Head of Division of United Nations, 2030 Agenda, Developing Countries and Emerging Economies, Environmental aspects of international climate and energy policy
Having grown up in Cairo and then London, and fluent in English, Arabic, French and Italian, Geilan is a UCL and Bocconi alumna who joined Morgan Stanley’s Capital Markets division 20 years ago building a successful career managing relationships with pan-European financial institutions. Spending significant time thereafter in Switzerland, she went on to advise global FinTech founders on their strategic development, before herself becoming a Green FinTech entrepreneur; leading her team through the FCA’s first Green FinTech Sandbox and the company’s graduation from the Zurich-based Tenity FinTech Incubator. In her current role at IUCN, Geilan oversees a portfolio of NbS blended-finance initiatives that invest in environmental and social impact projects in developing economies.
Her additional voluntary mandates include being International Board Advisor to the W Startup Community, Chair of P27’s Green FinTech Forum whose mission is to transform the global economy into a more sustainable one, and Zurich President of the Global Government Blockchain Association. In 2020, Geilan was included in the Innovate Finance Women in FinTech Powerlist in recognition of her distinguished career and achievements as a Senior Leader and sustainable FinTech expert, and for her active promotion of Diversity and Inclusion.
Stephan Contius is Special Advisor on SDGs at Foundations 20 (F20) since October 2022. He is also Special Advisor at the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development and member of the Imperatives Advisory Council of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Previously, Stephan Contius was Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Head of the Division for the United Nations, Developing Countries and Emerging Economies at the German Environment Ministry. There he was involved in the establishment of environment and climate change dialogues with Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and Thailand. He was German co-lead negotiator for the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs and German chief negotiator for the UN summits on sustainable development in Johannesburg (2002) and in Rio de Janeiro (2012). His assignments at the Ministry also included G7 cooperation, green economy, prevention of air pollution, and project financing. He was seconded to the United Nations Development Programme in New York in 1990. For the EU he participated in the final negotiations on the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992). Mr Contius' academic background is law and political science. He was recipient of scholarships of the German National Academic Foundation.
Anne Juepner is Co-Director of the Poverty-Environment Initiative and is based at the UN Development Programme's Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification in Nairobi. Anne brings over 20 years of international development experience with technical expertise in the areas of sustainable livelihoods, natural capital and ecosystems management, and drylands development. She has served as Coordinator of the Drylands Development Centre’s Nairobi Office since 2011. The Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification is responsible for supporting UN Development Programme’s efforts towards sustainable and inclusive development in the drylands, including providing support to the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Prior to this, Anne served as Team Leader, Business Development Unit, with the UN Development Programme Ethiopia Country Office (2008-2010); Resource Mobilization Advisor with the Bureau of External Relations and Partnerships (2005-2007), and External Relations Officer with the UN Development Programme Somalia Country Office (2001-2004). Before joining UN Development Programme, she worked with various non-governmental organizations in Kenya and Germany with a focus on small enterprise development and appropriate technology solutions. Anne is a German national and holds a Master's degree in Engineering from the Technical University of Freiberg, Germany. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Ms. Ligia Noronha began her role as United Nations Assistant Secretary- General and Head of the New York Office at UNEP on 1 April 2021. In this role she works in establishing and maintaining critical links with the Permanent Missions of Member States to the United Nations, the United Nations Secretariat, other UN System organizations and entities headquartered in New York, major groups, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector. Through her leadership of the New York Office, she seeks to promote effective integration of the environmental dimension in the UN System, in the inter-agency mechanisms and in the intergovernmental processes while raising awareness of emerging environmental issues and the outcomes of the United Nations Environment Assembly.
An economist with over 30 years of international experience in the field of sustainable development, Ms. Noronha previously served as Director of UNEP’s Economy Division based in Paris and Nairobi, leading UNEP’s work on climate mitigation and energy transitions; on inclusive green economies, circularity and sustainable consumption and production, as well as on trade and sustainable finance; on extractives, and the nexus of environment, pollution and health. During her tenure, Ms. Noronha positioned the Economy Division as a center for integrated actions in support of the 2030 Agenda.
Prior to joining UNEP, Ms. Noronha worked as Executive Director at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi; she served as Secretary of the Asian Energy Institute and as Coordinator of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnerships (REEEP), and worked with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.