2nd Annual Meeting Speaker Profiles

Meeting Facilitators 

Ms. Coral Pasisi is currently the Regional and International Issues Adviser of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and was appointed to this position in 2007. Prior to this, she worked for the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). Ms. Pasisi has an academic background in earth science and technology, development planning and international environmental management systems. She studied at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, University of Queensland in Australia and Dresden University of Technology in Germany.

Ms. Pasisi’s professional career over the last decade has largely focused on sustainable development policy, planning and coordination at regional and international levels, particularly from a Pacific small island developing states perspective. This has included climate change financing issues as they relate to the global climate change financing architecture and associated conventions. Over the last three years, Ms. Pasisi has managed the PIFS climate change finance programme, established as a response to Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ request for supporting improved access to, and management of, climate change finance. Ms. Pasisi comes from the Island of Niue and can be contacted at coralp@forumsec.org.fj or coralpasisi@yahoo.com

Mr. Rex Stephen Horoi is the Executive Director for the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI) since 2000. The Foundation is a network of independent non-governmental organizations working in the Pacific and globally to foster self-reliance and sustainable development. The network has 46 years of history working with rural, upland and isolated communities throughout the Pacific region. In addition, the FSPI network works with three metropolitan NGOs based in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. 

Mr. Horoi was former Solomon Islands Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador to the United States and High Commissioner to Canada based in New York from 1992-2000. He was a high school teacher earlier in his career before he became the Director of the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) from 1988-1992. He is married with four children. His wife, Kate Watson, was a journalist.

Mr. Horoi holds an M.A. in Applied Linguistics at Sydney University, a B.Ed. from the University of Papua New Guinea, and a DipEd from the University of the South Pacific (USP). He has been the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) NGO Network Regional Focal Point for the Pacific Island States for over five years and has recently been co-opted to the USP Council, as well as to be a member of the USP Executive Committee of Council.

Keynote Speakers (in order of appearance)

Mr. Jeff Robertson is the Deputy Chief of Mission of U.S. Embassy Suva, responsible for diplomatic relations with Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu. He has more than 16 years of experience living and working in the Pacific. He previously served with the State Department in Bahrain, Togo, and Iraq. Mr. Robertson has a master’s in Public Administration from Harvard, and a master’s in National Security Resource Strategy from the National Defense University. He has four wonderful children and is married to the brilliant Pacific islander, Dr. Annette Robertson. He enjoys teaching leadership, and paddling outrigger canoes when it isn’t pouring rain in Suva.

H.E. Mr. Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia is Samoa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and is concurrently Ambassador to the United States of America and High Commissioner to Canada – posts he has held since September 2003.

Ambassador Elisaia was Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Corporate and Support Services in Samoa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for three years prior to his current appointment. He was seconded from Samoa’s Public Service to serve as Co-Director of the Samoa Office of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, a German Political Foundation for 13 years. He also served as Deputy Secretary for Samoa’s Foreign Affairs for four years from 1984 to 1988.

During his current tenure, Ambassador Elisaia has served as Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum Group in New York (2004-2005), as Representative of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the Bureau of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC from 2007 to 2008), and as one of the two SIDS representatives on the Transitional Committee that designed the Green Climate Fund in 2011. He is the current alternate member for the SIDS on the Board of the Green Climate Fund. He also serves as Samoa’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) Political Focal Point since 2006.

Mr. Tuiloma Neroni Slade is the current Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). Mr. Slade was elected to the position for three years on 20 August 2008 and was reappointed for another three-year term in September 2011.

Before taking up his tenure at the Forum Secretariat, Mr. Slade was elected to the International Criminal Court in 2003 for a three-year term, and served as Presiding Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II at The Hague in the Netherlands. He then went on to practice as an International Legal Consultant between 2007-2008.

Mr. Slade’s extensive diplomatic career from 1993-2003 saw him serve as Samoan Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations; concurrently Ambassador to the United States of America and High Commissioner to Canada. Preceding this, Mr. Slade worked as Assistant Director of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Legal Division in London.

From 1976-1982, Mr. Slade served as the Attorney-General of Samoa, following his roles as Parliamentary Counsel to the Government of Samoa and Principal/Legal Counsel and Senior Prosecutor for the Attorney-General’s Office of Samoa.

