Chair of the Board, before becoming first Chief Operating Officer and leading the Asset Management business of TDB Group. Dr. Léautier had an illustrious career at the World Bank Group (WBG), including Chief of Staff to the President, and Vice-President. She was Senior Vice President at the AfDB. She has a track record in operational turnaround, transformational leadership, working with complex multi-constituency governance structures, and engaging high levels of government. Her work contributes to attracting innovative financing to Africa. Dr. Léautier founded two companies, is member of the WEF’s Regional Advisory Group for Africa, and is on boards of UN Foundation, Orca Explorations, AZA Finance, Norsad Finance, Institute for Security Studies (ISS), and previously AERC, Uongozi Institute, and Nelson Mandela Institute for Science and Technology. She has authored several books and articles and lectured at Sciences Po, MIT, Harvard, and University of Tokyo. She holds a Master of Science in Transportation, and a PhD in Infrastructure Systems from MIT. She also holds a doctorate in Humane Letters from North Central College and a doctorate in Law from Lancaster University, honoris causa. She is a member of the WRI Board of Directors and also part of the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities Jury.


Gino Van Begin

Gino Van Begin 
Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

Gino Van Begin is the Secretary General of ICLEI, the leading global network of more than 1,750 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. He has been with the organization for over 20 years. In his roles as Regional Director for Europe (since 2002), Deputy Secretary General (since 2007) and Secretary General (since 2013), he has consistently worked towards ensuring ICLEI’s quality as a not-for-profit, responsible, and forward-looking local government organization serving its members worldwide. He’s had the privilege of seeing cities respond to increased challenges by looking for local solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change, to increase their resilience, to become less dependent on fossil fuels and, overall, to increase their sustainability. In his position as Secretary General of a global network of cities, towns and regions, Gino ensures that ICLEI takes every opportunity to decisively influence global negotiation processes and increase local governments’ presence on the global stage, to promote the sustainability agenda at all levels. Gino Van Begin graduated from the University of Brussels as a lawyer. 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 St. Petersburg. Prior to that, he worked in Brussels for five years at the European Commission, DG Environment.


Harini Nagendra

Harini Nagendra
Director, Research Center, Azim Premji University (India)

Harini Nagendra is Director of the Research Center at the University, and leads the University’s Center for Climate Change and Sustainability. Over the past 25 years, she has been at the leading edge of research examining conservation in forests and cities of South Asia from the perspective of both landscape ecology and social justice. For her interdisciplinary research and practice, she has received several awards including the 2009 Cozzarelli Prize from the US National Academy of Sciences, the 2013 Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar award, and the 2017 Clarivate Web of Science award. Her publications include the books “Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present and Future” (Oxford University Press, 2016) and “Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities” (Penguin, 2019, with Seema Mundoli) as well as recent papers in Nature, Nature Sustainability, and Science. Prof. Nagendra writes a monthly column ‘The Green Goblin’ in the Deccan Herald newspaper and is a well-known public speaker and writer on issues of urban sustainability in India. She is also the author of a historical mystery fiction series set in 1920s colonial Bangalore. Professor Nagendra has been a Lead Author on the IPCC AR5 reports, and a past Science Committee member of DIVERSITAS and the Global Land Programme. She engages with international science and policy through her involvement as a Steering Committee member of the Future Earth Programme for Ecosystem Change and Society, and the Future Earth Urban Knowledge Advisory Network.


Jamshyd N. Godrej

Jamshyd Godrej
Chairman of the Board, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited

