Plenary speakers

Siim Kiisler

The Estonian Minister of the Environment.

Siim Kiisler is Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Estonia as of 12 June 2017. He is a member of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union. Siim Kiisler has been a member of the Riigikogu several times and from 2015-2017, he was the Chairman of the Constitutional Committee. He was the Minister of Regional Affairs (2008-2014), and from 2007-2008 he was Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Stewart Maginnis

Global Director of the Nature-based Solutions Group in IUCN

Stewart Maginnis is the Global Director of IUCN’s Nature-based Solutions Group and the Director of IUCN’s Global Forest and Climate Change Programme, with overall responsibility for IUCN’s work on Ecosystem Management, Forests, Water, Marine & Polar, Gender, Social Policy, Economics, and Business & Biodiversity.  He is also the Secretariat focal point for the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP). Stewart has 30 years of broad experience in the area of natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. He has also taken in a leadership role in defining and promoting the concept of nature-based solutions and he and his team are currently working on the development of practical guidance and standards for NBS approaches that can be operationalized at scale.

Patrick Child

Deputy Director General of DG Research and Innovation

Deputy Director General in DG RTD Research and Innovation, European Commission.  Policy for management and implementation of the EU’s €77bn research and innovation programme by the Commission services, executive agencies and other implementing bodies including legal aspects, IT systems, audit and business processes. Specific responsibility for research and innovation into clean energy technologies, and Commission representative and elected chair of the steering committee of Mission Innovation (a coalition of 23 countries committed to doubling research in clean energy by 2020).

Hans Bruyninckx

Executive Director of the European Environment Agency

Dr Hans Bruyninckx became the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency on 1 June 2013. In 1996 he completed a PhD in international environmental politics at Colorado State University and since 2010 headed the HIVA Research Institute in Leuven which specialises in policy research. Over the last 20 years, he has conducted research in more than a dozen countries, in areas including environmental politics, climate change, and sustainable development.

Shardul Agrawala

Head of the Environment and Economy Integration Division at the OECD Environment Directorate

Shardul Agrawala is Head of the Environment and Economy Integration Division at the OECD Environment Directorate. In this capacity, Dr. Agrawala leads the Directorate’s work on economic-environmental modelling, empirical analysis of environmental policies, trade and environment, and on resource productivity and waste. At the OECD since 2002, Dr. Agrawala has previously served as Senior Advisor to the OECD Secretary General, Co-ordinator of the OECD-wide initiative on New Approaches to Economic Challenges, Acting Head of the Climate Change Biodiversity and Development Division, and Senior Economist Climate Change. Dr. Agrawala has published extensively on climate change. He has led teams of international experts as Co-ordinating Lead Author (CLA) for chapters of the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Lena Ek

Member of the Board of Mistra Geopolitics

Lena Ek was appointed Minister for the Environment in September 2011. She was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004-2011 as member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). Vice chair Committee of environment and agriculture, Swedish Parliament Oct 2014–May 2015. Member Swedish Parliament Oct 2014-July 2015. Chairman of the Board of Södra, May 2015-. Chairman of the Board of Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) April 2016-. Member of IVA’s Forest Technology division, November 2016-. Coordinator for the European Spallation Source (ESS) December 2016-. Member of the Board of Mistra Geopolitics, April 2017-.

Eeva Furman

Director for the Environmental Policy Centre at the Finnish Environment

Professor Eeva Furman has been researching and developing governance of environmental and sustainable development for more than 20 years. She was the coordinator of the EU-project OpenNESS (Operationalisation of Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital concepts) where approaches, tools and a web based platform were developed by using  27 place based cases studies.
Much attention was paid on nature based solutions. She has also been involved in various national projects on nature based solutions. Presently Furman is occupied on issues around the UN
Agenda2030 as she is part of the writing team of 15 experts who produce the UN global sustainable development report for 2019.

Marjolein Helder

Member of the High Level Group for the European Innovation Council

Marjolein Helder, MSc. PhD. graduated from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, as a PhD in Environmental Technology, November 2012. She did research into a technology to produce electricity from living plants. She founded the spin-off company Plant-e to bring the unique and innovative technology from her research to the market. Marjolein is part of the High Level Group for the European Innovation Council and member of the board of directors of housing corporation Idealis. She is a well-trained and regularly hired speaker for a multitude of events, including different TEDx-events, where she brings across the message of sustainable electricity from living plants with great enthusiasm.

David Zetland

Assistant professor at Leiden University College

David Zetland is an assistant professor at Leiden University College, where he teaches on the commons and environmental economics. Since receiving his PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Davis in 2008, he has held positions in the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. He blogs on water, economics and politics at, has written two books (The End of Abundance and Living with Water Scarcity) and has published numerous academic and popular articles. David is now running a project — Life Plus 2 Meters — to help the public understand how climate change might affect their lives.

Victor Beumer


Victor Beumer got his PhD in Landscape Ecology at the Utrecht University (NL) in 2008. Since then he has been working at Deltares (NL). Deltares is an independent knowledge institute with approximately 850 professionals working on water, subsurface and infrastructure. Victor has been working on nature-based solutions , building with nature or green infrastructure with a focus on water-related benefits where he is much active within the scope of implementation. Last 5 years he has been focusing on urban areas. For the EU Water platform (WssTP) he chairs the working group on Green Infrastructures.

