Xian Zhou serves as the Regional Officer in C40’s China office. In this role, she helps coordinate and facilitate the delivery of the Central East Asia regional team covering member cities across the specified regions.
Xian has rich experience in working in a multi-cultural and cross-functional environment, including diplomatic missions and representative offices of foreign government agencies in China. Before joining C40, Xian worked as a Senior Immigration Officer for the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, where she built cooperative relationships with internal and external stakeholders to develop trust and mutual understanding of relevant policies and procedures. Before that, she worked for Lesotho Embassy to China focusing on partnership development and executive support. Xian also planned and managed high-profile events at China World Trade Center. Xian holds a Master’s Degree from Beijing Institute of Technology.
Jophillene serves as C40’s City Advisor, Climate Change Mitigation for Dar es salaam City in Tanzania. His role involves engaging city officials in implementing the Climate Action Plan, focusing on Mitigation/GHG reducing actions and fulfilment of C40 Leadership Standards.
Prior to C40, he worked with Climate Action Network (CAN) Tanzania striving to engage the private sector, marginalized groups, civil society organizations, the national government and relevant stakeholders to advocate for climate actions in Tanzania. Recently, as a member of several National technical committees, Jophillene ensured reflection and alignment of climate change related international frameworks while developing the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) 2021-2026; National Five Years Development Plan 2021-2026; the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and the Bagamoyo District Renewable Energy Action Plan (2020-2025).
For more than 11 years, Jophillene worked with various organizations in Tanzania and Sub-Saharan countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia, Togo, Namibia, DRC, Djibouti and Zimbabwe to articulate social and environmental sustainability aspects. Jophillene holds a MSc. (Environmental Science and Engineering) from the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology and a BSc. (Wildlife Science and Conservation) from the University of Dar es salaam.
Surya Srinivas Boddu is an architect and urban designer who has eight years of comprehensive professional experience in the field of architecture, urban design, planning and urban conservation, across various cities and towns of India and in Paris.
Before joining C40, he worked with AECOM Delhi and most recently as a consultant to the Government of Andhra Pradesh. As part of his professional experience he has been involved in large-scale public sector master planning, urban design, mobility, social infrastructure and retrofitting projects as part of the smart cities initiative with a focus on place-making, community participation, climate-responsive, people-centric design and emphasis on the public realm.
Surya is an amateur photographer, with an eye for cities, people, public spaces and urban landscapes. He enjoys travelling and is a movie buff. He believes in experiences and enjoys the journey.
Based in Bengaluru, India, Sanjana is the Regional Officer for the South and West Asian region. She joins after working with McKinsey & Co. as a Research Analyst for the Asia-Australia region where she worked with clients in technology, sustainability and public policy.
Prior to this, she completed a Masters in Development Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in Chennai, India, where her thesis was on the governance of urban wetlands. She has also volunteered at her local FridaysforFuture chapter for over three years, as part of the youth climate movement.
In her free time, she enjoys watercolour painting, listening to audiobooks, and is slowly getting into cooking.
Charlton serves as Technical Adviser for Energy & Buildings (UKAID CAI Programme) in Southeast Asia. In this role, he provides expert assistance in refining climate actions that are appropriate to the local context of each participating C40 city in Southeast Asia. Before joining C40, he was the Technical Expert of the Austrian scientific association, GrAT Center for Appropriate Technology, leading professionals in the Philippines and Thailand in energy, water, and waste audits for an EU-funded sustainable tourism project.
He has supported local and regional governments in the Philippines by holding national consultancy positions for ICLEI and RTI International, spearheading the development of an energy efficiency and conservation planning guidebook while building capacities of local authorities and formulating inclusive innovation case studies, respectively. Previously, he worked for a UNFCCC-registered waste-to-energy project to report potential, tradable carbon credits and co-supervise the power plant’s operations.
A graduate of a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Mapúa University, Charlton is also a Certified Energy Auditor by the Philippine Department of Energy as well as an ecotourism professional trained by the UN Institute for Training and Research.
Tawanda serves as the Technical Adviser (Waste) for the Climate Action Implementation Programme in Africa. In this role, he provides technical assistance to the C40 cities of Accra, Addis Ababa, Dar Es Salam, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Tshwane in implementing plans in line with the Paris Agreement.
Prior to joining C40, Tawanda worked for the GreenCape Sector Development Agency in South Africa, as an Expert Analyst (Circular Economy). His focus ranged from the development of Decision Support Tools aimed at encouraging municipalities in taking a systems approach for the development of integrated waste management; assisting municipalities and the private sector with navigation of the legislative environment for the development of waste projects; conducting material flow analyses in order to identify opportunities for circular economy interventions. In addition, he facilitated engagements between the City of Cape Town and Producer Responsibility Organisations in an effort to synergise efforts for diversion of waste, and support integration of the informal sector as the Extended Producer Regulations came into effect.
His experience also included working on the Digital Global Biogas Cooperation (DiBiCoo), aimed at supporting the development of biogas projects by linking European technology providers with emerging and developing markets – focusing on Argentina, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia and South Africa.
Tawanda holds an M.Sc and B.Sc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, where he focused on biodiesel production, and Fischer-Tropsch process for chemical production from syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen).
