Biocities Forum speakers


James Astill
James Astill is the Washington bureau chief and Lexington Columnist of The Economist. He was formerly the Energy and Environment Editor, leading the magazine’s coverage of climate change, oceans and forests. In 2010 he wrote a special report on the world’s forests, researched in Indonesia, Uganda, India, Mexico and Brazil, that won the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. He retains a strong interest in global forest issues, about which he continues to write and speak widely. He has also worked as The Economist’s Political Editor and Bagehot Columnist, South Asia Bureau Chief, International Security Editor, Afghanistan & Pakistan Correspondent, and Africa Correspondent.
Edoardo Croci is the Research Director and Coordinator of the "Green Economy Observatory" at IEFE, the research center for economics and policy of energy and the environment of Bocconi University, where he is responsible of Horizon 2020 projects on urban nature based solutions and on smart cities. Served as Milan City Deputy Major for Mobility, Transport and Environment, President of the Agency for the Protection of the Environment of Lombardy Region, Vice president of FEDARENE (European Federation of Regional Energy and Environment Agency). He is member of the thematic network Sustainable Cities, UN – SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network).
Marc Darder
Marc Darder is Head of the Action in Urban Habitat Unit at the Regional Ministry of Territory and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia, since November 2016, and responsible for coordinating the elaboration process and further implementation in Catalonia of the New Urban Agenda. As a representative of the Government of Catalonia, he is participating in the elaboration of the Urban Agenda for the EU, specifically in the Partnership on Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-Based Solutions. Architect and urban planner, he won an Erasmus scholarship at the Department of Architecture of the Aalto University (Helsinki, Finland) in 2001, received his MSc degree in Urban Planning from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), and currently is a Phd candidate. He has a broad professional expertise on Urban and Territorial Planning at the local and regional levels. He has also worked as Head of the Urban Planning Enforcement Unit, from 2011 to 2016, and as a technical advisor in the Expropriation Jury of Barcelona.
JD - picture_.jpg Joanna Drake has been the Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General (DG) for the environment since March 2016. In this role, she is in charge of the coordination of Resource-efficiency policies and other legal instruments. By training, Joanna is a doctor of laws from the University of Malta, where she also lectured full time in the Department of European and Comparative Law. She acquired a post-graduate degree in Advanced European Legal Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. She held various legal and management posts in the private and public sector before joining the European Commission as head of the European Commission Representation in Malta in 2005. Between 2010 and 2015 she was director in the European Commission's DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. During her tenure in DG GROW she also led the Commission's Task Force on the Collaborative Economy, New Business Models and SMEs.


Herbert Girardet is an international consultant on sustainable urban development, having worked for major cities such as London, Vienna and Bristol. In 2003 he developed sustainability strategies for South Australia that have been largely implemented. He also worked extensively across the Middle East, incl. the Saudi Sustainability Initiative, 2010-12. He has been a consultant to UNEP and UN Habitat, and is a recipient of a UN Global 500 Award ‘for outstanding environmental achievements’. He is a member of the Club of Rome, co-founder of the World Future Council, an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and visiting professor at University of the West of England. He has also produced 50 environmental TV documentaries for major broadcasters. He is author and co-author of 13 books, including: The Gaia Atlas of Cities, 2002 and 2006; Cities, People, Planet – Urban Development and Climate Change, 2004 and 2008; A Renewable World – Energy, Ecology, Equality, 2009; and Creating Regenerative Cities, 2015. .
Gabriele Klingmüller has worked as a teacher prior to her retirement. She joined the Social Democratic Party in 1978, holding a number of functions at local level. She became member of the City Council of the City of Bonn in 2009, chairing the committee for civic participation and working in the committees for scientific affairs, environment and consumer protection. In 2014, Mrs. Klingmüller was appointed Deputy Mayor of Bonn.
Photo of Marc Palahí
Marc Palahí is the Director of the European Forest Institute and responsible for leading the organisation towards an acknowledged pan-European science-policy platform. Previously he led EFI’s policy support activities and during this time was instrumental in launching ThinkForest, a European high-level science forum on the future of forests. He has also worked as Head of EFI’s Mediterranean Facility, EFIMED. He has a PhD in forestry and economics and an MSc in forestry engineering.
  Maria Chiara Pastore is an independent researcher and Course Instructor at Politecnico di Milano (Urban Design Studio). In March 2013 she concluded her PhD at Politecnico di Milano with a research on the relation between water and urban planning, particularly in rapid urbanizing African cities. Her research and professional interests regard the relation between the development of water and sanitation systems and urban environments, urban planning in Africa, adaptive planning in relation to rapid growing cities, and disaster risk reduction. Since 2014, she is consultant to the World Bank (GFDRR) and the Government of Malawi for the production of post-disaster guidelines. As an urban planner, Pastore worked on the Masterplan for EXPO 2015 (with Stefano Boeri Architetti), the Masterplan for the city of Dar es Salaam in 2011 the Masterplan Tirana 030 - focus infrastructure (with Stefano Boeri Architects). In 2017 she worked as consultant, together with Stefano Boeri, for the Commissario Speciale Sisma 2016, from the reconstruction post-earthquake in central Italy, and since 2017 leads the Research Deparment at Stefano Boeri Architetti, focusing on Urban Forestry.
Göran Persson
Göran Persson served as Prime Minister of Sweden from 1996 to 2006 and was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1996 to 2007. Since leaving office, Mr Persson has been a consultant for the Stockholm-based PR firm JKL. He is also a Member of the Board of the World Resources Institute, and the President of the European high-level forum on the future of forests, ThinkForest, facilitated by EFI.
Janna Puumalainen
Janna Puumalainen is Director of strategy at the City of Joensuu. She received her MSc degree in forest science from the University of Joensuu, Finland, and doctorate degree from the University of Göttingen, Germany. Since, she has worked for Stora Enso Ltd, Joint Research Center of the European Commission and during the past years in various posts at the city administration of Joensuu. She has work and study experience from Germany, Italy, Belgium, Ireland and South-Africa. Currently Dr. Puumalainen is responsible for strategy and development projects of the city of Joensuu, university town and regional centre of North Karelia. She is also finalizing her eMBA-studies at the University of Eastern Finland.
Michael H. Ramage
Michael H. Ramage leads the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at Cambridge University, and is an architectural engineer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture, fellow and Vice Master of Sidney Sussex College, a Chartered Member of the Institution of Structural Engineers and a founding partner of Light Earth Designs. He studied geology and archaeology as an undergraduate, followed by architecture at MIT, and worked for Conzett Bronzini Gartmann in Switzerland prior to teaching and getting a PhD at Cambridge. His current research is focused on developing low-energy structural materials and systems in masonry, better housing in the developing world and large scale high rise buildings in engineered timber and bamboo through natural material innovation. He teaches, researches and designs buildings, and receives research funding from the Leverhulme Trust, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Royal Society, the British Academy, and industry.
  Eugènia Vidal Casanovas is Team Coordinator at the Management Office of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB). She received her MSc degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University (CU) and doctorate degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). She has substantial professional and teaching experience in Europe, United States and Asia regarding open spaces and the landscape of mobility infrastructure. Currently she is working at AMB on the new plan for the Collserola Range Natural Park as well as other key spaces of the metropolitan green and blue infrastructure.