Mr. Slade is a recipient of Order of Samoa – Poloaiga Sili a Samoa (2005), Global Oceans Leadership Award (2003), Elisabeth Mann Borgese Medal for services to small island developing states and the oceans (2003) and Laureate, Elizabeth Haub Award for Environmental Diplomacy (2001). He has also served as chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States (1997-2003).

Mr. Richard Neves is the Financial Secretary for the Cook Islands Ministry of Financial and Economic Management and Alternate Governor of the ADB. The Ministry is the central public finance management body and is responsible for advising the Government on financial and economic issues, as well as revenue and aid management, Treasury, the Budget and statistics.

Prior to the Cook Islands, Mr. Neves has had significant experience in public financial and economic matters, working at all levels of Government in Australia. He has previously worked for the Commonwealth Department of Finance, the Australian Local Government Association, the International Union of Local Authorities, and the Australian Capital Territory Treasury. Mr. Neves also spent five years in Timor-Leste as the lead budget adviser in the Australian Government funded Ministry of Planning and Finance Capacity Building Project.

Mr. Frank Wickham is currently the Permanent Secretary (Acting) of  the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Solomon Islands Government.

Mr. Wickham started his professional career as a Tree Crop Agronomist with the Solomon Islands Government, joined the private sector before being involved in tertiary education. He took up project management roles prior to joining SPREP in Samoa as Capacity Development Advisor. He then returned to Solomon Islands to provide services to the Government and national stakeholders as a private consultant before joining the Government as Permanent Secretary in 2012.

Mr. Wickham has broad experience in rural development, policy development, strategic planning and capacity building, including strong experience advising Pacific Island government agencies and NGOs on a range of development issues. He was instrumental in establishing the climate change division within the Solomon Islands Government, developing the Solomon Islands National Climate Change Policy, designing climate change project proposals, and engaging with development partners. Mr. Wickham is also involved in and advises several NGOs and community organizations.

He is from Roviana Lagoon in the Western Province of Solomon Islands and holds a Bachelor of Agriculture (USP) and an M.Sc. (University of East Anglia, UK).

Session Speakers / Moderators (in order of appearance)

Mr. John Morley is currently posted as First Secretary (Environment and Climate Change) with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) in Fiji. Mr. Morley is a member of AusAID’s Pacific Regional team, working with a range of regional and multilateral partners on climate change adaptation, environment and disaster risk reduction initiatives.

Mr. Morley has been with AusAID since 2008, was previously posted to Afghanistan and prior to that worked on reforms to the AusAID-NGO cooperation program. Prior to AusAID, he worked for Australian Government agencies responsible for climate change and the environment and was involved with the Australia-China Climate Change Partnership, Australia’s First Pass Coastal Vulnerability Assessment and market-based approaches to biodiversity conservation. Mr. Morley started his career in New South Wales on a diverse range of practical environmental issues including coastal environmental protection, soil conservation and plantation forestry. He has degrees in Science and Urban and Regional Planning.

Mr. Dennis Wendel, Office Director, Regional Pacific Islands Office, brings a wealth of development experience to USAID/Pacific Islands.

His areas of expertise are capital and project development, water resources management, and democracy and governance, particularly in political transition, conflict resolution and anti-corruption. He earlier served as Senior USAID Development Officer and Deputy Team Leader for the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, leading all USAID development programs in the region.

He also headed the Rule of Law office in the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Bureau for USAID, which was responsible for support for judicial reforms, legislative strengthening and anti-corruption programs in the region.

Mr. Wendel was head of the Democracy and Governance office in South Africa and Indonesia and was responsible for supporting the transition to more democratic governance and developing free and fair democratic elections, as well as organizing support and providing guidance for the successful democratic transitions in both countries.

He is an avid scuba diver, loves to sail, and also rebuilds and renovates classic houses.

