Conference Steering Committee

Upon the recommendations made at CST S-2 based on the assessment of the UNCCD 1st Scientific Conference and the agreement of the CST Bureau, a Conference Steering Committee, composed of members of the CST Bureau, GRF Davos and the UNCCD Secretariat, was established in order to coordinate the organization of the Scientific Conference.

Antonio Rocha Magalhães is Chair of the Committee of Science and Technology (CST) of the UNCCD. He is Advisor of CGEE - Center for Strategic Studies and Management, Brasília, Brazil.

Mr. Magalhães is a Brazilian economist. His experience in sustainable development includes the organization of the First and Second International Conferences for Sustainable Development of Drylands (ICID) as part of the preparation process for the Rio 92 and Rio + 20 World summits. He coordinated the Aridas project in Brazil, which developed a methodology for sustainable development planning for the drylands of Brazil. He has been a member of the IPCC and is a former member of the Scientific Committee of the UNEP Climate Programme. Mr. Magalhães was Vice-Minister of Planning of Brazil, Principal Country Officer of the World Bank in Brazil, Minister of Planning for the State of Ceara and Distinguished Visiting Professor of World Peace at Texas University in Austin. He received the International Mitchell Prize on Sustainable Development in the Woodlands, Texas. He has published a number of books and articles in Brazil and abroad.

Yuriy Kolmaz is the head of land Resources Division in the Ministry of Ecology and natural Resources of Ukraine

He has been working for the Ministry of Ecology and natural Resources of Ukraine for more than 11 years. He graduated from Kyiv State University after named Taras Shevchenko in the Biological Faculty, he is biologist – soil microbiologist by diploma. He obtained a PhD in agricultural sciences at the Institute of Agriculture of Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences. He has been involved in the UNCCD process at regional and international level since 2003. He was the Bureau member of COP 8 and COP 9 on behalf of Central and Eastern European Countries.Currently Yuriy Kolmaz is the Bureau member of CST 10.

Jean Ndembo Longo

Stefan Sommer is Vice Chair and Rapporteur of the UNCCD CST Bureau, Scientific officer at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission, Ispra (VA) in Italy.

Stefan Sommer is a principal researcher at the Institute of Environment and Sustainability of the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC-IES) located in Ispra, Italy. From 1986 to 1993 he worked on several remote sensing topics and was lecturer for geological applications of imaging spectrometry and coordinating project scientist for geological applications in the thematic application group of the MOMS-02/D-2 experiment on the German D-2 Space Shuttle Mission. Since 1993 he is scientific officer with the JRC working on land degradation and desertification problems. From 1996 to 2001 he was Head of the Mediterranean Ecosystem Monitoring sector and since then JRC lead scientist in major EC DLDD projects e.g. Demon2, MEDALUS III, CAMELEO, Georange, LADAMER and DeSurvey. He further coordinated IES institutional work packages in the domain of environmental impact and risk assessment related to rural development, land degradation assessment  and to the management of mining waste sites and contaminated lands across the EU. His current focus is on integrating regional and global scale bio-physical and socio-economic indicators for assessing land degradation and desertification processes.

Amjad Tahir Virk is presently working as a National Project Coordinator, Sustainable Land Management Project funded jointly by the GEF, UNDP and the Government of Pakistan. 

He possesses a diverse professional background from a field wildlife biologist to an expert in sustainable management of land resources. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Fish and Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, USA and has 28 years experience in Integrated Natural Resources Management. He is also acting as UNCCD Science and Technical Correspondent for Pakistan and is Vice Chair of the CST representing Asia and the Pacific region.

Elysabeth David

Walter Ammann is President of the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, Switzerland.

Walter J. Ammann is founder and president of the Foundation Global Risk Forum GRF Davos and chairman of the International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos. He started his professional career in various consulting companies for geotechnics and foundation engineering, earthquake engineering and bridge construction. From 1986 - 1992 he was responsible for the R&D department of a globally acting company in construction technologies and from 1992 to 2007 director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos and deputy director of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL in Birmensdorf. He is an expert in integrative risk management and its applications to all kinds of natural hazards and technical risks. He is author and co-author of over 250 papers, books and scientific reports.