Mr. Jamshyd N. Godrej is the Chairman of the Board of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, USA. Mr. Godrej is the former Chairman of Ananta Aspen Centre (previously known as Aspen Institute India), Chairman & Trustee of Ananta Centre. He is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, India Resources Trust and Council on Energy, Environment and Water. He is a Director of ClimateWorks Foundation and World Resources Institute, USA. He is a Trustee of World Wide Fund for Nature – India. He is also a Trustee of the Asia Society, USA. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society. He is the Past President of Confederation of Indian Industry and also the Past President of the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association. Mr. Godrej is the Chairman of the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre. The Centre is housed in a LEED Platinum demonstration building which is the first green building in India and the greenest building in the world at the time when it was rated. The Green Business Centre is a Centre of Excellence for green buildings, energy efficiency, energy conservation, non-conventional energy sources, water policy, water conservation, etc. Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. manufactures and markets refrigerators; washing machines; air conditioners; office furniture; home furniture; security equipment for banks (such as safes, strong room doors, bank lockers, etc.) and for commercial establishments and homes; locks and latches, forklift trucks and warehousing equipment; process equipment for chemical, petrochemical, refineries and allied industries; precision tools for sheet metal, zinc, aluminium; real estate development. The Godrej group are leaders in home appliances, consumer durables, office equipment, industrial products, consumer products and services. Mr. Godrej is an ardent yachting enthusiast and has done extensive cruising along the west coast of India, the Baltic & North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. The President of India conferred on Mr. Godrej the “Padma Bhushan” on 3rd April 2003.


Jeff Olson

Jeff Olson
Architect, Planner, Author & VP, re:Charge-e

Jeff Olson is an architect, planner, entrepreneur and author who has been involved in greenways, open space, active living, and alternative mobility projects for more than 30 years. He has had a diverse career with national, international, and local experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. His major projects include the Grand Canyon Greenway, the Empire State Trail, the White House Millennium Trails Program and the NW Arkansas Razorback Greenway. Jeff was one of the co-founders of Alta Bicycle Share, which launched Citi Bike in New York and operated systems in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Toronto and other cities. Jeff started America’s first university course in bicycle and pedestrian planning at UAlbany, and is a frequent inspirational speaker at conferences, public meetings and other events. His trailblazing work in the field of active mobility was recognized in 2014 by the Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Jeff’s unique vision and leadership ability are important assets to projects ranging from large scale regional plans to site-specific projects and programs.


Lauren Faber O’Connor

Lauren Faber
Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Los Angeles

Lauren is the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. In her role she is driving the implementation of LA’s Green New Deal, a global model for local action to confront the climate crisis. L.A.’s Green New Deal is guided by four key principles: a commitment to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement; a promise to deliver environmental justice and equity; a plan to ensure every Angeleno has the ability to join the green economy; and a determination to lead by example within City government. To deliver accelerated leadership on sustainability, Lauren also builds collaboration including through C40, an international network of cities raising the bar on climate action chaired by Mayor Garcetti and Climate Mayors, a coalition of over 400 US Mayors committed to US leadership on climate change that was co-founded by Mayor Garcetti. Prior to joining the Garcetti Administration, Lauren served for four years as the West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco. In 2010 Lauren was appointed Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Programs at the California Environmental Protection Agency, where she was dedicated to the design and implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32. Prior to her work at CalEPA, Lauren served as senior director for Lighthouse Consulting Group in Washington, D.C. From 2005- 2009 Lauren served at the British Embassy as Senior Policy Advisor for climate change and energy.


Li Xiaojiang

Li Xiaojiang
Former President, China Academy of Urban Planning and Design

Li Xiaojiang is a professor-level senior urban planner and an expert of the State Council who enjoys special government allowance. He was previously president of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design. Li was deeply involved in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei collaborative development strategy study; long-term study of the Pearl River Delta region; and planning and construction work for cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen. He presided over the completion of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and other mega-city master plans and strategic planning studies; as well as urban agglomeration planning works including for the Pearl River Delta. He has won 6 gold, silver, and bronze awards for national excellence in engineering survey and design, and 12 first-class awards for national excellence in planning and design. In recent years, he directed and participated in Chinese Academy of Engineering reports: "Study on the Development Strategy of New Urbanization with Chinese Characteristics," "Study on the Urbanization of Chinese Counties" and "Study on the Sustainable Development Strategy of China's Urban Construction.” For the China Finance Office: "Study on the Policy and Model of New Urbanization.” Internationally, he has led major reports and consulting projects such as the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) Special Policy Studies "Urbanization of Ecological Civilization" in cooperation with the Netherlands and Germany, and “The Major Green Technology Innovation and Implementation Mechanism” (Phase I and Phase II) with World Economic Forum, and the Energy Foundation's "Study on the application of green energy-saving technologies in China's urban renewal."