Mr. Adrian Ruthenberg is the Regional Director of Asian Development Bank (ADB) South Pacific Subregional Office (responsible for Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu) since 2011. From 2006 to 2010, he was Country Director of the ADB’s Mongolia Resident Mission. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Ruthenberg was Director of the Operation Coordination Division in ADB’s East and Central Asia Department. Prior to that, he worked as Principal Economist in the Office of the Director of the Agriculture and Social Sector Department at ADB and he was also Senior Economist of the ADB’s South Pacific Regional Mission. Mr. Ruthenberg holds Masters degrees in Economics (United Kingdom) and Engineering (Germany).

Mr. Denis Jordy is Senior Environmental Specialist with more than 15 years of experience in environment, water management, disaster risk management & climate change adaptation. He joined the East Asia and Pacific region of the World Bank in January 2013 as Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for the Pacific region. He has a multi-region experience in Africa, Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, France and USA. Mr. Jordy has worked for the Bank for eight years, and was previously based in Washington DC, USA and Dakar, Senegal where he developed a strong portfolio on flood risk management, DRM and climate change adaptation, especially in the urban and water sector. He holds a postgraduate specialization in Environmental and Water Management, a Master of Agronomy and a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies in Environmental Economics.

Mr. Knut Ostby is the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative based in Fiji with responsibility for programmes in Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. He has held this position since April 2009. Prior to his assignment to the Pacific, Mr. Ostby was UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Islamic republic of Iran from 2006 to 2009.

Mr. Ostby started his career in UNDP in May 1990 and since then he has held increasingly responsible positions covering various aspects of UNDP’s work including management, design and implementation of development programmes, disaster reduction, response and preparations, early recovery, evaluation and procurement. He has worked in a range of field duty stations including Afghanistan, Malaysia, Maldives, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Headquarters posts in Copenhagen and New York; in addition to Iran and the Pacific countries as mentioned above.

Prior to his UN career, Mr. Ostby worked for the Norwegian oil companies Saga Petroleum and Norwegian Oil Consortium, from 1983 to 1990. He held positions of Petroleum Engineer, Planning and Evaluation Engineer, and Engineering Manager.

Mr. Ostby holds a Master of Science degree from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim, Norway, and has conducted studies in development theory with the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Mr. Ostby was born in 1958 and is a Norwegian national. He is married to Anne Christine Ostby and they have three daughters: Marie Ostby, Heidi Ostby and Hanna Ostby.

Mr. Kevin Petrini has been involved in international development work related to environment, climate change and community mobilization in the Pacific Region since 1998. Mr. Petrini is currently working as the UNDP Regional Climate Policy Advisor for the Pacific based in Fiji. Previously, he worked for UNESCO as the interim Natural Sciences Advisor for the Pacific, the GEF Small Grants Programme with focus on Community Based Adaptation and the United States Peace Corps as a Technical Training Coordinator in Samoa. His development experience started with two years of service as a US Peace Corps Volunteer working in a rural village in Samoa where he learned the Samoan language and customs. Mr. Petrini holds a Masters of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, United States and a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, United States.

Ms. Marita Manley works for GIZ based in Suva, Fiji. She is a Climate Change Adviser working as part of the ‘Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region – CCCPIR’ programme. The programme is implemented in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and 12 Pacific Island Countries.

Within the programme, she is responsible for the regional aspects of the programme, information and knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, cost-benefit analysis training, managing the Tuvalu and Nauru components and is the gender focal point. An economist by background, Ms. Manley has worked for GIZ since 2010. Prior to this she worked for four year as an economist and policy adviser in the Land Resources Division of SPC and five years as an economist for the UK government before moving to the Pacific.

Mr. Exsley Taloiburi works as a Climate Change Coordination Officer with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). In this role, he has specific experience in coordination amongst donors and development partners, Forum Member Countries, and other stakeholders in the area of climate change financing. He has also represented PIFS in various climate change financing meetings both at the regional and international levels, including the UNFCCC COP negotiation and the Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund related meetings. Prior to that, he was a climate change policy specialist for the UNDP Office in Solomon Islands. He holds a Masters degree in Environmental Management from the University of Tasmania, Australia, and a Master of Science in Marine Science from the University of the South Pacific.

