Emerging Leaders

Connecting generations of environmental leaders is one of the core goals of the Global Environmental Governance Project.

Emerging Leaders

To this end, we issued a call for proposals from young leaders from around the world to participate in the 2009 Global Environmental Governance Forum in Glion, Switzerland,

“Reflecting on the Past, Moving into the Future.” We received close to 100 applications from 39 countries. Thirteen Emerging Leaders in the field of global environmental governance (featured below) were selected through a competitive application process overseen by the Advisory Board for the Forum.These young talents made concrete personal commitments to action in the field. They were inspired by the deep commitment of the founding architects of the global environmental governance system and will continue working as a network to raise awareness for the relevance of global environmental governance for the local and national level.

Bala Raju Nikku

Bala Raju Nikku is the Head of the Department of Social Work at Kadambari Memorial College of Science and Management, Nepal.

Dr. Nikku has worked with various research, governmental, NGO and donor agencies in India and Nepal, including the Wildlife Institute of India and the Gujarat Institute of Development Research. His wide range of research has been conducted in conjunction with organizations such as Oxfam, the District Water Agency and UNICEF. Dr. Nikku was instrumental in initiating a Masters Program in Social Work at St. Xavier’s College and continues to teach courses on international social work, environment and policy processes. He currently serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment. An associate of Cohort 13 of LEAD India, he is also the Executive Director for the SUTRA Centre for Development Education and Research, a non-profit organization based in Kathmandu.

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Bryan Bushley

Bryan Bushley is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii Manoa with a focus on community-based natural resource management and climate change.

Mr. Bushley holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in environmental policy and international development, as well as Master of Science in natural resource policy. As a graduate fellow, he participated in projects related to governing protected areas and rural livelihoods in Bangladesh. With various NGOs, development agencies and research institutions, he has served as consultant, volunteer and project assistant on initiatives ranging from promoting effective water management institutions in Central Asia, to enhancing the role of communities in protecting forests in South Asia, to investigating market-based mechanisms for conservation and development in Latin America. Mr. Bushley’s current research examines the potential role of community-managed forests in global climate change mitigation strategies, such as carbon trading, and the implications for those who rely upon these forests, with a geographic focus on South Asia. He is also pursuing a graduate certificate in mediation and conflict resolution in conjunction with his doctoral studies.

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Cinnamon Pinon Carlarne

Cinnamon Piñon Carlarne is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law & School of the Environment.

Ms. Carlarne is an environmental lawyer interested in evolving systems of domestic and international environmental law and governance. Her current work focuses on comparative climate change law, policy-making and fragmentation in international environmental law. Specifically she focuses on ways to improve issue-specific and overarching systems of environmental governance. Comparing governance systems in the EU and the US, her objective is to improve understanding of the disparate legal and political strategies being used to address climate change in these regions, the socio-legal factors influencing these strategies, the likely successes and failures of current strategies, and the implications of these findings for individual States and the international community. Currently she is developing a new project which explores efforts to develop an international climate change legal regime and how fragmentation in international law interferes with attempts to identify linkages between international environmental law and other areas of international law.

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Clara Nobbe

Clara Nobbe is an Associate Programme Officer in the Executive Office at UNEP.

Prior to this position, Ms. Nobbe was a consultant for UNEP’s regional office for Europe on the Caucasus Convention project. She was instrumental in achieving the first meeting of these six countries in 2007 and the resultant joint ministerial statement to embark on a collaboration process. Since coming to her current position, Ms. Nobbe has worked as the Senior Gender Adviser as part of the Strategic Implementation Team to align UNEP’s Program of Work with the challenges of mainstreaming gender into environmental management. She has been the focal point of the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment, which seeks to be a network for information exchange and promoter of gender equality within the environmental field. Since November 2008, Ms. Nobbe has supported the Principal Policy Adviser to the Executive Director of UNEP in preparation for UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum. She continues to work closely with this office on the implementation of the Governing Council’s decision 25/4 on IEG, as well as the UN Secretary Generas climate change initiative.

