María José Barragán Paladines

María José Barragán Paladines obtained a M.Sc. degree in Sustainable Resource Management at the Technical University of Munich and a Ph.D. in Geography at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s. As a post-doctoral researcher at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research in Bremen, she developed a new research agenda under the sociology of knowledge tradition. She now collaborates within the European-network “Ocean Governance for Sustainability – challenges, options and the role of science”. A co-edited volume was published and is currently one of the most important scholarly references for small-scale fisheries research, policy and practice worldwide. Currently she is the Science Director at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galapagos Islands.

Matthieu Bernardon


With a BSc in Marine Biology and an engineering degree in international agro-development, Matthieu left to work in Mauritania to launch a small scale fisheries development project. He finally stayed almost a decade, working for IUCN on fisheries management and contributing to the development of the West African coastal and marine program. Thereafter he joined in the FAO Fisheries Department and worked for over 5 years to support small-scale fisheries and management of shared stocks in the West Mediterranean sea.

Luc Bonnamour


Economist and development finance specialist Luc Bonnamour has 40 years’ experience in developing countries. From 1992 to 2011, he worked for Agence française de développement (AFD), as managing director of a social housing company in Guadeloupe and as Country Director in Ghana, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic and Nigeria. Since 2011, as well as teaching on a Masters in Development program, he has worked as a consultant for a renewable energy firm and as an ‘investigating commissioner’ in the Var department of France. In Guatemala (March 2014), he carried out an assessment of the refinancing tool used by a financial network of 15 community associations, and in Argentina (November 2014), undertook a diagnostic study of an NGO, developing a strategy for its resource diversification.

Alexandre Braïlowsky

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A physician, Alexandre Brailowsky has worked for Médecins du Monde and Médecins sans Frontières in Guatemala, Kenya, Angola and Haiti. He joined NGO GRET to work the supply of drinking water to poor neighborhoods of Port au Prince. He then moved to the Suez Group, where he tackled the issue of access to basic services. After working at Aguas Argentinas, he became Social Empowerment Director at Suez Environnement before being appointed at GDF SUEZ. He is joint author of an article, ‘The real obstacles to universal access to the water service in developing countries’, which examines the conventional wisdom of official development assistance and an other one on social and societal engineering, which brings together the methodologies he has adopted, highlighting the importance of attitude as a criterion for success.

Antoine Cadi


Antoine Cadi studied at Lyon 1 University at the same time as coordinating biodiversity workshops at the Conservatoire Rhône-Alpes des Espaces Naturels. In 2004, he became the first employee of NGO Noé Conservation, where he built up its team, and in 2007 took up the post of Project Coordinator for the Nicolas Hulot Fondation. In 2009, he joined the Office of Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo as a technical adviser, where his work included preparing France’s initiatives for the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. From September 2010 to December 2013, he was an adviser to Allain Bougrain Dubourg before becoming Director of External Relations, Communication and Partnerships for the French League for the Protection of Birds (LPO).

Jean-Claude Clermont


After an engineering degree from the École Centrale in Paris, Jean-Claude Clermont spent more than 35 years managing major urban water supply and sanitation services for the Suez and Suez Environnement groups, both in France and overseas. For five years, he was executive director of Aquassistance, an NGO that works on setting up drinking water systems and services for the most disadvantaged populations. Today, he is an independent management consultant, who advises businesses and non-profit organizations. A committed volunteer worker, he is an active member of several non-profit associations.

Hervé Conan


Hervé Conan began his career as a sanitary engineer in Mayotte, before setting up a local development consultancy there. He went on to join the Vergnet Group before working as a consultant in the field of public market services management in developing countries. After setting up a consulting firm in Cambodia and a start-up in the renewable energy sector in Singapore, he joined the BURGEAP consulting firm. In 2003, he became a project manager for AFD (French Development Agency). He worked for the Phnom Penh agency before becoming Director of the Jerusalem agency in charge of the Palestinian Territories. Since 2013, he has been Director of the Yaoundé regional office, covering Cameroon, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.