Fantu is C40 City Advisor for Addis Ababa, based in Addis Ababa.
Prior to joining C40, Fantu worked as Climate Change mainstreaming Team Leader and Senior Ecosystem/Biodiversity Researcher, Environmental pollution researcher and Project Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Addis Ababa Environmental Protection Authority. In these roles, she coordinated the mainstreaming activities of climate change adaptation and mitigation actions into the city sector’s action plan, and delivered training for city officials in different departments and sectors.
Fantu is a focal person for C40’s air quality technical assistance programme, performing different researches on biodiversity and Environmental pollution. She has published research on the assessment of heavy metal accumulation capacity of selected plant species for phytoremediation along the little Akaki River, case of Addis Ababa. Fantu has worked on additional research to be published on impacts of climate variability on vegetable production nexus climate-smart agricultural technologies long the little Akaki river of Addis Ababa.
Fantu also served as Reform Officer at Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute and as a high school teacher in a private school in Addis Ababa. Fantu holds an MSc in Environmental and Climate Change Management from Civil Service University, a BSc in Biology from Addis Ababa University and a Diploma from Kotebe College of Teachers Education.
Jess Kavonic is C40’s Head of Implementation for Africa. In this role, she supports the African region cities in accelerating the implementation of the most impactful climate actions, and in facilitating learning from their peers across other C40 cities. She works closely with teams across C40 as well as other city and climate organisations in the region to ensure cities have access to the most relevant and effective technical assistance. Jess oversees all C40 led delivery programmes offering technical assistance in the region, working with the CSN, CAI, CAPI, Climate Finance and the Business teams.
With an MSc degree in Climate Change and Sustainable Development from the University of Cape Town, her work with local governments started at the City of Cape Town and later with ICLEI Africa where she spent seven years as part of the Climate Change, Energy and Resilience workstream.
She has a background in atmospheric science with more specialised knowledge of climate change and its relationship with a sustainable approach to development. In particular, Jess has managed an array of climate adaptation programmes in African cities, working to improve urban human well-being, build climate resilience, strengthen local sustainability and protect the urban natural asset base in cities through influencing development policies and planning systems.
Lorena is the C40 City Adviser for Lima, Peru. Her role is to liaise with strategic city officials and map the city’s political priorities and needs for climate action implementation; to identify and coordinate the most appropriate C40 programmes, networks and projects to support local climate action implementation; and, to support the rollout of the regional sectoral programme, including identification of priority projects, engagement with political and technical level.
Prior to joining C40, Lorena worked in the Ministry of Environment of Peru’s public administration as a legal specialist on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Previously, Lorena has worked within the energy and the environmental regulator sectors, as a researcher of the climate emergency implementation in the United Kingdom local councils, and as a Fellowship Coordinator at Student Energy. She is a Professor of Sustainable Development and academic researcher at top universities in Peru, and co-founder of the Peru Young Energy Professionals network.
Lorena is a lawyer specialising in environmental law and natural resources from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration in Energy, Technology and Climate Policy from the University College London, UK and a Sustainable Environmental Management Certificate from the University of California, USA.
Kessica is the C40 City Adviser for Quezon City. In this role, she supports the city’s implementation of priority climate actions, helping to mainstream the actions into local governance, policies and structures. She has almost a decade of experience in managing disaster risk reduction and climate action projects. Throughout her career in the development sector, Kessica has focused on enhancing the resilience of cities and municipalities through inclusive and community-based approaches to capacity building, policy formulation, and network building.
Prior to joining C40, she worked for an international think tank and consultancy firm managing projects on design thinking and design sprint for international NGOs and international financial institutions. She also worked previously in the education department of the Philippine national government as part of the team that crafts disaster, climate resilience, and education in emergencies policies for the basic education sector. While working for local and international NGOs, she championed for the rights of children and persons with disability to be included in resilience planning and implementation.
Kessica graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. She also completed a programme on Executive Masters on Disaster Risk and Crisis Management at the Asian Institute of Management.
Khodani has extensive experience in climate change, low carbon transitions, policy advocacy and just transition in sectors such as mining, energy, manufacturing and cities. Prior to joining C40, Khodani worked for an international climate change consulting firm, where she managed energy access projects and was part of a technical team developing low carbon strategies for organisations. Khodani led the delivery of a just transition strategy as part of a global net zero mining roadmap.
Khodani coordinated the WWF’s One Planet City Challenge (OPCC), where she led the recruitment of African cities to participate in the challenge and to report on the CDP platform. She developed a youth engagement program as part of the OPCC, aimed at amplifying youth voices in African cities on issues related to climate change.
Khodani is passionate about integrating social inclusion and just transition in climate change work and amplifying youth voices on issues around climate change. She is a former co-chair and active member of Resilient40, a network of African youth working on climate change. She holds a Master’s degree in Climate Change and Development from the University of Sussex.
Khodani enjoys reading, home gardening, exploring indigenous foods and travelling. She has travelled Africa by reading books from each country and is currently on a mission to visit each country physically.
Njenga serves as City Advisor for Nairobi. In his role, he is responsible for engaging city officials, to ensure the implementation of the Climate Action Plan and the fulfilment of C40’s Leadership Standards.
