Plenary 1: Welcome Remarks and Forum Objectives

Aurelia MickoAurelia Micko joined USAID/RDMA in July 2015.  She has been with USAID since 2005 and has worked in Indonesia, the Philippines and Washington D.C. Directly prior to joining RDMA, she was the Deputy Director of the Environment Office in USAID/Indonesia.  Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Micko worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Program Office where she worked on early attempts at climate services and climate change adaptation efforts in the U.S., Africa and the Pacific Islands.  Ms. Micko has a B.S in Biochemistry/Biophysics from Northwestern University and a M.A. in Environmental Management from the Yale University School of Forestry. She is passionate about environmental issues.

Norio Saito has more than 24 years of professional experience with a particular focus on loan and TA processing and implementation in the urban and water sectors, and additional experience in policy and strategy development, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and environmental and social safeguards. From 2008 to 2016, Dr. Saito worked extensively on urban and water projects in South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka), including supporting an innovative large-scale water supply scheme, urban projects linking governance performance and infrastructure support, urban climate resilience, and output-based aid to provide service access to the poor.

Dr. Saito holds a Ph. D in Environmental Science (on urban climate change adaptation in Asia) from Ibaraki University, Japan; a Master's degree in Environmental Economics and Policy from Duke University, USA; and a Bachelor's degree in Geography from the University of Tokyo, Japan. Prior to joining ADB in 2008, he worked for 15 years in the Japan Bank for International Cooperation/Japan International Cooperation Agency (JBIC/JICA).

Valerie CliffSince February 2017, Ms. Valerie Cliff (USA) has served as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director to the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP) at UNDP.

Valerie has previously served as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Djibouti, from December 2014 to February 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Valerie was the Deputy Director, Office of Financial Resources Management in the Bureau of Management, 2009-2014; UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait, 2007-2009; Chief, RBAS Management Service Center 2005-2006; and Resource Manager for the Regional Bureau of the Arab States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and the CIS, 1999-2004.  Valerie’s earlier assignments include serving as Assistant Resident Representative in the UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People from 1995-1998; Civil Affairs Officer for the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994; and Programme Officer in Cambodia from 1991-1993.  Prior to joining UNDP, Valerie was Associate Economist at Daiwa Securities America, NY; Research Associate at the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Washington DC; and Volunteer for the International Rescue Committee in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Valerie holds a B.A. in Economics from Amherst College, USA and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, USA.

Bikram GhoshBikram Ghosh has more than 15 years’ experience specializing in urban governance and climate change adaptation. As the current Chief of Party of the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific program, he leads a regional program to assist governments across 27 countries in Asia and the Pacific to improve access to climate change adaptation finance. Mr. Ghosh has served in multiple technical and management roles leading projects in urban governance and management, capacity building, water, sanitation, infrastructure and climate change adaptation. Mr. Ghosh has significant field experience in central and west Asia, south Asia, southeast Asia and across the 17 Pacific small island developing countries. Mr. Ghosh has a Masters degree in Public Administration with a Certificate in Public Finance from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA and Bachelors degree in Urban Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India.

Session 2: Setting the Scene – Urban Resilience and Finance is Asia-Pacific

Natalie PhaholyothinNatalie Phaholyothin oversees the overall health portfolio in Asia for the Rockefeller Foundation (RF). She manages the Transforming Health Systems (THS) program which aims to support countries towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Natalie works closely with THS’s partners to build capacity, generate evidence for policy making and create sustainable partnerships and networks for health systems strengthening and UHC. She is also involved in overseeing a growing global network of UHC practitioners, the Joint Learning Network (JLN), through a trust fund to the World Bank.

Through RF’s pioneering Disease Surveillance Networks (DSN) initiative, she facilitated the institutionalization of a regional disease surveillance network – the Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance Network (MBDS) which is now the MBDS Foundation. The MBDS Foundation and the network in which it serves have been instrumental in building capacities at cross border areas in the Greater Mekong Sub-region to monitor, track and prevent infectious disease outbreaks through community engagement and innovative solutions. Natalie serves as RF’s Asia Lead for The Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), a joint collaboration between USAID-SIDA-RF which aims to build greater resilience to the most poor and vulnerable populations in the Horn of the Sahel and South and Southeast Asia.

Joseph D'CruzJoseph (JD) D'Cruz is the Asia-Pacific Regional Team Leader for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development at the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. Leading a team of specialist advisors and working through a regional network of 24 UNDP Country Offices, JD provides policy and technical advisory support to Asia-Pacific countries on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, national development plans and processes, inclusive and equitable growth strategies, and urbanization.