Dominique de la Croix


An agronomist (ENSA, Montpellier and Ecole Supérieure d’Agronomie Tropicale), Dominique de la Croix has spent nearly all his professional life in various sub-Saharan African countries. After a period in Chad and then Mali for the Ministry of Cooperation, he worked for the Agence Française de Développement as a rural development officer in Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and again in Mali. He has also carried out various assignments in other countries of Africa on behalf of French development cooperation agencies. He now travels once a year to Mali in a personal capacity to help villages in Banamba Cercle implement their food security projects, with financial support from a French NGO.

Jean-Baptiste Dumond


An economist by training (Paris Dauphine University) and a naturalist by passion, Jean-Baptiste Dumond began his career in the oil industry, then worked on the recovery of metals in Africa before going on to head WWF France, produce films and events and run the Fondation Lemarchand. A naturalist, photographer and occasional musician, Jean-Baptiste Dumond defines himself as a ‘student of life’ in the same way as a Robert Hainard or a Théodore Monod, with an inquiring mind and sensitivity to the world around him. As well as co-authoring and publishing articles and books, he is active in several environmental, humanitarian and photography associations. A member of JNE (Journalistes-écrivains pour la nature et l’écologie), he co-founded the website. Check out his interview here.

Vincent Feuillette

Feuillette_miniA passionate advocate of sustainable development with a keen interest in energy issues, Vincent Feuillette has been involved in NGO development initiatives since his student days at the École Centrale in Paris. After an engineering degree, he worked for Veolia as operations monitoring manager and then for Bionersis (pioneer company in landfill gas valorisation) as assistant project manager in Chili. In 2009 he joined ENEA Consulting, an energy consultancy that has implemented an innovative model, where his work included running the firm’s pro bono ‘access to energy’ program. Following several work experiences for semi-public companies, he is responsible since 2017 for the regional development of energy and ecology transition projects for the Occitanie (South-Western France) regional directorate of the “Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations”.

Catherine Gabrié


A Doctor of Oceanography, Catherine Gabrié is a consultant in marine and coastal environments. She previously worked for several years in the marine biology laboratory of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes before joining WWF France’s ‘oceans and coasts’ program. She works in several regions of the world on awareness, conservation and management of marine biodiversity: marine protected areas, coastal management, etc. For the last 15 years, she has advised ministries on the protection of French overseas coral reefs (IFRECOR). She has a particular interest in capitalizing on and sharing results, good practice and experience of research and marine biodiversity conservation projects throughout the world.

Rémi Gouin


An agronomist by training, Rémi Gouin was a farmer for ten years. He then worked in the Global South for 25 years on agricultural development and biodiversity conservation projects for the Agence Française de Développement and the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM). For the last ten years, he has worked on projects for the protection of nature in tropical countries, seeking to develop biodiversity-friendly value chains with farmers’ groups and local environmental activists’ associations. He is President of the non-profit organization Man and Nature:

Marie Christine Huau


Marie Christine Huau is a specialist on the environment and on water treatment and management. A coastal oceanography and marine biodiversity expert, she began her career in Australia, monitoring the impact of climate change. In 1988 she jointed the SAUR Group, the environment and water resource management branch of the Bouygues Group, where she held various positions, from project manager to research and development director. In 2003, she joined IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) as director of business development and industrial partnerships. Since 2007, she has been business development manager at Veolia Eau, running water management, urban and coastal planning and resource management projects.

Christophe Jacqmin


After initial training as a physiotherapist, Christophe Jacqmin worked on various projects for Handicap International. This experience of project management led him to retrain in the management of social economy organizations and to shift focus to the NGO sector, where he has worked as both a paid employee and a volunteer for over 25 years. Covering both Southeast Asia and West Africa, his work has a strong focus on rural development and farmers’ organizations, Director of Inter-réseaux Développement Rural since 2007, he has also worked since 2013 as an associate professor at Paris-Est Créteil University, where he is joint director of a Masters program in International Humanitarian Action and NGOs.