Njenga is a spatial planner, with a passion for supporting African cities to build resilience against the effects of a rapidly changing climate. Prior to joining C40 Cities, he worked as a Project Manager, at a Nairobi based project management and consultancy firm, where he was responsible for leading the firm’s activities across Sustainable Cities, Industrial Parks and Climate Change. He has also contributed to efforts by the Kenya Forest Service, to develop a park management and resilience strategy for the Nairobi Arboretum and participated in the formation of the Nairobi Arboretum Conservancy Community Forest Association.
Njenga holds a Master’s degree in City Planning and Real Estate Development from the University of Glasgow and a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from United States International University – Africa.
Neema is a Programme Officer in the Climate Action Implementation team. She supports 15 cities in different regions in delivering C40’s UKAID programme at global and regional levels. She has over eight years of rich experience in administration, procurement, logistics, grants administration, coordinating multiple stakeholders and programmes, and providing organisational support.
Before joining C40, Neema was part of the Family Health International -FHI 360, supporting the delivery of a governance programme with a focus on strengthening civil societies globally (SCS Global). She worked on several projects addressing climate change and disaster response, which included enhancing civil society effectiveness, strengthening civic advocacy, promoting independent media and access to information, as well as integrated participatory approaches to social inclusion, transparency and accountability in all sectors.
Neema has worked closely with the government of Kenya, donors and development partners in different international NGOs in Kenya.
As Regions and Engagement Officer, Kiana supports the daily management of C40’s cross-regional work by way of stakeholder engagement, communications, and data analysis.
Before joining C40, she worked as a Graduate Consultant on environmental, social, and governance projects, with clients including the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce. She also worked in public affairs and communications as a trainee for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, where she helped manage the annual OECD Forum.
Kiana holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, including a year at Sciences Po Paris.
Benjamin serves as C40 City Advisor for Chennai and Bengaluru. He is an architect, urban regional planner and urban designer by training with close to a decade of experience working in the fields of spatial planning and policy, mobility, physical infrastructure and environmental management with a strong focus on stakeholder engagement.
Prior to joining C40, Benjamin worked with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), Delhi, and Dutch consultancy firm Royal Haskoning DHV (RHDHV) with practical experience of working with governments across 4 continents (India, Europe, Middle East, and Africa).
While at NIUA, he worked on the preparation of the Master Plan of Delhi 2041, and with RHDHV he worked on the Revised Master Plan of Bengaluru 2031 and greenfield urban extension master plans for Surat, Aurangabad.
Benjamin enjoys preparing maps using creative cartographic methods and research writing with a focus on deep ethnography; he is also a trained musician and plays the keyboard, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, ukelele, and melodica during his free time.
Nikhil serves as C40 City Advisor in Mumbai. Working closely with the C40 Regions and Mayoral Engagement team, he supports Mumbai and Amman cities with their C40 engagements and overall other strategic regional initiatives.
Nikhil has prior work experience focused on climate and low emission development strategies. He joined C40 from ICLEI, South Asia, where he was involved in GHG emission inventories, climate risk and vulnerability assessments, low emission development strategies, climate action planning, integrated water management, on-ground implementation of pilot projects and stakeholder engagements. Prior to this, he has also worked with Ambuja Cements Ltd as an Environmental Engineer and with the Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai) as a Research Engineer.
Nikhil holds a Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Environmental Engineering from Mumbai University and he completed a number of professional courses on environmental management.
As the Deputy Regional Director for South and West Asia, Raina is supporting C40’s efforts in strengthening climate leadership of member cities in the region including delivery of ambitious climate action plans and implementation of high impact actions.
Prior to joining C40, Raina worked with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), India where she supported the Government of India in the development and implementation of the national ClimateSmart Cities Assessment Framework. In her previous roles, she worked with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and served as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Raina has more than 12 years of experience in policy research, capacity building, advocacy and engagement for mainstreaming city-level climate actions. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning, with specialisation in the environment, and is based in New Delhi.
Kate Johnson serves as the Head of US Federal Affairs at C40 Cities. In this role she works with C40 member cities and partners to advance US federal policy that supports cities in achieving their climate goals and support C40’s overall engagement with partners in Washington DC.
Prior to joining C40, Kate served for eight years at the Washington D.C. Department of Energy and Environment where she led an interdisciplinary team charged with achieving D.C.s goal to be carbon neutral and climate resilient.
Prior to her government service, Kate worked for the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy where she launched a program focused on affordable housing and helped to create the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Earlier in her career, Kate held a variety of roles advocating for national climate policy at the Sierra Club and Environment America. Kate holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jing serves as the Sectoral Policy Senior Manager of Regions and Mayoral Engagement team at C40. In this role, she will work closely with C40 China member cities and national and local level research institutions, and oversee pioneer sectoral action development to deliver the C40 China Regional strategy linked to the C40 Business Plan.
Before joining C40, Jing served as assistant secretary-general at a Chinese national industrial association, China Association of Building Energy Efficiency (CABEE). Her focus areas include policy research, analysis, advice, and development for building energy efficiency, green-eco district, and low-carbon city. She also fully supported C40 China Buildings Programme during that period. Before CABEE, Jing performed as a joint postdoc fellow of Tsinghua University and LBNL; her research focuses include climate policy and sustainable development. Before and during the postdoc, Jing also worked at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Jing is a registered Associate Researcher with a PhD in Management Science and Engineering and an MSc in Construction and Project Management, both from Beijing Jiaotong University.
