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18 January 2021 - 21 January 2021
Brussels, Belgium
Water and Beyond

Monday, 18 January 2021

List of speakers

Janez Lenarčič

European Commission
Commissioner for Crisis Management

Mr. Janez Lenarčič is currently serving as Commissioner for Crisis Management in the European Commission, which took up the mandate in December 2019. In this capacity, he is responsible for EU civil protection as well as humanitarian aid, with an overall focus on ensuring that the European Commission has the tools and the capacity to respond swiftly and efficiently whenever the EU is called upon, whether in Europe or elsewhere in the world.

Prior to this assignment, Mr Lenarcic has served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the EU in Brussels from 2016. Before and as of 2014, he held the Secretary of State position in the cabinet of the Slovenian Prime Minister. His previous experience also entails the position of Director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw from 2008 to 2014. He also served as Secretary of State for European Affairs, including representing Slovenia during the Lisbon Treaty negotiations in 2007 and later representing the Slovenian EU Council Presidency to the European Parliament in 2008.

In 2002 and 2003 he held the position of State Secretary in the cabinet of the Slovenian Prime Minister, after which he started to serve as Slovenian ambassador to the OSCE. In 2005, he was also Chairman of the Permanent Council of the OSCE in Vienna. In 2000 he started serving as adviser to the foreign minister and the following year he became the diplomatic adviser to the then Slovenian Prime Minister. Between 1994 and 1999 he was posted to Slovenia’s Permanent Representation to the UN in New York, where he also served as the alternate representative of Slovenia on the UN Security Council.

Mr. Lenarčič is the recipient of France's highest award as Officier de la Legion d'Honneur. Next to his native Slovenian his languages are English, French and Serbian. Mr. Lenarčič holds a degree in international law from Ljubljana University.

Marjeta Jager

European Commission
Deputy Director-General, Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA)

Marjeta Jager is currently Deputy Director General for the Directorate-General for International Partnership (DG INTPA). Ms Jager has been working in the European Commission since 2005, starting as Director for Security in DG Energy and Transport and later becoming Director for international energy and transport files and coordination, as well as being Head of Cabinet of the Transport Commissioner. Before joining the Commission, Ms Jager worked for more than a decade on the accession of Slovenia to the EU for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and she was the first Coreper I Ambassador of Slovenia to the EU.

Serigne Mbaye Thiam

Government of Senegal
Minister of Water and Sanitation

Since 7 April 2019, Serigne Mbaye Thiam has been serving as Minister of Water and Sanitation. 

He also served as Minister of Higher Education and Research, Government Spokesman from April 4, 2012 to October 29, 2012 and Minister of National Education from October 29, 2012 to April 7, 2019. 

In May 2018, he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education.  Prior to that, from February 2014 to December 2015, he chaired the Governance, Ethics, Risk and Finance Committee of the Global Partnership for Education and was a member of the Board of Directors and the Coordination Committee. He has also been as President of the CONFEMEN (Conference of Education Ministers of Francophone countries).

Among other positions, he was Administrative and Financial Director of the Autonomous Port of Dakar and worked as a consultant in management, organisation, finance and accounting. He was Regional Councillor and Vice-President of the Regional Council of Kaolack, Deputy, Vice-President of the Economic and Finance Commission and General Rapporteur of the Budget of the National Assembly in 2001.  

Completing his elementary and secondary education in Senegal, he pursued his higher education in France, graduating with a Diploma of Higher Commercial, Administrative and Financial Studies from the Rouen Business School and a Diploma of Chartered Accountancy from the French State. 

As part of his associative commitment, he was General Treasurer of the Senegalese Football Federation; he was also the initiator and first President of the Senegalese National Football Supporters' Club.