Alain Karsenty


Alain Karsenty is a researcher at CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development), working on the analysis of public policy on forests, land tenure and the environment, particularly in Central Africa. His work focuses on the conditions and dynamics of reform in these sectors. His research interests include forest taxation and concessions, and economic instruments and public policy. An internationally recognized expert, he collaborates regularly with the World Bank, European Commission, FAO and Nicolas Hulot Foundation. His most recent publications concern the REDD+ scheme (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and payments for environmental services.

Cécile Lachaux


Cécile Lachaux holds a master degree in biology and ecology from Poitiers and Oklahoma universities. She spent 1 year abroad in Madagascar and Benin, where she was working as a project officer in various NGOs. She gained significant field experience in managing environmental issues. She joined TFT France at the beginning of 2009 and has been managing TFT’s French retail members on sustainable pulp and paper, wood and palm oil. Then, she spent three years and a half at TFT’s Indonesian country office, as Senior Manager Asia. In 2014, she joined the Global Canopy Programme as a Senior Manager, in charge of the Drivers Programme. Now, she is working for Man & Nature as Executive Director.

Philippe Lévêque


Philippe Lévêque (Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, HEC) began his career at IBM before joining software company SYSTAR. After working as a volunteer with Médecins du Monde, he became its development director in 1994 and then deputy executive director in 1998. He became managing director of CARE France in 2000, honorary director of CARE Morocco in 2007, and CARE International (Geneva) board member in 2009. From 2003 to 2010, he was vice-chairman of the board of directors of Comité 21 (French Committee for the Environment and Sustainable Development). Since January 2010, he has been president of the HEC Alumni Association’s Sustainable Development and Solidarity Group. In 2013, he was elected to the board of France Générosités, a professional union of fundraising organizations.

Tristram Lewis

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Tris recently left the Oak Foundation to set up a new funders collaborative (Funding FISH) focusing on the implementation of Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy. For the last seven years Tris was the Programme Officer for the Oak Foundation’s Marine Conservation Programme. In addition to managing the portfolio of European grants he also had additional responsibility for the oversight of the majority of marine conservation grants that fell outside of the marine conservation priority regions. Tris also worked at Plymouth University’s Marine Policy Unit as well as in humanitarian aid, including missions in Darfur, Kosovo and Myanmar. Tris has a Masters of Science in Coastal and Ocean Policy.

Davina MacPhail

Davina has worked on Microfinance projects in France and India. She then spent 4 years in corporate banking in Citigroup and HSBC in France, the UK and Taiwan. She then spent 4 years in a social enterprise in Cambodia (related to the NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak) where she was in charge of investor relations and of the development strategy of the enterprise. Davina joined the Phitrust team in 2016. Phitrust Partenaires is an impact investing fund investing in social SMEs. She is in charge of following the portfolio of companies, of the development of the portfolio and of the relations with European networks in Impact Investing.

Joël Mallevialle


A process engineer, Joël Mallevialle worked for 25 years for the Suez Environnement Group’s International Research Centre on Water and the Environment, first as a researcher and subsequently as its director. He went on to spend ten years in Latin America, managing drinking water and waste water treatment plants in Buenos Aires and then in Puerto Rico. Now retired, he is involved in humanitarian operations in Africa and Asia (construction of water treatment plants). As a municipal council member, he is in charge of economic development for the Rabastinois Community of Municipal Authorities (Tarn).

Barbara Mathevon


An environmental engineer by training (Bordeaux IV University), Barbara Mathevon worked for seven years for Malagasy NGO ‘L’Homme et l’Environnement’, where she was responsible for biodiversity protection in the Vohibola Nature Reserve (one of Madagascar’s last coastal forests) before becoming its Deputy Director. She went on to work for the French Committee of the IUCN, where she monitored a portfolio of 150 projects aimed at protecting biodiversity and combating climate change in Francophone Africa and Madagascar, funded by the Fonds Francais pour l’Environnement Mondial. In 2013, she joined development NGO Gret, where she sets up, monitors and evaluates projects that support protected areas in West Africa (Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Benin) and Madagascar. Check out her interview (in French).