Esther serves as Head of Implementation, Southeast Asia, UKAID Programme. Before joining C40, Esther was the Regional Research and Innovation Coordinator based in British High Commission Singapore, coordinating teams that facilitate the partnerships between the UK government and Southeast Asian governments on ODA programmes and supporting science diplomacy activities.
She previously worked in consultancy, research, and Singapore’s urban planning agency doing land use planning. At AECOM, Esther provided economic and geospatial analyses and helped develop sustainable strategies for smart city developments in Southeast Asia. She holds a Master’s degree in Regional Planning and a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Studies, with a minor in Architecture, from Cornell University.
Tibebu has a total of 13 years of work experiences. He served as an instructor, program coordinator, and consultant in government and non-government institution in Ethiopia. He has worked in partnership with government ministries and international partners such as WRI, UNDP and IIED.
Prior to joining C40, he worked as Climate Change Expert for Echnoserve Consulting – a locally renowned environment and climate change consultant company. While with the consulting company, he assisted a diverse client base in providing advisory services and solution in the area of climate change. One of the well-known projects he has worked on include the development of the Addis Ababa GHG Inventory Report in 2012 using the GPC. This report was done in partnership with WRI and he worked in collaboration with a Technical Working Group comprising representatives from various sectors. During this time, WRI also gave three on-site capacity building training and follow-up webinars.
He also served as a consultant at UNDP in the preparation of climate change adaptation scale-up investment plans for 150 districts in Ethiopia.
Tibebu is an art and nature enthusiast but in his spare time, he also likes reading and spending time with family and friends.
Wenwen Chen serves as Operations Manager, China Office. In this role, she is responsible for managing the Corporate Services deliverables within China.
Prior to joining C40, Wenwen worked as a Program Operation Manager for Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. Before that, Wenwen served as Vice Director for the International Cooperation Department of the Dragon Design Foundation, where she led the Sino-EU collaborations and activities on sustainable design and green technology. She also worked for the first local Fair Trade organisation in China earlier in her career.
Wenwen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture and Ecology from South China Agriculture University and an International MBA from Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, including one semester exchange programme at ESSEC Business School.
Ms. Ying Gao is the Head of Regional Coordination and Partnerships, China. She will take the lead to engage with Chinese cities, support the development and delivery of our China strategy and coordinate from both operation and city engagement perspective to build cross-team synergy to support C40 cities in China. Ying has over ten years of experience in the field of sustainable development, on government partnership development, project management and organizational operation. Prior to joining C40, she worked at Ellen Macarthur Foundation to lead the food initiative in China. She also worked for Chinese Foundation – the Qiaonyu Foundation as well as WWF China where she supported the CEO and Chief Conservation Officer in strategic partnerships development, strategy development, social impact investment, projects management and provided trainings on project management for both internal and external colleagues. She holds a Master’s degree from ESC Rennes School of Business. She is also a member of Conservation Coaches Network.
Yuping Qiu is a Programme Officer, C40 China Buildings Programme, supporting the development and implementation of ambitious citywide building energy efficiency initiatives. Prior to joining C40, Yuping worked as an Advisor at the Danish Energy Agency, part of the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate, where she focused on collaboration with the Chinese government supporting UN sustainability goals. Based in the Department for Global Cooperation, Yuping was in charge of energy policy monitoring, report drafting and policy analysis. In addition, she brings experience from the Royal Danish Embassy in China, where she worked with consular affairs. Yuping holds a master’s degree in International Studies from Aarhus University, Denmark.
Zarina serves as a Senior Manager for the Climate Action Planning Africa Programme, within the Measurement and Planning Team. In this role, she works with African cities to develop ambitious and robust long-term climate action plans that are compatible with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Prior to this, Zarina worked as a C40 City Adviser to Durban, where she supported the City to develop their Climate Action Plan. Prior to joining C40, Zarina worked at the National Business Initiative (NBI) South Africa as a project manager for climate change mitigation, where she managed work on the CDP climate change and water programmes in South Africa. She also worked with companies to build capacity and provide best practice guidance on greenhouse gas reporting. Previously, Zarina worked as a Programme Officer for environmental, water and energy projects at the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), where she managed a low carbon cities project, focusing on the City of Durban. Zarina holds an MSc in Environmental Science and a BSc Honours in Environmental Management, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Shruti Narayan is the C40 Regional Director for South and West Asia. She is based out of New Delhi, India and works closely with city leadership to sustain and scale up C40’s efforts in the region.
Prior to this she was an Upstream Officer with International Finance Corporation’s (IFC, World Bank Group) Asia Pacific Cities Platform and has also led IFC’s Green Building program in South Asia. Shruti has almost 20 years of global work experience specializing in energy efficiency and sustainability. Her work experience also includes Will Alsop Architects in London, Arup in San Francisco and USAID ECOIII in New Delhi, where she has worked with diverse clients such as corporates, developers, institutions, policymakers and donor agencies to identify, design, incorporate and implement sustainable solutions with the goal of reducing resource consumption and maximizing efficiency. In addition, she has also been a faculty member in sustainable design with educational institutions globally such as Stanford University, USA, California College of Arts, USA, and the School of Planning and Architecture in India.