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Jason Morris-Jung

Jason Morris-Jung is a PhD candidate in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

Having lived and worked in Southeast Asia for 7 years, including 5 years in Vietnam, Mr. Morris-Jung has focused his doctoral research on social mobilization and public participation in environmental governance in Vietnam, and its broader global context. Part of this research involves conducting a history of environmentalism in Vietnam to better understand the social and political foundations of the Vietnamese environmental movement and how they have interacted with global environmental institutions over time. His background in Social Work has led him to concentrate on keeping social justice at the core of a popular environmentalism and understanding the possibilities that environmentalism creates for deepening democracy. Mr. Morris-Jung is a Trudeau Foundation Scholar and Doctoral Fellow of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. He has published on links between poverty and biodiversity conservation and the politicized pragmatics of resettlement from protected areas.

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Joe Ageyo

Joe Ageyo is the News Editor of NTV and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Environmental Governance at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Mr. Ageyo is widely acclaimed as having pioneered Environmental Journalism on television in Kenya. He was the first TV journalist to start a regular slot for an environmental feature, and in 2001 was declared “Environmental Journalist of the Year” by the National Media Trust in recognition of his series of features on the pollution of the Nairobi River and the Sanitation Crisis in the Kibera slums. In 2002 he was one of 60 journalists to win a World Bank competition to attend the WSSD in Johannesburg. He has covered many international meetings including the 11th & 12th Sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, the 3rd World Water Forum and the 2007 CITES Conference of Parties meeting, and in 2009 he produced a documentary on global environmental governance for the GEG Project. Mr. Ageyo holds degrees in Agribusiness Management and Mass Communication, as well as a certificate in Advanced Studies in Environmental Diplomacy.

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John Lewis


John Lewis is the President and founder of Intelligent Futures, a consulting firm dedicated to providing lasting sustainability solutions.

For over 4 years, Mr. Lewis has concentrated on community sustainability planning. He has been involved in imagineCALGARY (winner of the 2007 FCM-CH2M Hill Award for Sustainable Community Planning & the 2007 AUMA Sustainable Community Planning: Innovator Community Award) from its inception. Engaging over 18,000 citizens, this project is regarded as the world’s largest civic visioning process. Mr. Lewis is currently leading the Canadian Institute of Planners-sponsored project to develop a climate change adaptation plan for Iqaluit, Nunavut. A former city planner in Calgary and the primary author of Calgary’s Transit Oriented Development Policy Guidelines, he has experience with education, development and land use planning. Mr. Lewis’s dedication to professional and academic learning is seen by his work in course development and instruction in the Urban Studies Program and the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary, and in the City Program at Simon Fraser University. He is a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and is a LEAD (Leadership in Environment and Development) Fellow.

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Kristen Hite


Kristen Hite is an attorney in the Climate Program of the Center for International Environmental Law.

Prior to joining CIEL, she worked at Environmental Defense Fund to help craft laws and policies to channel international financial flows towards more sustainable development. From 2005-2007 she served as Assistant District Counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans, assisting with rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina. While in law school, Hite was an executive editor of the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review for which she co-directed a symposium on International Responses to the Environmental Consequences of War. A founding member of SustainUS, she has been a spokesperson for international youth during UN negotiations on sustainable development.

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Maria Eugenia Di Paola


Maria Eugenia Di Paola is an attorney specializing in Natural Resources Law; a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Buenos Aires School of Law (UBA), Argentina; and the Executive Director of the Foundation for Environment and Natural Resources (FARN).

Ms. Eugenia Di Paola has worked on the legal and institutional aspects of environmental impact studies, and served as an advisor to the Environmental Authority of the City of Buenos Aires. From 2002 to October 2007 she was the Director of the Area of Research and Training of FARN, a 24 year-old NGO based in Buenos Aires which focuses on institutional and legal issues related to the environment and sustainable development. Ms. Eugenia Di Paola is also the former head of the Environmental Law Clinic of FARN. Ms. Eugenia Di Paola teaches Environmental Law at the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires, the National School for Judicial Training, as well as graduate level courses. She is a member of the IUCN Environmental Law Commission and serves as co-chair of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Review FARN- La Ley, having published more than 16 articles, co-authored 4 books, and edited 7 books on legal environmental issues.