Mr. Taufia Patolo, Government Chief Accountant, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Tuvalu

Mr. Amin Budiarjo is Secretariat Manager for the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF). ICCTF is a national trust fund mechanism to facilitate and coordinate international and domestic financial support for priority climate change related activities. Since 2010, he has involved in the establishment, development and management of the ICCTF under the framework of the Indonesian Government – UNDP collaboration called PREP-ICCTF project. He is responsible for day-to-day operation of the trust fund, development of ICCTF investment windows, and also monitoring and evaluation of ICCTF funded projects. Prior to that, he served as a Technical Specialist and Manager at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), working on disaster risk assessment and disaster risk reduction programs in Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. Amin holds a master’s degree in urban planning and management from the ITC – Twente University, the Netherlands. 

Mr. Taniela Faletau is the Safeguards Officer of the Pacific Subregional Office serving as focal point for both Environment and Social Safeguards for the Pacific Department in its Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO) in Fiji. In this capacity he is responsible for achieving compliance of all projects administered out of SPSO. In addition to this core role he is the lead for SPSO in all environment and climate change related matters with concerns to project processing and country performance assessments. Mr. Faletau, a Tongan national, holds a Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia in Environmental Management and Climate Change Policy. Prior to joining SPSO, he worked in the Climate Change Division of the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Program.

Ms. Lisa Ranahan Andon is the Deputy Executive Director of Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT). She joined MCT in 2004 after nine years at the Pohnpei State Government. She earned her B.A. in American Studies from Grinnell College in 1992 and came to Pohnpei as a Peace Corps Volunteer the same year. She completed an M.A. in American Studies with a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation and concentrations in Pacific Islands Studies and Cultural Resource Management at the University of Hawaii, Manoa in 1999. She is an alumna of the University of Berkeley's Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (2005) and completed Unitec New Zealand's Pacific Conservation NGO Management and Leadership Post-Graduate Training course in 2010.

Ms. Anne Rasmussen, Assistant CEO of the Global Environment Facility Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa.

Dr. Le Van Minh is the Adviser to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for National Target Program to respond to climate change (NTP-RCC) and Deputy Coordinator for the Support Program to respond to climate change (SP-RCC) in Vietnam. He started his career as an engineer at the Department of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Water Resources  of Vietnam. He served as the Director General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Water Resources in 1994. He also had a career as the Director of Resources Development of Mekong River Commission Secretariat and Secretary General of Vietnam National Mekong Committee. From 2010 to 2012, Dr. Le Van Minh was appointed as the Chairperson of Global Water Partnership South East Asia. Prior to his present position, he was the Director General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from St. Petersburg University in 1986.

Dr. Graham Sem is a climate change adaptation specialist with 20 years’ experience in the climate change sector. He has coordinated and led projects providing technical, strategic and policy inputs in the role of climate change specialist to 14 countries in the Pacific region. He is currently based in the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, working as a Climate Change Adviser under the European Union funded Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States Project. He has taught at the University of Papua New Guinea and at Waikato University. He has served as a Scientific/Technical Adviser to the Pacific Islands Climate Change Assistance Programme, based at the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Apia, Samoa, and as a Senior Programme Officer at the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Germany. He has worked as a consultant to Pacific Governments, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UNFCCC and the Governments of Australia. Within the IPCC process, he has been a lead author and convening lead author since 1995 for Working Group II.

Dr. Sem has led the preparation and implementation of greenhouse gas inventories, climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation implementation programs across the Pacific and other Small Island Developing States. He has led a team of experts ranging from modeling climate change and sector specialists and undertaken and facilitated the capacity development of Pacific Nationals in vulnerability and adaptation assessment through an extensive range of training programs. As a Climate Adviser, he is responsible for delivering climate change adaptation, training and climate change resources including climate change finance to Pacific Small Island States.

Ms. Katarina Atalifo is the Sub-Regional Coordinator for the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) in the Fiji Sub-Region including Fiji, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati. She has worked extensively in the Pacific Region the past 20 years, as a biological control officer and entomologist with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. As part of her current portfolio, Ms. Atalifo works with SGP Country Teams to secure global environmental benefits in the GEF focal areas – including climate change – through community-based initiatives and actions. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Chemistry from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. She also holds a Masters of Science (Natural Resources Management) from the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom. 