Shuang serves as the Senior Manager of Communications and Strategic Engagement in C40’s China office, to develop the communications function and strengthen the engagement with member cities. In this role, she advocates C40’s impact on external partners and stakeholders, identifies communication opportunities and approaches, leverage two-way communications of cities’ best practices between China and the global audience. Before joining C40, Shuang worked as Program Manager of Giti Group United in Diversity Foundation for 8 years.
She engaged cross-sector leaders to jointly step forward and take on sustainable development challenges through “Innovative Dynamics Education and Action for Sustainability (IDEAS)” leadership programmes with Chinese government, MIT Sloan and Tsinghua University. She also led communication and partnership engagement work from China side for major events hosted by the foundation, identify pathways for the foundation for pre-development of programmes, advocate programme outcomes to relevant government partners. Previously, Shuang worked in the WWF China office for policy research and advocacy, focusing on promoting the Ecological Footprint concept and Green Economy to policymakers as well as wide stakeholders. Shuang holds an MA in International Development from University of East Anglia and a BA from China Agricultural University.
Simon Sambou serves as C40’s City Adviser for Dakar. In this role, he is responsible for providing technical assistance in updating the city’s climate action plan to deliver mitigation and adaptation outcomes and inclusive low-carbon development in line to the Paris Agreement.
Simon has previously worked as a lecturer at the Institute of Environmental Sciences (ISE) and Climate Action Facilitator at the Group of Action and Initiative for an Alternative Development (GAIA). He was responsible for carbon assessment and monitoring at the Project for Sustainable and participatory management of traditional alternative energies (PROGEDE 2). Simon has also worked with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as a Program Officer coordinating the USAID’s Learning Agenda Project “Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI)” in Senegal where he worked closely with local municipalities and as Climate Change Technical Advisor for the development of Green Climate Fund program. He holds a Masters degree in Geography, a MSc degree and PhD in Environmental Sciences from the Institute of Environmental Sciences of Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar (UCAD).
Stelios Diakoulakis joined C40 in April 2018 and he is based in Athens. He is the Deputy Regional Director for Europe and closely works with the Regional Director in providing support to European member cities regarding their overall participation in C40 activities ensuring they benefit from their membership – both at political and technical level – and also comply with C40 Participation Standards. He is responsible for the delivery of projects of strategic importance for C40 such as the cities’ commitment to ambitious climate targets as well as the development and implementation of Deadline 2020 compliant climate action plans. Prior to joining C40, Stelios worked as Senior EU Policy and International Affairs Advisor to the Mayor of Athens. He has significant experience in European policies and institutions having offered his services for many years in the European Parliament and the Greek Foreign Ministry while he has also worked as a consultant at a private company specialised in the development of strategic regional programs and impact assessments in the EU Cohesion Policy framework. He has studied Economics at the Athens University of Economics and Business and holds a master’s degree in European Studies from the University of Reading, UK. He speaks English, French and Greek.
Stephen Otieno serves as Regional Sector Programme Manager (Africa) for the UKAID-funded Urban Climate Action Programme. He joined C40 in 2018, initially working as the Food Systems City Adviser for Nairobi and later transitioned to coordinate C40’s food systems work in Africa as Regional Program Manager. He worked together with city officials and the C40 food team to scope and pilot a flagship regional node for African cities which initiated discussions, identified barriers, and highlighted opportunities for creating resilient and inclusive food systems strategies.
He has also served as Senior Manager, Climate Action Planning for Africa. In this role, he supported C40 cities under the CAP Africa Programme to finalize and deliver city climate action plans and assist with post-CAP planning and mainstreaming actions.
Prior to joining C40 Cities, Stephen was a Research Fellow at the East African Institute of the Aga Khan University, where he coordinated the implementation of an Urban Food Systems project in East Africa funded by Global Affairs Canada. He has previously worked at UNEP’s Department of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA) and the African Conservation Centre.
A recipient of the 2017 Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee scholarship, Stephen is also an alumnus of the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo – Canada, and a past Visiting Research Scholar in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, Canada.
Stephen holds a B.A. in Urban Planning and an M.A. in Environmental Planning & Management from the University of Nairobi. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of Nairobi, focusing on “Environmental performance of food systems,” funded by the Swiss National Research Foundation, University of Bern, and CETRAD-Kenya.
Seneca serves as C40’s Programme Manager, Air Quality and Climate Action Planning. In this role, she works to integrate air quality and air pollution-related health considerations into the C40 Cities climate action planning process. As part of C40’s Air Quality and Climate Action Planning Integration Project, she will be responsible for coordinating the technical air quality impact analyses for seven pilot city projects. Prior to joining C40 Cities, Seneca worked at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as a researcher in the Climate and Air Quality Modelling group, where she worked on projects in both the research and consulting arenas, with a focus on the air quality-climate change linkages that exist within cities and air quality management planning. Previously, Seneca worked as an air quality scientist at the South African Weather Service, where she was responsible for managing data from monitoring networks in South Africa’ nationally declared air quality priority areas and reporting this information to South Africa’s National Department of Environment, Forestries and Fisheries. She was involved in the development and operation of South Africa’s Industrial National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory System. Seneca holds an MSc in Atmospheric Science and a BSc Honours in Geography from the University of the Witwatersrand.