Dr. Stanislav Raščan

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia
State Secretary, acting Minister for Development

Dr Raščan started his career as a medical doctor (general practitioner) in Slovenia and post-doctoral research fellow in The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada in 1992. As a career diplomat, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1994. The following year, he was appointed as Deputy Head at Slovenian Embassy in Tokio, Japan and, in 2000, as Secretary General at the MFA of Slovenia. In 2002 he was Charge d`Affaires in Teheran, Iran. In 2004 followed the appointment as Head of Department for Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Pacific, and in 2005 as Director-General for Multilateral Affairs. In 2006, he was appointed Ambassador at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the OSCE in Vienna. In 2012, he took the helm at the Directorate for Economic Diplomacy as Director-General, and in 2015, became Head of the Department for Strategic Studies and Analyses. Until his appointment as State Secretary, in November 2020, he served as Head of the Department for Asia and Oceania.  In addition to his medical degree, Dr Stanislav Raščan holds also a doctorate in political sciences.

Francisco André

Presidency of the Council of the EU
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Portugal

Francisco André was born in Leiria, Portugal, in 1976. He holds a degree in Law from the University of Lisbon, with focus in legal economic areas, and started his professional career as a lawyer. Among other positions, in public offices, he was Head of Cabinet of the Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (2005/2008), Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union in Brussels (2009/2013) and Head of Cabinet of the Portuguese Prime Minister (2018/2020).

Ambassador Peter Burian

European External Action Service
EU Special Representative for Central Asia

Ambassador Peter Burian was appointed as the EU Special Representative for Central Asia on 15 April 2015. His responsibilities include promoting good and close relations between the Union and the countries of Central Asia. He earned his degree in Oriental Studies at St. Petersburg State University. He continued his diplomatic and international studies at the University of Cairo, Comenius University in Bratislava and the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow. Ambassador Burian held the post of Head of Slovakia´s Mission to NATO in Brussels from 1999 to 2003. He was the Permanent Representative of  the Slovak Republic to the United Nations in New York from 2004 to 2008 during which time Slovakia held one of the non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. From 2008 to 2012 he served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Slovakia to the United States, in Washington D.C. Prior to this appointment Ambassador, Burian served from 2012 as the First Deputy Minister and was responsible for areas of security policy, economic diplomacy, development assistance, international organizations and the territories of the EU Eastern Partnership, Africa, Asia and Pacific, and the Americas.

Annelise Avril

Group Senior Vice-President - Research, Innovation & Digital Transformation

Annelise Avril leads the SUEZ Group Research & Innovation strategy and programmes. She drives the Group's digitalisation in the areas of operations, customer experience, new products and services. Annelise Avril chairs the Corporate Ventures Capital fund. Further, she is Vice-President of the French National Strategic Council for the Water sector (CSF Eau) and the 'International Financial Institutions' Committee (MEDEF International ). Annelise AVRIL began her career as a water and wastewater project engineer within SUEZ Consulting in 1995. Between 2000 and 2003, she joined Le Cercle Français de l'Eau as Executive Director. From 2004, she carried out several operational functions in SUEZ Group, in France and abroad, including Operations Manager at SUEZ Eau France, then Performance and Innovation Manager in Perth, Australia. In 2014, she became the General Manager of Allwater, a SUEZ subsidiary in Australia. Annelise AVRIL is graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Electrotechnique, d'Electronique, d'Informatique, d'Hydraulique et des Télécommunications in Toulouse.

Anna Nilsdotter

WaterAid Sweden/Nordics
Chief Executive

In October 2020 Anna Nilsdotter took on the role of Chief Executive of WaterAid Sweden. Ms. Anna Nilsdotter has previously worked as Managing Director of Sweden´s largest environmental NGO SSNC (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation), Chair of Amnesty International in Sweden, and Deputy Managing Director of the sustainability consultancy Enact, which is one of Sweden's largest sustainability consulting firms. Anna Nilsdotter has extensive experience of leading organisations in both business and the non-profit sector, and has sat on several government-appointed boards and councils, among them the Swedish Institute, EBA (The Expert Group for Aid Studies) and IFFS (Institute for Futures Studies). She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Uppsala University and Amsterdam University.

