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Dr. Georgios Kostakos

Dr. Georgios Kostakos is co-founder and Executive Director of FOGGS with almost thirty years of work experience in international affairs, both as a practitioner and as a researcher.

His experience includes fourteen years with the United Nations, with assignments such as observing the elections that ended apartheid in South Africa (1994), promoting human rights in Haiti (1995), reporting from post-Dayton Bosnia (1996), serving as Assistant Secretary of the UN General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (2000-2003), promoting UN strategic planning and reform as First Officer in the UN Secretary-General’s Strategic Planning Unit (most of 2003-2006), organising the first-ever high-level event on climate change in New York (2007), advancing the UN system delivering as one on climate change from the Secretariat of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB, 2008-2009), laying the ground for the Sustainable Development Goals as Senior Adviser and Acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Global Sustainability Panel (GSP, 2010-2012), supporting the negotiations that resulted in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21, 2015).

From November 2015 to August 2019 Georgios was Climate Action Thematic Coordinator at NEEMO EEIG, where he coordinated the monitoring of climate change adaptation and mitigation projects co-financed by the European Union’s LIFE Programme. He has previously held numerous senior positions at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), has organised postgraduate courses in international affairs at the University of Athens and has taught Global Governance and International Organisations to postgraduate students at the Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent.

Georgios holds MA and PhD degrees in International Relations (Kent, UK), as well as an advanced degree in Mechanical Engineering (NTUA, Greece).

Dr. Veerle Vandeweerd

Dr. Veerle Vandeweerd, a Belgian national, has more than 35 years of experience in global, national, and local Sustainable Development policy and program development and implementation, including 20+ years at the United Nations system. 

She currently is leading several Sustainable Development entrepreneurial initiatives. She is the co-founder of the Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Conference Series (G-STIC) (www.gstic.org) and was its policy director from 2017 to 2019. In 2020, she set up the Covid Education Alliance (COVIDEA) and the Platform for Transformative Technologies (P4TT, www.p4tt.org), offering collaborative platforms to identify and bring to the market, innovative and integrated industrial solutions that substantially can contribute to the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals.  She serves on the board of several Sustainable Development organisations and has been supporting the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) from the very start.

At the UN, Dr. Vandeweerd held several senior positions at UNEP and directed for 8 years the UNDP Environment and Energy Group. She was the Special Advisor to the UN Global Compact, the leading platform for responsible corporate policies and practices.

Before the UN, she taught at the University of Zambia, conducted research on African Sleeping sickness, and headed the environmental reporting department in the Flemish Government, Belgium.

Dr. Vandeweerd has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Antwerp, Belgium (Cum Laude), a master’s in chemistry, and a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Gent, Belgium.