As a senior member of the UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, JD also leads UNDP's Global Task Team on Urbanization, through which UNDP is currently defining its global policy framework and programming support for sustainable cities and urbanization, within the context of the 2030 Agenda and SDG Goal 11. The Task Team brings together UNDP experts from across all specialist areas of work, at headquarters, regional hubs and UNDP's network of Country Offices.

JD was born in Malaysia, and educated in Malaysia, Australia and the United Kingdom. He holds degrees in politics, economics and international development.

Sasank VemuriSasank Vemuri is an Urban Resilience Specialist currently working for the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF) at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). He is a climate change specialist with extensive experience across the Asia-Pacific Region in preparing policies, implementing projects and developing local capacities that support communities in building resilience to the impacts of climate change. His professional expertise lies at the nexus of community-oriented climate change project formulation and finance. Prior to joining UCCRTF in 2015, Sasank worked for 6 years at the GIZ.

In addition to having lived and worked in the US and Germany, Sasank has experience working in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. He has designed and conducted courses on Cities and Climate Change and Financing Urban Infrastructure with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore and CITYNET in Seoul. Sasank has been an invited as an expert panelist to speak at various organizations and universities on urban resilience in Asia including the OECD in Paris, the UN in New York and the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Sasank is a Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellow for Social Innovation. 

Dhana YantaragowitMr. Dhana Yantaragowit has served as Deputy Director, Department of Local Administration, Ministry of Interior, Thailand since November 2016. Mr. Yantaragowit has many years of distinguished service in promoting and supporting the work of local administrative organizations (LOAs) through institutional development and local development planning in order to strengthen the capacity and efficiency of local administrative organizations in the area of public service provision. Mr. Yantaragowit has played an important role in developing policy and building the capacity of all local government units in Thailand. Prior to his term as Deputy Direct, he served as Director of the Local Personnel Development division; Director of the Local Planning Development Division; Director of the Bureau of Social, Economic and Public Participation Development; and, Director of the Bureau of Local Administration Development.

Mr. Yantaragowit holds a degree in political science from Thammasart University and has received recognition as an outstanding civil servant.

Session 3: From Risks and Vulnerabilities to Strategy – World Café

Taimur KhiljiTaimur Khilji works as a Regional Urban Development Specialist at UNDP's Regional Hub in Bangkok, Thailand. He has previously worked in a variety of roles at UNDP, including as speechwriter to the Assistant Secretary General, Regional Director Asia and Pacific.  While his focus area is urban development, he has advised more than 15 Governments across Asia on a range of development issues, including: the SDGs, Private Sector Development, Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Disaster Risk Reduction, Inequality, and Youth Employment.

Prior to joining UNDP, Taimur opened a primary school in Islamabad, Pakistan that continues to provide education and basic health services to children. Taimur completed his BA from Williams College (USA) and Exeter College, University of Oxford in Mathematics and Philosophy and his MA from the New School University (USA) in Economics.

Keith BettingerDr. Keith Bettinger serves as team leader for capacity building for the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Project.  In this capacity he develops knowledge products and instructional materials to support resilience planning and project design.  As a Fulbright-Mellon and Sumitro Fellow, Dr. Bettinger earned his PhD in Geography from the University of Hawaii.  He has conducted research on climate change adaptation as well as governance and conservation in several countries in Southeast Asia, and has published several articles and chapters on topics ranging from climate change adaptation to indigenous custom and law to the political ecology of conservation.

Ratri SutartoRatri Sutarto is Mercy Corps Indonesia Director for Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN). ACCCRN is a community of practice platform supporting Inclusive Urban Climate Change Resilience initiatives across Asia. Ratri Sutarto previously managed the ACCCRN program in Indonesia, working closely with the local and national government and stakeholders. She has started working in urban climate resilience field since 2010. She is an environmental engineer graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia and continues her studies in climate change impact and sustainability before joining Mercy Corps in 2010.

Olga ChepelianskaiaOlga Chepelianskaia has worked on sustainable and climate resilient urban development in Asian and European cities for over 10 years. After a full time engagement with the French government and the United Nations, she now provides consulting services to international institutions, governments and NGOs. Her expertise covers project management, policy and city planning, climate change adaptation and mitigation, linking infrastructure projects to finance, capacity building, PR and communication. At present, she assists UNDP BRH with developing a Regional Urban Climate Resilience Initiative. Her passion for ancient architecture inspired her to recently launch the Indian Built Heritage: Socio-Economic Asset of Sustainable Urban Development program in India with INTACH.