Ms. Monifa Fiu is a conservation practitioner and researcher in local adaptation issues across the national, provincial and grass root community levels. Originally from Rotuma but working in mainland Fiji where she has previously worked with WWF South Pacific Programme and as technical consultant with the Fiji Climate Change Unit, Division of Treaties and Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This role involved reporting on climate change activities in Fiji under the Second National Communications to the UNFCCC amongst other community-based, regional climate adaptation initiatives she has been involved in. Her voluntary role as coordinator of LäjeRotuma, a community-based initiative formed since 2002, raised awareness and strengthened capacity for informed decisions about stewardship roles on Rotuma.

Mr. John Adrian M. Narag currently heads the Bilateral Assistance Division of the International Finance Group at the Department of Finance of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and is responsible for accessing, negotiating, managing, implementing, and monitoring loans, grants and other forms of external finance from bilateral sources, including debt for nature/development swaps. Concurrently, John is also the lead technical focal person on environment and climate change financing matters handled by the Department and serves as a direct liaison with the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission on aspects of climate finance and international climate change negotiations.

For the past 10 years, Mr. Narag was involved in economic research, international finance, bilateral/international negotiations, fund governance and administration, project management and implementation, public fiscal and finance policy and operations, public budgeting, sovereign debt management, foreign aid/Official Development Assistance, and public policy formulation and review. 

Mr. Narag served as one of the Advisors to the Philippine Representative to the 40-member Transitional Committee for the Design of the Green Climate Fund under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention. He is presently an alternate member of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Inc.

He holds a B.Sc. in Economics, majoring in Natural Resource Economics from the University of the Philippines Los Baños and received his Master of Public Administration from the National College of Public Administration and Governance - University of the Philippines Diliman.

Mr. Ravinder Singh graduated in engineering from IIT Delhi. Over a career spanning 40 years he has worked in the areas of financial services, manufacturing and consulting.

Mr. Singh was Director and Head of a consulting and training company which worked with clients to develop organisational capabilities. During 13 years with the company he worked with the top managements of several of the best known companies in India.

Mr. Singh has conducted over 500 programs and workshops for various levels of management, including programs for CEOs and top management in India, USA, Europe and South East Asia. He is also certified by Motorola University for its top management program on Six Sigma. Mr. Singh has been associated with the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) of the Quality Council of India (QCI) for 12 years, initially as a member of the Board and now as Head, Accreditation Committee.

Since January 2010 Singh has been one of the expert members of the Accreditation Panel of the Adaptation Fund. He has been a resource person for several workshops organized by UNFCCC and UNEP on the Adaptation Fund Fiduciary Standard.

Singh is a keen bridge player and has also played hockey, squash and golf extensively.

Mr. Appanna C P is currently the General Manager at the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’s (NABARD) Head Office in Mumbai, India. At NABARD, Mr. Appanna worked in various capacities across six Indian states and interacted in conceptualisation and project formulation that led to project funding with technical input and marketing strategy, while keeping in view domestic and overseas market demand and supply of crops. This interaction has led to enriching important scientific data related to cultivation, performance and marketing aspects. Furthermore, Mr. Appanna is directly involved in identifying potentials for future funding, as well as coordinating with various agencies in development initiatives, especially in high-technology sectors. He is currently responsible for supporting climate change related activities and NIE related coordination in NABARD.

Before his position at NABARD, Mr. Appanna worked as one of the successful Agricultural Field Officers from 1977-1983 at the Union Bank of India, where he engaged closely with local communities and provided technical guidance. The work also involved aggressive methods in canvassing for deposit mobilisation and maintenance of quality lending norms. Mr. Appanna handled the main arena of customer-banker relations which resulted in the adoption of deposit mobilisation as an integral part of present day functional rural banking. Mr. Appanna has a Masters in Agriculture from the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bangalore, India.

Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti is the Director of the Climate Change Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). She has more than 20 years of national experience in environmental impact assessment, monitoring and policy development, and project management in various aspects of climate change. She also has nine years of regional experience in disaster risk management and climate change. Dr. Pelesikoti is a Coastal Ecologist (Ph.D.) specialising in Coastal Systems Monitoring (Coral Reef, Sea Grass and Marine Water Quality). She is also an IPCC AR5 Lead Author (Small Island Chapter).