Sara Ahrari

WASH Programme Manager 

At Simavi, Ms. Sara Ahrari is responsible for developing and management of WASH programmes as well as managing relations with different partners and stakeholders. She is also the thematic expert of the Organisation on “social inclusion and gender” and “climate change and WASH”. Sara is also co-lead of “leave no one behind” discussion group of Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) where she facilitates exchange of knowledge among more than 1000 members of the group. Sara is a civil engineer and prior to joining Simavi in 2009 has worked with different consulting companies, NGOs and UN agencies in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand. She is Dutch-Iranian and lives with her family in the Netherlands.

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Chris Burns

Journalist and Moderator

Chris Burns is a Franco-American journalist and media expert with more than 30 years' reporting experience in Europe, the U.S., Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. He's covered armed conflicts, election battles, financial crises, natural and human disasters as well as film festivals. For Euronews he’s been globetrotting to shoot magazine shows and was host of the hard talk show “The Network”. He was a Bloomberg TV reporter based in Brussels and Berlin, and a CNN correspondent based in Germany and the White House. He reported for the Associated Press from Paris, New York and Nashville. He's also a media consultant, media trainer and video producer, and has moderated panels, including for the World Economic Forum, OECD, OSCE, United Nations, World Bank and EU institutions. He graduated in political economy at the University of California, Berkeley, and did post-grad studies in Europe. Chris speaks five languages and has dual US-French nationality.

Kelly Ann Naylor

Associate Director for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Kelly is UNICEF’s Associate Director for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and has been elected to serve as the next UN Water Vice-Chair from October 2020. Across 20 years of experience in the WASH Sector, she managed urban, peri-urban and rural water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes in Central Africa, South Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America. Prior to becoming global WASH Chief, Kelly Ann was UNICEF’s Regional WASH Advisor for West and Central Africa during the West Africa Ebola Virus Outbreak and Lake Chad Basin Crisis. She completed missions in DR Congo where she supported the development and scale-up of the National Healthy Villages and Schools programme, in Haiti for the earthquake and cholera response and in Sri Lanka for the tsunami recovery. Before joining UNICEF in 2007, Kelly Ann started her career working in California in the USA with private engineering firms developing water and sanitation utility master plans for cities and small towns. She completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

María Neira

World Health Organization
Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health

Dr María P. Neira has been directing the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization since September 2005. Throughout her tenure and up until now she has led and advised on policy and management in key areas of environmental health. Prior to that, she served as Under-Secretary of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency. From 1993-1998, she was Coordinator of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control. Dr Neira began her career as a medical coordinator working with refugees in El Salvador and Honduras for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders). She then spent several years working in different African countries during armed conflicts. In early 2019, she was nominated among the top 100 policy influencers in health and climate change.

Maria Pilar Palmero Vaquero

EU Delegation to Burkina Faso
Head of Unit – Head of Cooperation

Pilar Palmero holds a degree BSc (Honours) in Economics by the University of London, and a MA in Economics of the EU by the University of Exeter in the UK. Since 1992, she has pursued her career in external relations, humanitarian aid and development cooperation mainly in the EU, in headquarters and in the field, Colombia, Algeria, Ghana and Somalia. In October 2019, she joined the EU Delegation in Burkina Faso as Head of Unit-Head of Cooperation.

Ion Salaru

Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection
Moldova Public Health Specialist

Dr. Ion SALARU has strong management and leadership experience and is in charge of a team of over 30 staff at NAPH, focusing on public health policies, health promotion and non-communicable disease prevention. He has an overall 30 years’ experience in environmental and public health, including relevant experience in non-communicable disease prevention and tackling risk factors (tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and air quality). Activities relate to research, development and implementation of national public health policies and programs. He has experience in promoting and establishing of partnerships with environment and health stakeholders, including NGOs and actors at the national and local level, also a vast experience in project management and report writing, with such international organizations as WHO, UNICEF and EU, SDC. Have a good experience in nationalizing SDGs in Public Health, in promoting WHO approach Health in All Policies and inter-sectorial collaboration in WASH and NCD prevention. He is fluent in English, Russian and Romanian. He coordinated two national Surveys with UNICEF support – WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in schools and in kindergardens. 

