During the conference several keynotes will address 'Helping nature to help us' in the European context. The keynote speakers will represent the fields of science, policy and practice. 

Monday 19 September: science, policy and practice nexus

  • Science: Patrick Meire (University of Antwerp)
  • Policy: Bas Eickhout (Member of the European Parliament)
  • Practice: Tuuli Kaskinen (Demos Helsinki) 

Moderator: Nic Balthazar

Tuesday 20 September: practice keynotes

Wednesday 21 September: science keynotes

Friday 23 September: policy keynotes

The available biographies below provide more information.


Birgit de Boissezon

Birgit de Boissezon, since 2001 Head of Unit in the European Commission, currently for 'Sustainable Management of Natural  Resources' , DG Research & Innovation. This Unit defines and implements, supported by Horizon 2020, objectives and priorities for nature-based solutions with  economic, social and environmental benefits, with the aim to innovate and re-nature cities, adapt to climate change, manage and reduce disaster risks, restore biodiversity and ecosystems, increase resilience and valorise cultural heritage. Earlier EC positions related to strategy and policy, planning and evaluation of EU research framework programmes (FP). For three years research counsellor at the Danish Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, after six years in the Danish Ministry of Research in charge of FP coordination at national level and of dissemination and use of S/T results. Following a cand. scient. degree in biology from the University of Copenhagen and a grant from the Danish Research Council, the career started in the French dairy branch organisation CNIEL/CIDIL in Paris, as head of its Information and Documentation Centre for six years.

Hans Bruyninckx

"Europe’s challenge: living well within the limits of our planet"

Hans Bruyninckx is the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, since 1 June, 2013. In 1996 Dr Bruyninckx completed a PhD in international environmental politics at Colorado State University. From 2010 until his appointment at the EEA, he was head of the HIVA Research Institute in Leuven, Belgium, a policy-oriented research institute associated with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he was also head of the Political Science department from 2007 to 2010.
Over the last 20 years, he has conducted research in more than a dozen countries, in areas including environmental politics, climate change, and sustainable development. He has taught on global environmental politics and global environmental governance in relation to the European Union (EU), publishing extensively on EU environmental policies and its role as an actor in global environmental governance.Throughout his career Dr Bruyninckx has worked with governmental agencies, civil society and businesses, often in an advisory role.


Kai Chan

“Can ecosystem services move beyond the margins?”

Kai Chan is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair (tier 2) at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton and Stanford Universities. He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHANS lab, Connecting Human and Natural Systems; he is a Leopold Leadership Program fellow, a director on the board of the BC chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), a director on the board of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology, a member of the Global Young Academy, a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

You can also find Kai Chan on Google Scholar or ResearchGate.


Humberto Delgado Rosa

Humberto Delgado Rosa is the Director for Natural Capital, DG Environment, European Commission. Previously he was Director for Mainstreaming Adaptation and Low Carbon Technology in DG Climate Action. He is experienced in European and international environmental policy, particularly in biodiversity and climate change issues. He served as Secretary of State for the Environment of the Portuguese Government from March 2005 to June 2011. Between 1995 and 2002 he was an advisor for environmental matters to the Prime-Minister of Portugal. He holds a PhD in Evolutionary Biology.


Bas Eickhout

Bas Eickhout is a Dutch member of the European Parliament and part of the group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. The main topics he addresses within the European Parliament are climate change, clean energy, tax fraud. He is part of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN), and he is part of the delegation for relations with the United States. Moreover, he was elected as the number 1 in the yearly sustainability contest of the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 2014.


Louise Gallagher

Louise is an environmental economist with broad ranging experience in policy analysis, market transformation and environmental finance. Her technical expertise includes valuation of natural capital and environmental externalities and applying this information in decision-making. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies specializing in environmental economics and policy from University College Dublin. Louise joined the Luc Hoffmann Institute to work on linking the best available science to better policy, planning and more effective field practices in conservation. Previously she worked for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Wide Fund for Nature in South East Asia. 


Wim Van Gils

Wim Van Gils (°1976) has a master degree in biology (K.U. Leuven, 1999). He worked two years as a researcher on freshwater fish at INBO ( before joining Bond Beter Leefmilieu (Federation for a Better Environment – ) as water policy officer. Since 2010, he is policy coordinator at Natuurpunt, the biggest nature conservation organization in Flanders. The policy work of Natuurpunt focuses on biodiversity, spatial planning, agriculture, fisheries, and water policy ( Wim Van Gils is a member of the Minaraad (the council that advises the Flemish government on environmental issues), the steering group for the SOER and the “regional consultation body on the NATURA 2000 implementation. 


Caroline van Leenders

Caroline van Leenders has 20 years of experience in the field of sustainable development. She works for the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) which is part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. She advises and supports different programmes on sustainable topics such as energy, food, biodiversity and for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and for Infrastructure and Environment. Since beginning 2014 she runs the Community of Practice Financial institutions and Natural Capital. She specialises in transition management and in facilitating the cooperation between industry, NGOs & knowledge institutes. She has a degree in molecular biology and in science philosophy and a PhD in Environmental Studies. She now has bundled her 20 years of experience in tips for sustainable development in 10 Tips for Clever Change

Albert Norström

Albert Norström is Executive Director for the Future Earth Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) and a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He is co-leading two regional PECS case-studies in Sweden that explore the dynamics contributing to the reliable production of ecosystem services in social-ecological systems (i.e. interdependent and linked complex systems of people and nature). He is also working across multiple projects focusing on coral reef regime shifts and their dynamics in the Anthropocene.


Dirk Vandenbussche

Dirk Vandenbussche has been working for the Province of Antwerp for 20 years now. Initially he focussed on municipal and provincial nature and landscape planning. Within his positions he gained experience with regional policy, conservation of species, realisation of ecological networks and stakeholder dialogue. Especially in the past years he used ecosystem services as an instrument to facilitate and improve stakeholder dialogue. Dirk Vandenbussche is director of the provincial Agency for Sustainable Environmental and Nature policy (ASEN). The ASEN is responsible for the design and coordination of the provincial environmental, biodiversity, climate and climate adaptation policy. 



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