Vasco Ferreira Costa

Senior Investment Officer at Infrastructure Funds and Climate Action Division of the European Investment Bank

Vasco Ferreira Costa is the Senior Investment Officer at Infrastructure Funds and Climate Action Division of the European Investment Bank. He has more than 15 years’ experience in Impact Finance, including leading roles in investment origination and risk management. He’s currently working on the implementation of the Natural Capital Financing Facility, a joint EIB –
European Commission Investment Program using market-based instruments for financing the conservation, restoration, management and enhancement of natural capital. Vasco has extensive experience in financing environmental and economic sustainable projects in Europe, including natural capital, urban regeneration infrastructure projects, research and innovation, and microfinance.

André Movilla Mariño

Spanish architect and urban planner, AKKA Architects

In the pursuit of solutions for today´s global challenges, he arrived to AKKA Architects, international office based in Amsterdam, almost two years ago to expand his knowledge and achieve stronger skills in participatory processes with communities by designing spaces and contexts to foster interactions, innovation, and creativity in a scale range that goes from products to furniture, to interiors, to buildings to urban interventions.

Kęstutis Navickas

Minister of Environment of Republic of Lithuania

Kęstutis Navickas is the Minister of Environment of Republic of Lithuania. From 1998 to 2006 he served as the director of the Lithuanian Office of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe. Between 2006 and 2016 he was a sustainable development expert of the Baltic Environmental Forum.

Cor Lamers

Chair of the ENVE committee of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR)

Cor Lamers is the Chair of the ENVE Commission in the Committee of Regions  – Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy and a Mayor of Schiedam in the Netherlands. He has been a very active member within the CoR with the expertise mainly in environment especially air quality, but also in climate change and energy. He was rapporteur on two opinions concerning air quality: the Clean Air Policy Package (2014) and the review of EU air quality and emissions policy (2012). Together with the CoR President, he will lead a delegation of 20 local and regional political leaders to the COP23 meeting in Bonn.

Joanna Drake

Deputy Director-General in DG Environment

Joanna Drake is the Deputy Director-General in charge of Coordination of Resource-efficiency policies and instruments in DG Environment (ENV). Between 2010 and 2015 she was the director, of SME’s and Entrepreneurship in the DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW), managing a team of over 100 personnel and 5 units. In 2015 she served as the Principal Adviser and Chair of Task Force on The Collaborative Economy, New Business Models And SME’s in DG GROW.

Tarmo Soomere

President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

Mathematician and marine scientist, since 2014 the President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. His scientific interests are mostly concentrated to the analysis and mitigation of marine hazards and preventive methods of coastal protection.

He has received twice the national science award and state decoration of 3rd class White Star order for developing coastal science in Estonia. A highly unusual distinction for a scientist came from society: he was declared the Person of the Year in Estonia 2005 by daily newspaper The Postman for his contribution to the forecast of a devastating storm.

Julien Guerrier

Director of the European Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Entreprises

Head of the European Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Entreprises (EASME). He has been working for more than 20 years at the European Commission, mainly on industrial policy, international trade negotiations and corporate management issues. As representative of the Commission, he managed the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation in Tokyo. Before joining the Commission, he was at the French Ministry of Public Works and participated in an exchange of officials with the Japanese administration, where he worked for one year. Julien Guerrier graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in France and holds an MBA in international business.

Katrin Niglas

Vice-Rector for Research, Tallinn University

As a vice-rector for research Katrin Niglas is responsible for the development of R&D and doctoral studies at Tallinn University. She has a PhD in educational sciences from Tallinn University and a MPhil form University of Cambridge. She has taken part in various research projects on the fields of education, social sciences and humanities as an expert in methodology and data analysis and her experience in collaboration with international academic colleagues is extensive. Katrin Niglas is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Mixed Methods Research as well as of International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches.

Tiit Land

Rector of Tallinn University

Tiit Land is the rector of Tallinn University, Estonia. He has MA in chemistry from Tartu University, Estonia and PhD in neurochemistry and neurotoxicology from Stockholm University, Sweden. He has been a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, USA between 1994-1999 and a researcher and lecturer at Stockholm University between 1999-2006. Then he was elected professor in chemistry at Tallinn University. Between 2008-2011 he worked as the Director of the Institute of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of Tallinn University. He was first elected as the rector of Tallinn University in 2011 and re-elected for the second term in 2016.

Marina von Weissenberg

Finnish Ministry of the Environment

Marina is working as Senior Ministerial Adviser at the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Natural Environment/Biodiversity since 1996. Political scientist/international affairs, UNI degree and interested in social, political, human relations in her daily work.

She is the National focal point (NFP) for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) for Finland which means networking with different people and skills. CBD Bureau Member in 2000-2001.

Birgit De Boissezon

Senior Head of Unit at the European Commission - Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Directorate Climate action and resource efficiency

Her Unit defines and implements, supported by Horizon 2020, objectives and priorities for nature-based solutions which increase economic, social and environmental resilience and improve risk management, to re-nature cities, adapt to climate change, restore biodiversity and ecosystems, and valorise cultural heritage. Earlier EC positions related to strategy and policy, planning and evaluation of EU research framework programmes (FP).

Kalev Sepp

Professor of Landscape Ecology and Environmental Protection at the Estonian University of Life Sciences

Kalev Sepp has studied human effects on agricultural landscapes and biological diversity. His studies focus on environmental status and protection as well as regional studies from a geographical point of view.