Majora Carter

Majora Carter 
Real Estate Developer, Majora Carter Group

Majora Carter is a real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant, MacArthur Fellow and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous economic developments, technology, green-infrastructure projects, policies and job training and placement systems. Carter combines her corporate consulting practice focused on talent-retention and applies it to reducing Brain Drain in American low-status communities. She has firsthand experience pioneering sustainable economic development in one of America's most storied low-status communities: The South Bronx. Carter creates vision, strategies and developments that transform properties in low-status communities into thriving mixed use economic developments. Her approach harnesses capital flows resulting from American re-urbanization among all ages, races, and income levels, to help increase wealth building opportunities across demographics left out of this historic financial tide change. Carter launched StartUp Box, a ground-breaking tech social enterprise that provided entry-level tech jobs in the South Bronx, operating it from 2014- 2018. She founded and led Sustainable South Bronx, an internationally acclaimed project-based environmental and community development organization from 2001-2008.


Mark Watts

Mark Watts 
Executive Director, C40 Cities Cities Climate Leadership Group

Mark has served as Executive Director of C40 Cities since December 2013, during which time the organization has grown from 63 to 97 of the world's greatest cities, and from 40 to over 250 staff across the globe. From inception, C40’s mission has been to be a high ambition leadership group, driving the world to avoid a climate crisis through the actions and leadership of the mayors of the world’s leading cities. In 2016, C40 became the first major organization to insist that a 1.5-degree target was essential rather than aspirational (through our Deadline 2020 program). Prior to joining C40 Cities, Mark was Director at pioneering engineering and design firm, Arup, and before that was a senior adviser to the Mayor of London, in which role the London Evening Standard described him as “the intellectual force behind Ken Livingstone’s drive to make London a leading light of the battle against global warming. He reports to C40 Chairperson and Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, and C40 Board President, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He believes that work should be fun, and that there is always time for music, narrowboats, and places you can get to by bicycle.


Martha Delgado

Martha Delgado
Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ms. Delgado Peralta is the Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is a nationally and internationally recognized environmental leader. Ms. Delgado has 29 years of professional experience in various areas of the Mexican public administration, and leading non-profit organizations dedicated to environmentalism and human rights. From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she promotes a multilateral and feminist foreign policy agenda, aligning the global economic impulse strategy to achieve the attraction of investment and the promotion of Mexico abroad. Ms. Delgado’s work from 2006 to 2012 as Minister of Environment in the government of Mexico City stands out, where she led important projects in environmental matters that gave the City global leadership. She was also an independent Congresswoman in the local Mexico City’s Congress from 2003 to 2006.Vice Minister Delgado is currently the President of the first UN-Habitat Assembly (2019-2023).


Mitch Jackson

Mitch Jackson
Vice President, Environmental Affairs, and Chief Sustainability Officer, FedEx

As Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for FedEx Corporation, Mitch Jackson leads the strategic direction and provides vision for all aspects of the company’s sustainability initiatives and environmental innovations and technologies. Jackson helped envision and pioneer the implementation of hybrid and electric vehicles in the FedEx fleet, and ultimately in commercial vehicles. He was also instrumental in successfully securing first-ever national fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas requirements for commercial vehicles, He championed the first FedEx solar energy system in 2005, with it being California’s then largest corporate rooftop array. He was also the key driver for the establishment of the first FedEx sustainability goals and has responsibility for current and future goals. In 2012 the British newspaper The Guardian named him as one of the top 15 sustainable business executives on Twitter. He was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders by Trust Across America for four consecutive years. In 2014 Green Fleet Magazine named Jackson a Sustainability All Star for his contributions to environmental sustainability. And, in 2009 Ethisphere Institute named Jackson as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics. Jackson is currently a member of the Keystone Policy Center’s Board of Trustees, executive committee and Energy Board, and a board member of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. He has also served as environmental juror for the Heinz Awards.