Mr. Alfred Nakatsuma first joined the USAID in 1986 as project manager for USAID/Bolivia. He, then, continued to serve various USAID missions: Washington, Guatemala, Indonesia and Philippines. Prior to his current position at RDMA as the director of Regional Environment Office, Mr. Nakatsuma served as Director of USAID Environment and Disaster Programs in Jakarta, Indonesia. Apart from working for USAID, he has also taught in several universities in Guatemala, Bolivia, Indonesia, Japan and Philippines. He graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, a M.A. in Economics and a M.Pl. in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Southern California. He enjoys swimming and playing tennis. He speaks five languages, including Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese and Japanese.

Mr. Bradford Philips is Regional Climate Change Adaptation Adviser with USAID’s Regional Environment Office in the Regional Development Mission for Asia. He has lived and worked in the Asia- Pacific Region for over 30 years, and was most recently engaged in the areas of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center and the World Bank. His previous tenure with Asian Development Bank (ADB) spanned 20 years. His last two positions prior to his retirement in 2006 were those of Country Director for Vietnam and Director of ADB’s regional Agriculture, Natural Resources and Social Sector Division. Mr. Philips has worked in most countries across Asia and has lived for a year or more in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

ADAPT Asia-Pacific Team

Mr. Lee Baker is Chief of Party for USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific, with overall programmatic and technical responsibility for program implementation. Mr. Baker is an urban development specialist and senior AECOM manager with more than 30 years of broad-based urban project formulation and implementation, policy development, and program management experience principally on major donor-assisted assignments. Prior to joining ADAPT Asia-Pacific, he was based in New Delhi for AECOM as Chief of Party of the long-running USAID FIRE-D project, which achieved a number of  firsts in South Asia in the financing of municipal infrastructure and participation of the private sector in the provision of urban water and sanitation services. For over 20 years, Mr. Baker has led project teams across the Asia region, including Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Mr. Baker holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Sarvat Maharramov is the Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific. He has more than 10 years of experience in project development and implementation, capacity building and training, and program monitoring and evaluation.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Maharramov worked as a Program Manager for AECOM International Development and Program Development Specialist for USAID managing large scale technical assistance programs in Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe.  Originally from Azerbaijan, Mr. Maharramov received his Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where he specialized in public management and policy analysis.  He also received his Master in International Affairs at Baku State University in Azerbaijan. 

Mr. Robert Dobias is Adaptation Funds and Capacity Building Team Leader for ADAPT Asia-Pacific project and has lived and worked in Asia continuously since 1978 when he came to Thailand as a US Peace Corp volunteer. He spent his first 16 years working in the villages and forests of Thailand, Nepal, and Lao PDR, and with policy makers, to promote the integration of economic growth and environmental protection. In 1994 he joined the Asian Development Bank as an Environment Specialist. He left ADB in December as Senior Advisor and Head of ADB’s Climate Change Coordination Program.

Dr. Peter King has been an avid environmentalist since undergraduate days at Melbourne University and has maintained an abiding passion for 40 years. He started his career in the Soil Conservation Authority in the state of Victoria and became a Land Studies Coordinator in Victoria’s first Ministry for Conservation. He spent some time at the Environment and Policy Institute, East-West Center in Hawaii and then set up his own environmental consulting company.

Following some successful work for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as consultant in 1984-88, he started working with the ADB in March 1991 as  Environment Specialist in the Office of Environment. He established a sound reputation as ADB’s leading natural resources management (“green”) expert, with responsibility for over 50 loan and Technical Assistance (TA) projects.

In 1998, he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science from Murdoch University in Perth, with a thesis entitled Integrated Economic and Environmental Planning at Sub-national Level in Asia.

In 2005, he took early retirement from ADB and is currently Senior Policy Advisor for the Institute of Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), heads the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) secretariat, and is Team Leader for the Adaptation Project Preparation and Finance of the Adaptation Project Preparation Facility for Asia (ADAPT-Asia) project.