Simon Mériaux


Simon joined MAVA foundation in December 2014. He supports MAVA projects and partners across the different programmes on organisational strengthening. He also contributes to the development and implementation of the foundation’s strategy. With a mixed background in ecology and social science, Simon has worked in several places from the National Museum of Natural History of Paris to Niger, Benin, Mauritania and Senegal. Along his route, Simon devoted himself to ethnobotanic research, to the elaboration of environmental awareness tools, to African parks rangers’ training… before managing a capacity building programme for actors and organisations dedicated to coastal conservation in West Africa.

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

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Marine conservation ecologist. PhD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1985); founder (1986) and president, Tethys Research Institute; CMS Councillor for Aquatic Mammals (since 2014); Co-Chair, IUCN Task Force on marine mammal protected areas (since 2013); Deputy Chair, IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group (since 1997); Member, World Commission on Protected Areas (since 2000); Advisor, Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation (since 2003). Teaches science and policy of the conservation of marine biodiversity (since 2007) at the University Statale of Milan. More details

Rémi Oriot


After graduating in environmental studies (Masters in Ecology and Ethology in 1979), Rémi Oriot went on to study social sciences as well as gaining a specialization in organic agriculture. A campaigner for better management of the environment, he spent 30 years working in the sustainable agriculture sector in ACP countries and Latin America. After a period of humanitarian work, he is now back working in countries in difficulty, at the crossroads of economic development, environmental protection and human rights protection. He is committed to sharing his practical experience of sustainable rural development in the field.

Marie-Noëlle Reboulet


An agricultural engineer with a postgraduate degree in Development Economics and a Masters in Social Science, Marie-Noëlle Reboulet has been involved in international development initiatives for 35 years (notably through agricultural education programs and NGOs such as Artisans du Monde, CFSI, GRET and GERES). As member of a wind energy consultancy for 15 years, she remains committed to linking international development with renewable energy. In 2007, she helped set up the POWEO Foundation (a corporate foundation focusing on energy issues in Africa that finances non-governmental projects), which she headed for five years. Since 2013, she has been a volunteer representative and currently member of the Board of Directors of GERES, an NGO that promotes energy access for the poorest populations.

Ghislain Rieb

An engineer by training, Ghislain Rieb specializes in environmental and development issues.  After working as a coastal protection expert for the Ministry of Public Works, he focused on global environment issues at the Environment Ministry and then for the French Development Agency (AFD). He subsequently spent six years as a biodiversity and climate change project manager at the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) secretariat. Since September 2011, he has occupied various AFD posts overseas: biodiversity project manager in Maputo, head of the AFD Myanmar office, and senior investment officer for energy transition/biodiversity at the regional office in Johannesburg. This wealth of experience has given him extensive knowledge of development and environment issues, particularly in southern Africa.

Silvia Ritossa

An agrobiologist with a degree in tropical biology and a postgraduate qualification in the socioeconomics of developing countries, Silvia Ritossa has worked in Kenya, Ecuador and Madagascar. In 2004, she joined the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in France, supporting the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the government’s multisectoral policies before spending ten years managing an FFEM (French Global Environment Facility) program aimed at enhancing the contribution of civil society to conservation work in Africa. Through her numerous field trips to around 15 African countries, Silvia has gained sound grassroots experience and substantial expertise in the evaluation of a wide range of marine and terrestrial projects (over 100). Today, Silvia is based in Tanzania, where she is a consultant in natural resources management

Allison Robertshaw


Trained as an development economist, Allison has worked in the environmental space since 1995. Over the past 20 years, she has focused on the intersection between economic development and environmental protection through a variety of roles in the NGO, government and commercial sectors. Most recently, she has worked in the philanthropic space, heading up the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation and more recently at Zennström Philanthropies. Through this work she has focused on supporting innovative approaches to addressing climate change and entrepreneurship globally. She holds an BSFS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an Msc from the London School of Economics.