Joy BaileyJoy Bailey is the GIZ Senior Advisor on Environment and Resilience at the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA). Her main responsibility is to embed into CDIA core processes the environment and resilience safeguards. She also takes the lead in collaborating with partners to develop knowledge products and to deliver capacity development  activities. Previously, Joy has worked in India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand while engaged with ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, and in Sri Lanka and Maldives while affiliated with Clean Air Asia. Joy is an urban planner and holds an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford.

Amit ProthiAmit Prothi has practiced in North America, Asia and Africa on projects and studies funded by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Rockefeller Foundation, US Government, and numerous municipalities and private sector clients. For nearly 20 years, he has led or worked with multidisciplinary teams on thematic areas that relate directly to urban resilience, including environmental planning, urban policy, land use planning, natural resource management, flood management, disaster risk reduction, housing, and community development. Amit has worked in the private sector, including in the role of a Manager for Sustainability Planning at AECOM, and in the public sector, as an environmental and land use planner for a regional planning agency in the US. Recently, as team leader, Amit was responsible for leading a diverse team of hydrologists, wetland specialists, social development experts, environmental specialists and economists to prepare an integrated urban flood management project for an ADB loan approval in Haidong City in China. At 100RC, in his role as Associate Director, Amit works directly with cities in the Asia Pacific region, including Da Nang, Can Tho, Surat, Singapore and Seoul, to promote urban resilience. 

Amit holds a dual Masters in Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi. In addition, Amit was a MIT Presidential Fellow and pursued doctoral studies (all but thesis) in urban studies and planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Sasank Vemuri, Bikram Ghosh

Session 4: Defining the Resilience Planning and Project Preparation Process

Saengroj SrisawaskraisornSaengroaj Srisawaskraisorn is the climate adaptation sub-team lead, responsible for climate change adaptation programs at the USAID Regional Mission for Asia. He has managed various environmental programs, ranging from climate finance, to urban resilience, water and sanitation, urban governance, and climate adaptation. He has diverse background in urban and regional planning, international relations, environment, and journalism. He has more than 16 years of international development experience in Asia. He is currently the project manager for the USAID Adapt Asia Pacific project, which supports governments in 27 countries in Asia and the Pacific to gain accelerated access to finance from climate funds. 

Sasank Vemuri, Olga Chepelianskaia

Session 5: Approaches to Urban Resilience

Fiona LordFiona Lord is the Global Green Growth Institute’s Country Representative in Cambodia.  Since 2015, she has been facilitating implementation of GGGI’s Country Program in Cambodia, focusing on green city development, sustainable energy access, and national planning for green growth. Before joining GGGI, she has worked for the Australian Government on climate change financing, sustainable development and international cooperation on climate change since 2008.  Fiona’s professional interests lie in the field of environmental management and international development, particularly in Southeast Asia. She holds a Masters in Environmental Management and Development from the Australian National University, and law degree with Honors from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

Will SymonsWill Symons is a Technical Director with 17 years’ experience assisting clients to deliver more sustainable infrastructure, and urban development that is more resilient to the increasing shocks and stresses of the 21st Century. Will leads AECOM’s Asia-Pacific resilience practice area and is currently delivering technical advisory services for the Rockefeller Foundation across the region, under the auspices of their ‘100 Resilient Cities’ initiative. This has involved convening large workshops, working with other donor/IFI agencies on project development and leading the creation of resilience strategies for Bangkok, Jakarta, Singapore, Wellington, Christchurch, Melbourne and Sydney. Will also led the development of a risk screening and asset prioritisation tool which is being used across all 100 cities taking part in the initiative, and developed the capacity building programme being used to train in-country staff. Will has also led large sustainability, procurement and climate risk studies as part of transport and mining infrastructure development projects, across Oceania and in the UK and France, delivered a private sector engagement guide for the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and supported the governments of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to better understand the cost/benefit of climate adaptation investment. He also recently undertook a review of all of the Singapore Government’s climate risk and adaptation plans for their Ministry of National Development, is leading a capacity building project for the Victorian Government’s public transport agency, a climate risk assessment of all Australian Department of Defence training areas and the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Victorian Government’s climate change adaptation plan.

Milag San Jose-BallesterosMilag San Jose- Ballesteros serves as the Regional Director for Asia- East, Southeast and Oceania at C40.  In this role, she is responsible for engaging and supporting C40 member cities in the region as well as for facilitating collaboration between cities across the global C40 network. 