Mr. Chris Manu has over twenty years’ experience in the scoping, planning, designing, managing, monitoring and evaluating of civilian and aid assisted infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region, with eight of those years involved in disaster management and reconstruction projects. He is currently working on climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation projects.

With civil and environmental engineering qualifications, Mr. Manu has directed, managed and evaluated the design and implementation of overseas infrastructure aid projects for a number of bilateral and multilateral organisations, including AusAID, NZAid, European Union, USAID, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank. Some of these projects also involved developing climate change adaptation procedures and infrastructure climate change designs and technologies for a number of remote Asia-Pacific recipient communities and countries.

Dr. Robert Kay is ADAPT's Climate Change Adaptation Capacity Building Consultant responsible for the development of capacity building activities in the region, including the design of this Meeting. He has 25 years’ experience in climate change impact assessment, climate financing, environmental management and planning through work in government, consulting and academic sectors. He has been working on climate adaptation in the Pacific for over 20 years, most recently in Tuvalu, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Samoa. He is an independent consultant based in Perth, Western Australia where he advises a broad range of intentional organisations, governments from national to local, CSOs and the private sector. He has an Honours degree in Geology (Wales) and Ph.D. in Environmental Science (East Anglia, United Kingdom).

Ms. Jillian Dyszynski is a Regional Technical Coordinator for the ADAPT Asia-Pacific Project, based in Bangkok, Thailand. She has six years of experience in climate change research, policy and finance. Prior to joining ADAPT, Ms. Dyszynski worked extensively in East Africa on the economics of climate change and strategic planning. In 2012, she was a member of a core design team for an environment and climate change fund (FONERWA) for the Government of Rwanda, supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). Heading its resource mobilisation strategy, Ms. Dyszynski helped secure GBP 22.5 million in seed financing for the fund. From 2008-2011, she was a Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute’s (SEI) Oxford Office, focusing on the economics of climate adaptation and low carbon development. From 2010 to July 2011, Ms. Dyszynski was seconded to the University of Oxford as a Research Associate to formulate Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy. Based in Kigali, Rwanda, her work focused on forest and tree-based systems, and mainstreaming climate policy into Rwanda’s national development plans. In 2006, Ms. Dyszynski worked as a paleoclimate research assistant at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) headquarters in Reston, Virginia, supporting original reconstructions of past climate change in the Holocene Epoch. She has a B.S. in Science, Technology and International Affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters from the University of Oxford.

Dr. Daisuke Sano is Knowledge Management Team Leader of ADAPT Asia-Pacific. He has been with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) since 2005 and is currently a Director of the IGES Regional Centre based in Bangkok. He has been engaged in various projects including climate change adaptation, biofuels, sustainable agriculture, and the impacts of trade liberalization. He has been working on the agricultural/environmental issues for 20 years since he started his career at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan as a technical officer. He holds a doctorate degree in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida.

Mr. Augustine Kwan is Knowledge and Outreach Manager at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Regional Centre based in Bangkok. He is leading knowledge management, communications, and outreach activities for the ADAPT Asia-Pacific project and the Asia-Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN). Prior to IGES, Mr. Kwan worked as Communications and Outreach Officer at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, where he designed and implemented strategies that increased the visibility of the APEC forum among governments, businesses and media. He holds a B.A. in Communication from Simon Fraser University and an M.A. in Political Science and Asia-Pacific Studies from the University of Toronto.

Ms. Jihyun Kim joined the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Regional Centre based in Bangkok as Knowledge Management Coordinator for the ADAPT Asia-Pacific project. She is supporting knowledge management activities of ADAPT Asia-Pacific, particularly organizing the project’s annual meetings and coordinating online communities of practice. Ms. Kim holds a Masters degree in International Development and Environmental Analysis from Monash University.

Ms. Unchulee Lualon joined the Institute For Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Regional Centre based in Bangkok as Administrative Assistant in 2011 and became Assistant Office Manager in 2012. She is managing contracts and all financial issues related to the ADAPT Asia Pacific Project. She has four years’ experience in preparing and negotiating contracts and coordinating with government line agencies and institutions. Ms. Lualon also has experience in project management in diverse areas, including freshwater ecology. She holds a Masters degree in Environmental Biology from Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.

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