Keynote Speakers

Rafael Pardo

(Wed. June 14 - Morning)

Rafael PardoMr. Rafael Pardo is an economist from Los Andes University. He studied urban and regional planning at The Institute of Social Studies, in The Hague, Holland, as well as Foreign Affairs studies from Harvard University (U.S.A).

In 1986 he held the position of Secretary of Popular Integration and Director of the National Plan of Rehabilitation (PNR) during the administration of Virgilio Barco. After two years as Peace Counselor (1988-1990), he led the demobilization of the M-19 and others guerillas. Mr. Pardo was the first civilian Minister of Defense that the country had (1991-1994). From 1996 to 1997, he served as adviser of the Organization of American States' Secretary Cesar Gaviria in Washington. In his parliamentarian activity (2002-2006), Mr. Pardo was appointed as one of the best senators for his parliamentary activity by the seriousness of his proposals and debates of political control.

At the end of 2009, he was appointed Director of the Colombian Liberal Party. He was presidential candidate, Minister of Labor and nowadays, he serves as Senior Advisor for the Post-Conflict. Pardo has been profesor and researcher at the University of Los Andes.

Brigitte Baptiste

(Wed. June 14 - Morning)

Brigitte BaptisteBrigitte is a biologist with Master of Arts in Latin American Studies. Actually is at the Doctoral Program in Environmental Science with emphasis in Ecological Economics and Natural Resources Management at the Universidad Autónoma of Barcelona, Spain.

Research and teaching in cultural landscape ecology, analysis of the role of biodiversity in land use change, ecological and economic history of productive systems, multi-cultural analysis of the use and management of biodiversity, bio-complexity, bio-speleology and bio-policy. Additionally is interested in culture and gender issues. Since January 2011, is the General Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Resources in Colombia.

Alfonso Reyes

(Wed. June 14 - Afternoon)

Alfonso ReyesAlfonso is a physicist and a systems engineer from Los Andes University. He has a MSc in Computer Science (University of Maryland), a PhD in Management Cybernetics (University of Humberside, UK) and postdoctoral studies in Organizational Learning (University of Lincoln, UK). He has worked for the last thirty years in addressing organisational problems in the public sector, specially in the administration of justice. He has been an international consultant for the Interamerican Development Bank and the Agency for International Development (USA) in applying management cybernetics to the public sector. He has published several papers about individual and organisational learning and self-organisation from the point of view of second-order cybernetics. He was the chancellor of the Universidad de Ibagué in Colombia (2009-2016) and currently is the Dean of the Engineering School at los Andes.

Manuel Rodríguez Becerra

(Wed. June 14 - Afternoon)

Manuel RodríguezManuel currently teaches as emeritus professor at the Universidad de los Andes School of Management, where he has been also General Secretary, Vice Chancellor, Dean of the School of Management and of the School of Arts and Sciences.

He was the first Minister of Environment of Colombia and General Manager of Inderena (1990-1994). He chaired the Forum on Forests of the United Nations twice (1996-1999 and 2004-2005) and was a member of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development and the Advisory Council on Forestry Policy of the World Bank. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of Ombudsman International Finance Corporation, chairs the National Environmental Forum and is a founding member of the Latin American Platform on Climate Change.

He was selected as one of the top 10 leaders of Colombia in 2013, awarded by the Leadership Foundation for Colombia and Semana magazine. He is a columnist for the daily El Tiempo and author of numerous publications.

Paul Walsh

(Thu. June 15 - Afternoon)

Paul WalshPatrick is Chair of International Development Studies in University College Dublin, Ireland. Chair of the Academic Steering Group, Global Association of Masters in Development Practice, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York; and Senior Advisor, UN SDSN Association, New York.

During the Academic Year 2014-2015 he was a Visiting Senior Research Scholar at the Earth Institute and an Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, in New York hosted by Professor Jeffrey D Sachs. He worked on the UN SDSN's contribution to the Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Agenda.  He also participated in the UN Scientific and Technological Community Major Group during the Inter-Governmental negotiations of what is now the UN 2030 Agenda.

His current research is on Agricultural Productivity in East Africa, Socioeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS in clinical trials, Patterns of Post-Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes Region, Cartels and Global Food Security and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, among other areas

Patrick has a Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Government of Ireland fellow, a Marie Curie fellow of the European Commission, fellow of REPOA in Tanzania, fellow of IZA, Germany and a fellow of RSA in the UK.

Emma Torres

(Thu. June 15 - Afternoon)

Emma TorresMrs. Torres is senior advisor for sustainability, environment and energy of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Latin America and Caribbean. With over 20 years of experience United Nations she has led several development initiatives for sustainable development of the region.