Milag has more than 20 years’ experience working on environmental governance and policy, natural resources management and sustainable development.  Prior to joining C40, Milag served as Regional Environmental Governance Specialist with the Environmental Cooperation-Asia (ECO-Asia) program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where she led programmatic partnerships between national and sub-national environmental agencies, and provided technical support to pilot initiatives covering topics including urban environmental issues, compliance and enforcement mechanisms, climate co-benefits and public participation. In this capacity, she worked with 16 countries across Asia and coordinated engagements with various organizations and partners including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the UN Environment Programme.  Prior to this, she previously served as a Senior Program Officer with the US-Asia Environmental Partnership promoting clean technology, and as Executive Director of the Philippine member of Friends of the Earth International, managing 4 offices across the country.  A native of Manila, Philippines, she has been based in Singapore since 2008.

Jeremy PrepsciusBSR’s Vice President for the Asia-Pacific region, Jeremy Prepscius is in charge of serving and expanding BSR’s member base in the region and integrating their work in the region with BSR’s global approach. Jeremy has extensive experience in supply chain management, business integration, external communications, government relations and compliance operations. Prior to joining BSR in 2006, he spent more than 10 years on equipment sourcing, footwear production and corporate responsibility for Nike, Inc. He also worked in China for five years as the North Asia Regional Compliance Director, covering CSR issues in Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Jeremy holds an M.S. in Economic Development from the Patterson School of Diplomacy, and an M.S. in International Commerce from the University of Kentucky.

Mohamed ZaqyMr. Mohamed Zaqy, M.P. has 15 years’ experience spanning government bodies, telecommunications and media, healthcare, and financial institutions. He has led and managed various business consulting, IT transformation, and systems integration engagements throughout his career. He currently leads business development for the Asean GPS at Earnest & Young. Prior to joining EY, Mr. Zaqy spent several years in sales management and business development managing global and local sales teams in the areas of systems integration, application development, cloud, and managed services for technology infrastructure. He also serves as a Member of Parliament in his native Singapore, where he serves as Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications and Information.

Mr. Zaqy holds Masters of Science in Financial Engineering and Bachelors of Engineering degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He also holds a certificate in computational finance from Carnegie Mellon University.

Session 6: Case Studies in Preparing Urban Projects

Marcin SzpakMarcin Szpak – Founder and Managing Director of DS Consulting, UNDP municipal finance expert, PhD in economics (financing of infrastructure investment), Masters Degree in Management from Gdansk University, and Advanced Management Program - IESE Business School at University of Navarra
Marcin previously worked for 7 years at the energy utility company Energa - as a director responsible for strategy, investments, development, M&A, regulations and innovation. For 5 years he served as a Deputy Mayor of the City of Gdansk, responsible for investment, economic development, environmental protection, IT and public procurement. As a founder and CEO of DS Consulting, he has implemented dozens of projects in the fields of municipal and utility finance, investment, strategy and restructuring. 

Edy BrotoisworoDr. Edy Brotoisworo is Environmental Safeguards Specialist. He was with the Asian Development Bank for 19 years where he was responsible in incorporating environmental safeguards into the project development in Asia and Pacific countries. He left ADB as Principal Environmental Safeguard Specialist. His work also covers mainstreaming climate change adaptation into project development and manage several technical assistance projects on environment, climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness. He is currently supporting Indonesian Climate Change Trust Fund (since 2015) as part time consultant supported by Adapt Asia-Pacific.

Joy Bailey, Olga Chepelianskaia, Sasank Vemuri, Amit Prothi
Resource Persons
Thipparat NoppaladaromMrs. Thipparat Noppaladarom is an advisor to the Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI) at the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (Thailand) as well as an Advisor and Sub-Committee Member at the National Health Commission Office. Mrs. Noppaladarom has more than 40 years of experience in the area of housing development and urban planning in Thailand. She has previously served as Director of the Community Organizations Development Institute and the Housing Policy & Planning Division of the Thai National Housing Authority.
Mrs. Noppaladarom holds a M.S. degree in Urban Planning from the Asian Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Chulalongkorn University as well as a Certificate of Housing & Planning Studies from the Institute for Housing Studies in the Netherlands. She has also attended trainings and seminars throughout Asia, including in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan.

John TaylorJohn Taylor is an urban planner and UNDP's International Project Manager for the National Urban Poverty Reduction Programme in Bangladesh. This project works to reduce poverty and build climate resilience in 35 cities across Bangladesh.