Irène Sesmaisons


Irène Sesmaisons’ career path reflects her resolve to collaborate with organizations working concretely in the field in developing countries. She is the founder/director of Efiscens, a consultancy that aims to improve the effectiveness of sustainable development initiatives. She is also an associate trainer for the Bioforce Institute in Dakar and member of the Board of Directors of Asedeme, the International Advisory Council of Sos Sahel, and the Seed Foundation project selection committee. Previously, she was head of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations at the French Embassy in Washington. She was also involved in setting up Fondation Ensemble, of which she became the director. Before that, she was deputy director of Enda Maghreb and member of the working group on the reorganization of Enda worldwide.

Ralf Sonntag

As a passionate advocate for the marine environment Ralf Sonntag worked in different roles to protect the oceans both for the people depending upon them and for the animals living there. After finishing his doctorate at the University of Bremen, he started his career as a whale biologist and played a lead role in creating the first small cetacean sanctuary off the islands of Sylt and Amrum (Germany). He continued this work first as Greenpeace campaigner and later as director of IFAW-Germany. This involved both marine conservation globally but also terrestrial work in Africa. Currently he works for several big NGO’s as consultant in the political arena of conservation conventions like CITES or CMS.

Jérôme Spaggiari


Jérôme Spaggiari has a 20-year professional experience in the field of environment and sustainable development, specifically on biodiversity-related issues. He initially worked as a research professional on the ecology of seabirds from the Terres australes et antarctiques françaises as well as on ungulates from West Africa, Parc national des Écrins and the New Caledonia. Then he managed major NGOs country programs. Based in Québec since 2009, Jérôme has created atelier phusis, a consultancy whose objective is to reconcile biodiversity and development. He works with international organizations, extractives companies as well as local and indigenous communities. Finally, Jérôme also acts as an expert for the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and IPBES.

Francis Staub


Francis Staub is an independant consultant caring for everything to do with the ocean (and the forest). He provides technical services related to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. For more than 15 years, he has been working on Marine Protected Areas and management of marine tropical ecosystems. Before working as an independent consultant, he worked for the French ministry of Environment and then the World Bank (in Washington, DC). He is a member of the Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA), the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC). For the past 10 years, he is an advisor the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). For more information,

Judith Symonds


Judith Symonds is an advisor in philanthropy, strategic planning, communication, and public affairs. Committed to promoting civic engagement, she created the Tocqueville Platform, of which she is Director, and is a co-founder of the Tocqueville Challenge; creator of the Tocqueville Module Civil Society and Philanthropy Syllabus. She is a graduate of Stanford University, and is a Faculty Member at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences-Po) in Paris, with courses on New Philanthropy and Social Investing. Past positions have included: Senior Advisor for Civil Society Partnerships at the United Nations World Food Programme; Executive Director of the Future Harvest Foundation; President of the Foundation for the Development of Polish Agriculture; Director of Ruder Finn, Inc. Europe.

Ana Velasco Steiger


Biologist and herpetologist Ana Velasco Steiger has devoted over 15 years of her life to the study and conservation of South American tropical reptiles and amphibians. Born in Ecuador, she currently works as a scientific adviser for wildlife documentaries (‘Océans’, ‘Amazonia’, ‘ll était une Forêt’, ‘Les Saisons’ and ‘Le plus beau pays du Monde’). She is a founding member of the Gustavo Orcés Herpetological Foundation and a former director of the Quito Vivarium (Ecuador), where she led several fundamental research projects on the country’s reptiles and amphibians. She also spent two years coordinating various projects run by the IUCN (Regional Office for South America, IUCN World Congress, Rio +20).

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