She has served as Director of the Regional Programme for Latin America and Caribbean; as Deputy Executive Coordinator, UNDP/GEF Partnership. Within these roles she has led partnerships with oil companies to advance on human development and conservation of biodiversity. Most representative work include: "Our Own Agenda", "Amazonia without Myths", and "Our Common Agenda for the Americas".

Ms Torres also serves as Chair of IAEA Standing Advisory Group on Technical Assistance and Cooperation (SAGTAC). And is also a member of the Inter-American Development Bank's Independent Advisory Group on Sustainability.

Mrs. Torres holds an MA in Economics from Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain; a Diploma on Language and French Civilization from Paris Sorbonne, France; and Certificates on Environmental Economics and Climate Change, from Harvard University; and on Negotiations and Management by Harvard Law School and MIT Business School.

Mrs. Torres lecture will address the unique process of negotiations launched in Rio +20 leading to the adoption of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs), and the  innovation processes being advanced by  different stake- holders for its implementation.

Bert J.M. de Vries

(Thu. June 15 - Afternoon)

Bert de VriesBert has a background in Theoretical Chemistry. He is co-founder and member of the Institute for Energy and Environment (IVEM) at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, where he received his Ph.D. on sustainable resource use. Since 1990 he has been a senior scientist at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL, formerly MNP and RIVM). Between 2003 and 2013 he has been Professor of Global Change and Energy at Utrecht University in The Netherlands ( ).

He has contributed to and published extensively on resource and in particular energy analysis, modelling and policy; climate and global change modelling; and (complex) systems modelling for sustainable development. He has been actively involved in modelling and scenario construction for a.o. the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). At present, his interest and research is on worldviews and ethics in relation to sustainability and the connection between sustainable development and the financial system.
He has co-edited several books, including Perspectives on Global Change: The TARGETS Approach (1997, Cambridge University Press) and Mappae Mundi: Humans and their Habitats in a Long-Term Socio-Ecological Perspective (2002, Amsterdam University Press). He published the textbook Sustainability Science, based on ten years of teaching the course Sustainable Development - An Integrating Perspective (2013, Cambridge University Press; see also

Olanrewaju Olaniyan & Olawale Emmanuel Olayide

(Fri. June 16 - Afternoon)

Lanre OlaniyanOlanrewaju is a Professor in the Department of Economics, and the the current Director, Centre for Sustainable Development. University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He has over 20 years of research, consulting and tertiary teaching experience in Health and Population Economics, Economics of education, poverty and welfare analysis as well as social protection. He also has experience in social policy work in developing countries.

Lanre has worked on issues of social inclusiveness and demographic dividend in many African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Liberia since 2008. As the team-leader for the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) research group for Nigeria, he had in collaborations with other researchers estimated the nature and magnitude of demographic dividend in Nigeria.

Olanrewaju was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria where he obtained Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) Educational Management and Economics; and PhD. Economics.

Wale OlayideOlawale holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he works at Centre for Sustainable Development. He is currently a Research Fellow and Sub-Dean, has authored over 30 publications and is a Member of the Board of the International Sustainable Development Research Society and the Chairperson of the Thematic Working Group on Africa. He is also the Editor of the African Journal of Sustainable Development (

Olawale is a Member of the Continental Expert Group on the Biennial Reporting Process of the Malabo Declaration of the African Union Commission on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation in Africa.

Professors Olaniyan and Olayide will deliver a joint keynote address on the Issues of Inclusive Sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the African context.

Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez

(Fri. June 16 - Afternoon)

Miguel Pinedo

Miguel Was born and raised in rural Amazonia and is now a scientist affiliated with Columbia University in New York.  He is an ecologist by training and got his doctoral degree at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Pinedo-Vasquez has contributed  to sustainability science over more than three decades as a researcher and academic. As early as the beginning of the 1990's he began work on the multidimensionality and complexities of environmetal and social sustainability. Most of his work has been grounded in research and experience with smallholder farmers, foresters and marketers in the humid tropcs.  His 1992 article entitled "Economic Returns from Forest Conversion in the Perpuuvian Amazon" published in Ecological Economic used theories of decision-making to argue why Amazonian farmers convert forests into agricultural lands despite the intrinsic benefits that forests provide to them. Pinedo-Vasquez has co-authored several publications on the interlinkages or intedependencies of social, ecological and hydro-climatic drivers of fires in western Amazonia.  He is also co-author of a recent article title "A Green Peace in Colombia" published in Nature Ecology and Evolution with several prominent Colombian scientists.