Session 7: The Pitch – Investing in Urban Resilience from the Financier’s Perspective

Varih SovyMuhammad Varih Sovy is an Adaptation Resilience Window Coordinator with the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF), in which capacity he collaborates with local- and national-level stakeholders as well as local and national government bodies on adaptation programs. Prior to his work with ICCTF, Mr. Sovy worked at UNDP as a Measurement, Reporting and Verification specialist for governance, environment, and socio-economic impacts from the REDD+ Indonesia program. Mr. Sovy has also worked for the United Nations University and the local NGO, WALHI (the National Green Partnership).

Mr. Sovy holds a Masters of Science in Environmental Science from Universitas Gadjah Mada, and a Bachelor of Law from UIN Yogyakarta.

Rohini KohliRohini Kohli (India) works as Lead Technical Specialist, National Adaptation Plans, in the Resilience and Sustainable Development team at UNDP. Since 2013, she has been engaged in providing technical support to partner countries to advance their efforts on integrating climate change into national and sub-national development planning processes.  In this role, she manages UNDPs portfolio of global projects which include the NAP Global Support Programme and “Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme” in coordination with UNEP and FAO.  Rohini has worked for over 15 years on issues related to poverty, environment, gender and climate change, with a specific focus on data, policy and planning.

She has substantively contributed to Asia-Pacific Human Development Reports – including on  climate change “2012 One Planet to Share” and on gender “2010 Power, Voice and Rights”. Her work has taken her to many countries in the Asia and the Pacific, Arab States and East Africa. She has worked in India, the Sudan, Sri Lanka, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Thailand.   Rohini holds an M.Phil. in Sociology from Delhi University and a Master’s Degree  in Development Studies with a focus on poverty and environment from the London School of Economics.

Mr. Dhana Yantaragowit, Dr. Norio Saito

Session 8: Charting the Course Ahead


Joy Bailey, Olga Chepelianskaia, Will Symons

Resource Persons

Thongchai RoachanakananDr. Thongchai Roachanakanan has more than 35 years’ experience as a planner, architect, and academic in the field of architecture and urban planning. In his current position he serves as an expert in the field of Urban Architecture and Planning for the Thai Ministry of Interior Department of Town and Country Planning. In a more than 30 year career with the Thai Interior Ministry, Dr. Thongchai has also held the positions of Director of the Center of Earthquake Disaster Watch and Studies and Deputy Head of the Office of Climate Change Convention.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Thongchai has published five academic books and more than 100 research papers, including recent papers on, Urban Planning and Industrial Cluster (2016) and Cities and Disaster Risk in Thailand (2017). He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Geography from the Australian National University as well as a Master’s of Architecture from Katholieke Universiteit (Belgium) and a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Chulalongkom University (Thailand).

Nguyen QuangDr. Nguyen Quang joined the United Nations Human Settlements Development Programme (UN-Habitat) in mid-2005 and was appointed as the UN-Habitat Programme Manager in Viet Nam in July 2007.

As an architect and urban planner and manager, he has more than 30 years’ experience working on practical project research and implementation in different areas of urban/rural planning and management, infrastructure development, low income housing, environmental and heritage conservation, multi-sector investment planning, poverty reduction and local economic development.

During the World Urban Forum 7 in April 2014 (Medellin, Colombia), Dr. Quang was awarded with the IHS Alumni International Urban Professional Award 2014 for his excellency and leadership in Urban Management and Development.

Session 9: The Way Forward – to a More Resilient Future

Chris La Fargue recently joined USAID's Regional Development Mission for Asia to lead their Climate Change team, bringing more than seventeen years of international development experience across several sectors. During his previous tour in Madagascar (2013 - 2016), he served as Office Director for the mission's Food Security and Disaster Assistance program, where he helped develop partnerships with McCormick Spices and L'Ecofruit to scale up their sourcing of organic products and train smallholder farmers on sustainable agroforestry practices.  Recently he also supported a large emergency food relief operation in the South of Madagascar affecting over a million people suffering from extreme food insecurity.  Chris has also worked in Washington with the Office of Transition Initiatives (2010 - 2013), was the Democracy and Governance Office Director in West Bank-Gaza (2008 - 2010), and led the early childhood education program at USAID/Bangladesh (2006 - 2008).  Prior to joining USAID, Chris was a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and worked in over 22 countries on international development projects. He holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University in Communication, Culture and Technology, a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University and a French teaching degree from the Université de Lausanne, Switzerland.

Dr. Norio Saito, Joseph (JD) D'Cruz , Amit Prothi