Paula serves as City Adviser for Medellín, Colombia, as part of C40 Climate Action Planning Programme. Prior to joining C40, Paula worked in the public administration for Medellín City as an Environmental Engineer in the Environment Secretary, working to coordinate International cooperation. Previously, Paula worked within the energy sector, developing small hydroelectric plants in Antioquia, Colombia. Paula has experience with sustainable projects such as: environmental education, carbon footprint calculation and research on the impacts of climate change on high mountain ecosystems water supply in Natural National Park Los Nevados, Colombia. Paula is an Environmental Engineer from EIA University, holds a Master’s degree in Hydro Science & Engineering from the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany and an Advanced International Training Program “Climate Change – Mitigation and Adaptation”, Sweden.
Cristina Argudo serves as City Adviser for Quito, Ecuador as part of the Climate Action Planning project in Latin America. She will be responsible for engaging stakeholders, facilitating knowledge transfer with C40 and consultants to provide high quality customized technical assistance and support local efforts for long-term climate action planning in the city.
Before joining C40, Cristina previously worked for 3 years as an Environmental Analyst in the Climate Change department of the Secretary of Environment in Quito. During her time there she worked very closely with sustainability and climate change city networks following the city´s international commitments and facilitating access to technical assistance programs and finance for the implementation of climate action. She participated in the development of the GHG emissions inventory, climate planning with CURB tool and was part of the pilot process for the MER Framework. Furthermore, she was responsible for engaging different stakeholders in climate change participatory processes. Cristina has additional experience in project management and coordination working in international organizations such as the UNDP, and local NGOs.
Cristina holds a MSc in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh and a BSc in Biology and Environmental Sciences from Trent University in Canada. Currently she is undergoing a graduate specialization degree in Cities, Climate Change and Leadership at FLACSO University in Ecuador.
Milag San Jose-Ballesteros serves as the Regional Director for East, Southeast Asia and Oceania at C40. In this role, she is responsible for engaging and supporting C40 member cities in the region as well as facilitating collaboration between cities across the global C40 network. Central to this is working with C40 cities across the region towards ambitious commitments and transformative actions to address climate change. 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. A native of Manila, Philippines, she has been based in Singapore since 2008.
Marie-Josée Houénou is the City Adviser for Abidjan.
Before joining C40, she worked as a senior legal consultant on the implementation of the Nationally-Determined Contribution (NDC) in Côte d’Ivoire focusing on the legal, institutional and financial climate change framework. Prior to that, she supported francophone negotiators during international negotiations – Conference of Parties (COP), related to climate change and biodiversity, in the Francophone Institute for Sustainable Development (IFDD), in Quebec. She has been involved in environmental projects with World Resources Institute as a fellow, with UNESCO, the Ivorian Ministry of Environment, and NGOs.
Passionate about development and empowering communities, she implemented environmental activities related to public sensitization, women and youth engagement, climate change and green initiatives in Africa and other global south countries. These include the Green Pepite Community and the LCOY, local conference of youth on climate change which was accredited by YOUNGO, the youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
She holds a Master’s degree in International and Comparative Environmental Law, a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in business law from Universities of Limoges and Poitiers in France. Marie-Josee is a recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship in Public management in University of Madison, and a beneficiary of the international volunteer program of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.
Maximus is the City Adviser to Lagos where he is providing technical assistance to the City in the development and delivery of Climate Action Plan in line with the Paris agreement.
He has had a long and successful career in Lagos State Government for over 20 years serving in different roles and focusing on climate change, solid waste management, air quality and pollution control, environmental governance and policy, as well as environmental impact assessment. It is under his leadership that Lagos State developed a GHG inventory that is GPC compliant.
Maximus was the first head of Lagos State Climate Change Unit, which successfully implemented climate change mitigation and adaptation projects, including delivering annual Lagos State International Climate Change Summit, which was held for seven consecutive years.
As Head of the Climate Change Unit, Maximus was also responsible for managing relationships with so many climate change programme partners for Lagos State, such as C40, ICLEI, UN Agencies, the World Bank, and civil society groups.
While doing national service, Maximus was a Corper of the year award winner. He is also a Commonwealth Professional Fellow obtained from the Center for Global Eco-Innovation of University of Lancaster. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Nigeria Nsukka and Master’s degree in Environmental Resources Management from University of Lagos. He is a Registered Advertising Practitioner.
Laura Jay serves as Regional Director for North America at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. In this role, she works with C40’s 17 cities in the US and Canada to help advance climate actions, from policies to mitigate emissions to strategies for adapting to climate impacts. Previously, Laura served as the Deputy Regional Director for North America as well as the Land Use Planning Network Manager at C40. Prior to joining the C40, Laura served as a Project Manager at Terrapin Bright Green where she consulted to government agencies, developers and non-profits to create more sustainability policies and designs. She has also worked at the U.S. Green Building Council on governance and strategic planning. Laura has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University in New York and a Bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
Lu serves as Head of the Climate Action Planning China Programme, within the Measurement and Planning Team. In this role, he is responsible for managing the delivery of a programme of technical assistance, guidance and training to C40 cities in China, with the aim of building technical capacity to develop climate action plans that are compatible with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. Prior to joining C40, Lu worked on a PhD project in urban planning at the University of Copenhagen, where he also managed and coordinated international projects and proposals with a focus on sustainability. Lu holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Peking University in Beijing.