Parks Tau

Parks Tau
Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) of Economic Development; Former President, UCLG

Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau is currently a Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) of Economic Development. He has also served as the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for South Africa. He has more than 20 years in portfolios in local government. Some of these portfolios include: Member of the World Resource Institutes and Coalition for Urban Transition, President of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), President of the South African Local Government Association, Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Member of the Mayoral Committee of the City of Johannesburg, Chairperson of the South African Cities Network, Chairperson of the Urban Development Committee, of the then Southern Local Metropolitan Council (SLMC), Council Member of the City of Johannesburg. Deputy Minister Tau was born and raised in Orlando West, Soweto, and became active in student politics. In the 1980s, he played a leadership role as SRC President at Pace Commercial College and President of the Soweto Youth Congress. His introduction into resistance politics coincided with the height of government repression and he was repeatedly detained during the national state of emergency. Academically, he completed his studies in Public Management at Regenesys Business School and holds a University of London Master's Degree in Public Policy and Management. Tau has served in the African National Congress' (ANC) Provincial Executive Committee since 2009 and was elected as the Chairperson of the Greater Johannesburg Region in October 2011. Tau continues his commitment to South Africa as an equitable, nonracial, prosperous, non-sexist, and just home for all – particularly its youth and women – through the ongoing implementation of all developmental programs.


Roberto Bezerra

Roberto Claudio Rodrigues Bezerra
Former Mayor of Fortaleza, Brazil

Roberto Claudio is a physician. He graduated from the Federal University of Ceará and holds master’s and PhD Degrees in Public Health from the University of Arizona (USA). His main interest in the administration of Fortaleza has been planning and promoting public policies that can improve citizens access to quality education, health and mobility with a focus on reducing social inequality in the city. He was first elected mayor of Fortaleza for a four-year term in 2013, when all of Fortaleza’s primary care units were refurbished. In 2016, he was re-elected. Urban mobility, education, health care and early childhood education have been flagships of his administrations, gaining national and international recognitions. Mr. Bezerra was also elected State Representative between 2006 and 2012.


Robin Chase
Co-Founder and Former CEO, Zipcar

Robin Chase is a transportation entrepreneur. She is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the world’s leading carsharing network; as well as co-founder of Veniam, a network company that moves terabytes of data between vehicles and the cloud. She has recently co-founded her first nonprofit, NUMO, a global alliance to channel the opportunities presented by new urban mobility technologies to build cities that are sustainable and just. Her recent book is Peers Inc: How People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism. She sits on the Boards of the World Resources Institute and Tucows and serves on the Dutch multinational DSM’s Sustainability Advisory Board. In the past, she served on the boards of Veniam and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the French National Digital Agency, the National Advisory Council for Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the US Department of Commerce, the Intelligent Transportations Systems Program Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the OECD’s International Transport Forum Advisory Board, the Massachusetts Governor’s Transportation Transition Working Group, and Boston Mayor’s Wireless Task Force. Robin lectures widely, has been frequently featured in the major media, and has received many awards in the areas of innovation, design, and environment, including the prestigious Urban Land Institute’s Nichols Prize as Urban Visionary, Time 100 Most Influential People, Fast Company Fast 50 Innovators, and BusinessWeek Top 10 Designers. Robin graduated from Wellesley College and MIT's Sloan School of Management, was a Harvard University Loeb Fellow, and received an honorary Doctor of Design from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


RohitAggarwala

Rohit T. “Rit“ Aggarwala 
Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of Environmental Protection of New York City

Rohit “Rit” serves as the Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of Environmental Protection of New York City. He was Head of Urban Systems at Sidewalk Labs. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He recently chaired the Regional Plan Association’s five-year effort to develop a Fourth Regional Plan for the New York metropolitan area. Previously, Rit spent five years at Bloomberg Philanthropies. He headed the sustainability consulting practice at Bloomberg Associates, serving city governments. He was Special Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg, Chair of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and led its transformation to become a global leader. He also inaugurated Bloomberg Philanthropies’ environment program. From 2006 to 2010, Rit served as Director of New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, creating and implementing “PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York.” Prior to joining City Hall, he was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Rit holds a BA, MBA, and PhD from Columbia University, and an MA from Queen’s University in Ontario. Rit was a featured speaker with the World Resources Report Seminar Series, discussing Sidewalk Labs and the Fourth Urban Revolution: how big data and new technologies can help shape cities.