Tripti Rai

WaterAid Nepal
Country Director

Tripti Rai is a development practitioner with substantial experience in the water sector, having solid grass roots, national and international experiences. Her key expertise lies in strategy and programme development, monitoring and learning, senior leadership and management roles. Currently, she is a member in the Steering Committee of Association of international NGOs in Nepal and member of the Consultative Committee of the International Water Management Institute Nepal. Tripti Rai earned a Masters in Sociology; certificates in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation; proven leadership and change management skills.

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou

Member of the European Parliament 

Ms Zacharopoulou is a Member of European Parliament (Renew Europe Group), elected in France, Vice-President of the Committee on Development (DEVE), Member of the Committee on Women’s rights and Gender equality (FEMM) and Member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee. She is a surgeon-gynaecologist by training. Born and raised in Greece, she studied in Rome, Italy, where she completed a Medical Degree, in Strasbourg, France, where she took a specialisation in minimally invasive and robotic surgery, and finally a Master’s degree in Health management and policies from the Paris Institute of Political Studies. Ms Zacharopoulou specialised in the research on the endometriosis disease. In France, she founded an association (“info-endometriose”) and led a national campaign in order to raise awareness about this under-diagnosed disease that affects 1 in 10 women. A strong advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, Ms Zacharopoulou brought forward issues such as the empowerment of women and girls in rural areas, menstrual hygiene and painful menstruation to the Commission on Status of Women (CSW) of the United Nations in 2017 and 2018. She was appointed rapporteur on the Africa-EU strategy for the European Parliament.

Closed since 18 January 2021
Brussels, Belgium
Organised by
Belgium 102
France 35
Slovenia 32
Switzerland 23
Portugal 22
Italy 20
Netherlands 19
Germany 18
Sweden 18
South Africa 11
United States 10
Spain 9
United Kingdom 9
Lesotho 9
India 8
Mozambique 8
Bangladesh 6
Finland 6
Morocco 6
Nigeria 5
Czech Republic 5
Brazil 5
Bolivia 5
Uganda 5
Lebanon 5
Austria 5
Ethiopia 4
Kazakhstan 4
Greece 4
Romania 4
Luxembourg 4
Niger 4
Ghana 3
Egypt 3
Australia 3
Senegal 3
Guinea-bissau 3
Sri Lanka 3
Uzbekistan 3
Cambodia 3
Georgia 3
Serbia 3
Denmark 3
Chile 3
Israel 3
Kenya 3
Kyrgyzstan 2
Côte d'Ivoire 2
Nepal 2
Chad 2
Zambia 2
Azerbaijan 2
Barbados 2
El Salvador 2
Albania 2
Palestine 2
Türkiye 2
Gambia 2
Malta 2
Benin 2
Slovakia 2
Tanzania, United Republic Of 2
Ecuador 2
Tunisia 2
Belarus 1
Ukraine 1
Hungary 1
Mauritius 1
Bulgaria 1
Moldova, Republic Of 1
Rwanda 1
Kosovo 1
Fiji 1
Thailand 1
Sierra Leone 1
Jordan 1
Ireland 1
Yemen 1
Jamaica 1
Myanmar 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Djibouti 1
Zimbabwe 1
Norway 1
Latvia 1
Somalia 1
Syrian Arab Republic 1
Pakistan 1
Burkina Faso 1
Malawi 1
Swaziland 1
Togo 1
Croatia 1
China 1
Guinea 1
Peru 1
Iraq 1
Sudan 1
South Korea 1
Honduras 1
Aruba 1
United Arab Emirates 1
Estonia 1
Japan 1
Tajikistan 1
Total 549
Authority/Government 163
Other 146
Company 58
Association/Agency 53
University 21
R&D Institution 18
Total 459
Profile views
Before event 1144
After event 44
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