Luke Sherlock is responsible for managing the C40 Municipal Buildings Efficiency Network, supporting cities in driving energy efficiency in the buildings they control, as well as managing the C40 China Buildings Programme as part of the Energy and Buildings Technical Assistance Programme. Luke joined C40 from the Aster Group, a social housing provider, where he was the Group Environment Manager responsible for a sustainability plan and Environmental Management System covering more than 27,000 properties. His previous roles included leading the development and implementation of a new sustainability strategy for the Devonshire Group, a diverse privately owned property portfolio, and energy management and sustainability reporting at Burberry, a FTSE 100 company. He holds a Masters degree in Nature, Society & Environmental Policy and a Bachelors degree in Geography, both from the University of Oxford, and is learning to speak Mandarin Chinese.
Manuel Olivera serves as the Regional Director for Latin American cities at C40, after having served six years as the City Director in Bogota. In this position Manuel has supported several projects aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions including methane capture at landfills; traffic light LED retrofitting; diesel fuel quality improvement; and the implementation of the Hybrid Electric Bus Test Programme in Latin America. Manuel has more than 30 years of professional experience at both national and international levels leading multidisciplinary groups, assessing high level decision making, and ensuring programmatic success across several environmental fields. Manuel has worked as a consultant for the Inter American Development Bank, the World Bank, United Nations Development Project, World Wildlife Foundation, private companies, as well as Latin American governments. He has a Master’s degree in Resource Assessment for Development Planning from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and pursued doctoral studies in Development Socioeconomics at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris.
Jingjing Jiang serves as the Sectoral Policy Officer of the C40 China office, within the Regions and Mayoral Engagement Team. In this role, Jingjing mainly works on supporting Chinese cities in developing Green & Thriving Neighborhoods (Net Zero Communities), and she will also supports the team to explore other key sectoral topics in C40 China Region, such as transportation and adaptation.
Jingjing started her journey with C40 in July 2020 and worked as the Project Officer of CAP China Programme for two years, during which she provides a variety of support to Chinese cities of Qingdao and Hangzhou in developing their Climate Action Plans. She also leads the Inclusive Climate Action analysis and events organization for CAP China cities.
Jingjing holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Yale University and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University. Before C40, Jingjing worked as a Brand Consultant with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in China, where she worked on the coordination and implementation of public engagement campaigns about climate change and biodiversity conservation. Jingjing has also worked as a Chinese social media producer with Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC), where she facilitated the planning and organization of YPCCC’s side events during COP23 and helped to promote their work in China on social media.
Judith Neijzen serves as Senior Manager of Engagement and European Public Affairs. In this role, she leads on the support to the Vice Chairs of the C40 European Region and their staff to champion the Chairs’ leadership on specific climate action areas. This work includes identifying opportunities for regional leadership as well as carrying out political analysis of challenges and climate solutions to provide input and recommendations to colleagues and Vice Chair teams. Judith also oversees the C40 EU cities’ relationships with critical climate actors and partner organisations in Europe, including in the EU framework.
Previously Judith served as ‘City Diplomacy and Business Engagement Manager’ in C40’s diplomacy team and business team; was seconded from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the role of ‘C40 Global Partnerships Manager’ to work on the C40 2019 Summit; and worked in C40’s Regions Team, supporting the Director of Regions.
Prior to joining C40 in early 2018, Judith was in charge of communications at the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) and has previous professional experiences in Bangladesh and Taiwan. She is a Dutch citizen but is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Judith has an MA in International Business Communication from Copenhagen Business School and a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Leiden.
Júlia López Ventura is C40 Cities’ Regional Director for Europe since 2015. Her work focuses on supporting top political decision makers to fight climate change in global megacities, from mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to adaptation to the already present climate change effects, as well as the regional coordination of city diplomacy work to influence climate policy of supranational actors like the UN or the European Commission. Before joining C40, Júlia worked for over a decade for the city of Barcelona, including the IT International Office, which she headed from 2013-2015. She helped Barcelona develop collaborative relationships with institutions such as the European Comission and the World Bank, and she developed an international urban knowledge transfer strategy by co-leading Barcelona’s candidacy for the first European Innovation Capital (which Barcelona won). Júlia has lectured at several universities, including the Polytechnich University of Catalonia Foundation in Barcelona and the IE Business School in Madrid, with courses on City Strategy and Governance. She is a fluent speaker of English, French, Spanish, Italian and Catalan and holds an MSc in Telecom engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Master’s Degree in Sociology from UOC in Spain.
Ilan serves as Deputy Regional Director for Latin America after having worked as C40 city adviser to Rio de Janeiro, helping the city implement its climate action plan in multiple areas and setting the first sustainability office in Latin America. Afterwards, Ilan has successfully launched the C40 clean energy network, which has now over 30 cities from various C40 regions. Ilan has previously worked at the China Brazil Center for Climate Change, where he worked with government agencies, energy companies and NGOs in bilateral projects related to biofuels, clean energy innovation policies, electric vehicles and carbon capture and storage. Ilan holds a BA in International Relations from PUC-RJ and a Master’s degree in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics.