Sameh Wahba

Sameh Wahba
Regional Director for Sustainable Development in Europe and Central Asia (ECA), World Bank

Sameh Wahba was recently appointed as the Regional Director for Sustainable Development in Europe and Central Asia for World Bank. For more than six years he was the Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, based in Washington, D.C. The Global Practice, which also covers territorial development, geospatial and results-based-financing issues, has a portfolio of close to $30bn in commitments in investment project, program-for-results and development policy lending. Wahba previously served as Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience at the World Bank Group’s Social, Urban Rural, and Resilience Global Practice. He oversaw formulation of the Bank’s global level strategy, design, and delivery of all lending, technical assistance, policy advisory activities, and partnerships. He has over 25 years’ experience in urban development, land, and housing, infrastructure, and sustainable development, and has led Bank programs focused on Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Middle East. Prior to joining the Bank in 2004, he worked at the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam and at the Harvard Center for Urban Development Studies. Wahba holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in urban planning from Harvard University, and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University. He speaks Arabic, French, English, and Portuguese. He co-authored the World Bank’s flagship publications on “Regenerating Urban Land: A Practitioner’s Guide to Leveraging Private Investment” and “The Hidden Wealth of Cities: Creating, Financing, and Managing Public Spaces”, and the “Culture in City Reconstruction and Recovery” Position Paper jointly with UNESCO. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization.


Shirley Rodrigues

Shirley Rodrigues 
Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, London

Shirley Rodrigues was appointed as London Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy in October 2016. Previously she oversaw a global climate change grants portfolio at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) developing their cities and climate strategy and has devised and delivered new environmental policies and programs in London, nationally and internationally. She is now working to deliver the Mayor’s vision of making London greener, cleaner and healthier through implementing his London Environment Strategy. This includes ambitious programs to reduce air pollution across London including the implementation of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, tackle the climate and ecological emergency and help the capital become a zero- waste city. A key focus is on ensuring London’s economic and social recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 is a green and fair one.


Vera Rodenhoff

Vera Rodenhoff
Head of Division, Head of the Division for International Cooperation on Climate and Energy, Implementing Initiatives at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)

Vera Rodenhoff is Head of Division in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. She leads a team responsible for strategic issues of international cooperation and implementing initiatives in the areas of international climate protection and the global energy transition. Examples for aforementioned initiatives include the Powering Past Coal Alliance, the Breakthrough Agenda and the Leadership for Urban Climate Investment. The overall goal of Vera’s team is to align international energy cooperation with the Paris Climate Agreement and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C through cooperation and ambitious action. Prior to that Vera held different positions in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Ministry of Environment), until spring of 2022 as Head of Division for international cooperation on environment, energy and cities and cooperation with OECD-Countries and the OECD. Vera’s previous positions in the Ministry of Environment were Head of Division of International Affairs and Protocol in the Environment Minister’s staff for the Environment Ministers Norbert Röttgen, Peter Altmaier and Barbara Hendricks and Head of Cabinet and Personal Secretary to the Federal Minister of Environment Sigmar Gabriel as well as policy advisor on international legal affairs in the Ministry of Environment. Before entering the Ministry of Environment in 2005, Vera worked inter alia: as a lawyer advising the German government on European and international environmental law and policy issues, as an associate for the think tank Ecologic Institut and as researcher at the Chair of Prof. Dr. Ingolf Pernice for Public Law, International Public Law and European Law at the Humboldt University Berlin. Prior to that, she worked for an international law firm and as a consultant for UNESCO in Paris. Vera holds a doctorate in international and European environmental law from the Humboldt University Berlin, focusing on the role of the EU and its member states in international environmental regimes as well as a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the German first and Second State Exams in Law.


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