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Negusu Aklilu


Negusu Aklilu is originally trained in biology and ecology and later in Environmental Diplomacy. He has been working as environmental campaigner for the last 15 years and currently heads a vibrant local NGO, Forum for Environment. He has played a leading role in advocating for environmental rights in Ethiopia, an example of which is the successful campaign to save an elephant sanctuary from encroachment by a foreign investment. He has also led two campaigns in the run up to COP15 in Copenhagen. One is the African Climate Appeal, a politico-moral call by key African environmental activists that was initiated by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. The other campaign was entitled America, Take the Lead Now, in which he sent a petition signed by about 2 million Ethiopians to the US government. Currently, he co-chairs the Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate change comprising 55 organizations. He is a representative of CSOs in Ethiopia’s National Environment Council. He has authored a number of articles on a range of environmental issues and serves as editor of a local environmental magazine, as well as co-editor of the new Ethiopian Environment Review. Having led many local campaigns in defense of the environment and social justice, his passion for these issues is gradually expanding to other parts of Africa. Some of his other initiatives in Ethiopia include the national Green Award Program, the annual Ethiopian Environment Review and the new local Green Tax initiative. A local media outlet honored him as one of the 25 most influential Ethiopians in 2009/10.

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Philip Osano


Philip OsanoPhilip Osano is a PhD Candidate in Geography at McGill University, Canada, specializing in payments for ecosystem services among pastoralists in drylands ecosystems in Africa.

Prior to his PhD studies, Mr. Osano managed an African-wide project at BirdLife International African Partnership Secretariat to promote the use of renewable natural resources through community participation in biodiversity policy and implementation. He worked for the Danish 92 Group to manage an information platform/website supporting NGO networks in 25 countries in Latin America, South-East Asia, and Africa, on a project to increase participation of civil society in the Rio + 10 summit and beyond. Mr. Osano has also focused on supporting youth involvement, having served on the UNEP Youth Advisory Council. As the Co-Chair of the Youth Conference on Environment and Development hosted by the Swedish Government in 2001, he guided 217 young leaders from 90 countries to draft a youth resolution for the WSSD. Currently, he is responsible for the Youth Encounter for Sustainability (YES) Africa course. A Sauvé Scholar at McGill in 2006-2007, Mr. Osano is the Co-editor of “Young People, Education and Sustainable Development: Exploring the Principles, Perspectives and Praxis” published in April 2009.

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Pingjian Yang


Pingjian Yang is currently a PhD candidate in Environmental Planning & Management at the School of Environmental Sciences & Engineering at Peking University, Beijing.

Mr. Yang is the founder and president of the newly established Institute of Environmental Public Policy at Peking University. He was one of the main initiators of the school’s Clean Development Mechanism Club, where he served as associate chairman and chairman from October 2006 – September 2007. He was also the special assistant to the Chairman of the Peking University Environment Fund. Since 2005, he has taken charge of, or participated in more than 10 projects and studies related to climate change and sustainable development, sponsored by organizations such as the UNDP, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Mr. Yang’s research concentrates on climate change and environmental mechanism design which has led to the publication of 7 high quality academic papers in SCI and Core Chinese Academic Journals.

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Ting Xu


Ting Xu, PhD, is affiliated with the School of International Relations, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing. She used to be doctoral candidate at Shanghai International Studies University and visiting PhD student in the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto’s Munk Center of International Studies, with the support of the China Scholarship Council.

Her research interest is in global environmental governance, with a particular emphasis on the politics of climate change. In addition to her Masters thesis, entitled “Environmental Policy and Environmental Diplomacy of European Union”, (2007) Ms. Xu has published several papers in Chinese academic journals including The Characteristic and Role of Japan’s Environmental Diplomacy (2006) and The Historical Significance of UN Environment and Development Conference (2007). She has presented papers at several conferences and symposiums, most recently regarding the“G8+5’s Role in Global Climate Governance and China’s Participation.” Her PhD dissertation focuses on Global Climate Governance.

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