Irma Carranza serves as Regional Officer. In this position, she provides administrative support to the Director of Initiatives and Regions, the Regional Director of Latin America, and the Regional Director of North America. Before joining C40 Cities, Irma was a partner in the City of Santa Monica’s Cradle to Career Initiative looking at and measuring youth well being. Prior to this, she worked at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy as an organiser working to bring good jobs into underserved communities. Prior to LAANE, she worked over ten years in several clerical and administrative support roles with the City of Santa Monica, including serving the Civil Engineering and Architecture Division staff. Irma attended Santa Monica College and Los Angeles Trade-Tech.
Jana supports C40 with strengthening its strategic planning and monitoring & evaluation. She managed cities’ membership and oversees the delivery of annual city reporting and support to cities on data management.
Previously at C40, Jana coordinated the Deadline 2020 Programme, including strategic funder relationship around assisting cities with developing inclusive and resilient climate action plans compatible with the 1.5˚C goal of the Paris Agreement. She had also held roles in the C40 Regions and the Global Initiatives teams where she contributed to the delivery of major C40 events, including the past two C40 Mayors Summits, helped produce sectoral Good Practice Guides, assisted with C40 workshops, and strengthened engagement with Chinese cities and partners.
Jana is a double MSc graduate from the London School of Economics and Sciences Po Paris, including a year at the University of California. Before joining C40, Jana worked at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London, where she co-authored the 5th edition of the Global Climate Legislation Study. Jana is proficient in English, French, Spanish, Czech, Russian, and Slovak, and is currently improving her Mandarin Chinese, having held a Confucius Scholarship at Tsinghua University, Beijing.
As the Deputy Regional Director for Africa for C40 Climate Leadership Group, Gifti Nadi works closely with the political and technical leadership and climate ambitions of 12 African cities. Previously at C40, Gifti served as City Diplomacy Manager – Global Campaigns focusing on the lead up to the CitiesIPCC campaign and conference held in March 2018 in Edmonton, Canada. Gifti began her C40 tenure as City Adviser for Addis-Ababa where she primarily worked with the political and operational leadership within city government to facilitate the delivery and public engagement plan of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. Gifti has more than 15 years of experience in the fields of capacity building, media and communications, public policy, gender equality, health and rural development. She has worked with the Ethiopian Development Research Institute and Ethiopian Economics Association as part of the Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications program. Her previous roles also include time at UNDP’s Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) in Nairobi, and at the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) in Washington DC, as the Senior Program Officer for Africa. Gifti holds a Master’s degree in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland.
Hastings Chikoko is the Managing Director of Regions and Mayoral Engagement & Regional Director for Africa at C40. He serves on the Advisory Board of the African Centre for Cities and also sits on the Advisory Group for the African Cities Research Consortium at the Global Development Institute of University of Manchester. He is one of the Board of Directors at the World Green Building Council and sits on the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Global Environment Facility – GEF (Sustainable Cities and Urban Systems). He is a member of the Africa-Europe Strategic Task Force on Sustainable Energy, and the Global Supervisory Council/Board of Wetlands International. He has also served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Clean Air. With a postgraduate degree in Cities from the London School of Economics (LSE), his work with local governments started at the City of Blantyre and later at the Ministry of Local Government in Malawi. Prior to joining C40, Hastings had a long career with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa and Switzerland; including being the Regional Director (a.i) for East and Southern Africa and Head of IUCN in South Africa. Besides an MSc in Cities from LSE, he also holds an MSc in Strategic Management (University of Derby, UK) Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Diplomacy – specializing in Green Economy (University of Geneva, Switzerland), a Bsc in Economics (University of Malawi).
Christina is the Regional Officer for East, Southeast Asia and Oceania.
Prior to joining C40, Christina was the Operations Manager at Eco-Business (Singapore), where she supported overall operations in the organisation. She also managed events and global innovation challenges on topics surrounding climate change and sustainable development in APAC.
Christina holds a BSc in Life Sciences, specialising in Environmental Biology with a minor in Aquatic Ecology from the National University of Singapore.
Bo Sun acts as the Project Manager in the CAP China team, based in Beijing.
Prior to C40, Bo worked in the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in China, where he worked on the implementation and management of Chinese Projects of Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances. He was also involved and coordinated in the national greenhouse gas HFCs phase-down strategy development.
Bo holds a Master of Sociology from Brown University.
Boping is the Regional Director for East Asia (China) of C40. She is responsible for leading C40’s work in China to support Chinese member cities to further advance their climate ambition and lead the transition towards an urban ecological civilization.
Before joining C40, Boping was the China Director of the World Future Council (WFC) and helped WFC to establish and develop its office in China. Previously, she was the Director of Policy and International Strategy of WWF China, leading WWF China’s policy research and advocacy work to influence China’s high-level policy framework for stronger environmental targets in its development policy. Earlier in her career, Boping had experience with both private sector and government programs. She provided consultancy on climate change and renewable energy for investments in China, served for Dexia bank on public and project finance and started her career with the EU-China Natural Forest Management Project under the State Forestry Administration of China, which inspired her to pursue a career in sustainable development.