I'm Dutch national with a background in cultural anthropology with more than 30 years of experience in international development cooperation (especially rural development in Bolivia) and sustainability. For many years, I facilitated and coordinated the global NGO community to realise their active engagement in United Nations processes on Sustainable Development and Environment. For that reason, I was heavily involved at and in the preparations of the Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 (Johannesburg), at Rio+20 in 2012 (Rio de Janeiro), and in the development of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals. I was the European Focal Point for civil society in Europe in the 10-year Framework on Sustainable Consumption and Production (UNEP). Additionally, I was the representative for the Environmental NGOs at the OECD until 2016. At UNEA2 (2016) and UNEA3 (2017) I co-chaired the Major Group Facilitating Committee, and functioned as the main contact for UNEA and member states for the civil society groups.
After many voluntary jobs as activist (peace movement, fair trade shop, political party, Latin America center, etc.), I started my (paid) career by being responsible in a Flemish NGO for the rural programs they financed in Bolivia. As I was more convinced by the concept of sustainable development (SD), I became the coordinator of a Flemish network on SD (VODO), where I started to build bridges between the different sectoral movements, simultaneously coordinating an international think-tank on ecological debt and environmental justice. After 8 years, I became Executive Director of ANPED, the Northern Alliance for Sustainability, and found my way to the UN processes. In 2015 ANPED merged with the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), where I became Director of the new integrated team on Global Policies and Sustainability. September 2016 I started working at Friends of the Earth Europe on Resource Justice and Sustainability. During these same years, I initiated a broad alliance of civil society organisations, SDG Watch Europe, and I am still a member of the Steering Group. As a representative for this Alliance, I am also member of the EU Multi Stakeholder Platform on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, chaired by EU Vice President Frans Timmermans. Since April 2018 I work as a freelance senior advisor and created LeapFrog2SD, a consultancy firm to achieve system change and (strong) sustainability on a global scale.
I was a member of the High Level Steering Group of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials and am a member of the Advisory Committee of Future Earth (international think-tank) as well as member of the SSCP group, working on macro-economics. I am also a full member of the Club of Rome-EU Chapter and serve as Secretary in the Executive Board of the Stichting The Crowd Versus, which sponsors legal aid for victims in landmark environmental conflicts.
I always combine scientific research work, activists’ approaches, field experiences, and policy work. I have written many articles and chapters of books on strong sustainability. Also, I speak fluent Dutch, English and Spanish.
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