Meet Our Team
Secretariat Staff – Washington, DC
Desy Adiati, Program Assistant, provides administrative and logistical support to the Head of GFDRR Secretariat. She focuses on HR onboarding processes, manages office space and assets, monitors administrative activities and transactions, and supports events and programs. Prior to joining GFDRR, Desy assisted the IBRD Corporate Finance Director, focusing on bilateral meetings, technical briefings, and the submission and circulation of Board documents. Desy worked in the Indonesia Country Office for five years as Program Assistant to the Sector Manager of the Sustainable Development Department before moving to the World Bank Headquarters for work with the East Asia Pacific Quality Team on the Regional Trust Funds and Lending Portfolio reports and dashboards.
Paolo Avner is an Urban Economist in GFDRR’s Analytics and Economics Program. Previously an urban economist with the World Bank, he has worked extensively on the links between urban form, land uses, transport systems, labor markets and vulnerability to natural hazards in developing country cities. He has also worked on a number of analytical products including Urbanization Reviews (Kenya, Ethiopia, Haiti, Guinea, Mali) and flagship reports. Prior to joining the Bank, Paolo worked in France as a researcher in LEPII in Grenoble, France and in the Center for International Research in Environment and Development in Paris. His work focused on the ability of public policies and investments to curb greenhouse gas emissions from urban transport. Paolo holds degrees from La Sorbonne University and from University Paris X - Nanterre in economics and is currently finishing his PhD at École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.
Simone Balog is a DRM Analyst with the GFDRR Innovation Lab, leading efforts to translate scientific and technical analysis on disaster risk and climate change so that this information is available, understandable, and usable by non-specialists. In addition, she advances the UR Community through greater collaboration, information sharing and hosting of local, national, regional and international UR forums. Prior to joining GFDRR, Simone held a variety of positions focused on scientific communication of weather and health risks in the UK Government Office of Science, a biopharmaceutical company and a weather crowdsourcing startup. A US national, Simone holds a Master of Science in Risk Analysis from King’s College London and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Boston College.
Anna-Maria Bogdanova, Operations Officer, provides operational support to the Hydromet Thematic Program. She monitors the portfolio of the GFDRR Hydromet projects and activities, evaluates the portfolio to identify best practices, and contributes to the team’s work with international organizations, donors and partnering institutions. Prior to this position, Anna-Maria worked in the Russia Country Unit. During the previous six years, she had been monitoring and managing the country investment portfolio and knowledge program as a part of the country management team. A Russian national, Anna-Maria holds a master’s and bachelor’s degrees in International Economics from the Moscow State Linguistic University.
Naraya Carrasco, Senior Climate Adaptation Specialist, is a secondee from the Swiss Government, and works with both the Resilience to Climate Change team and the Global Partnership team. She focuses on post-Paris implementation and global dialogue on climate and disaster resilience, as well as supporting operational teams on IDA-17 mainstreaming. Until recently she was a Programme Officer at the Global Programme Climate Change, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Naraya holds a degree on Environmental Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and a Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). She is both a Swiss and Bolivian citizen, and is fluent in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.
Christopher J. Chung is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist and a Regional Focal Point with GFDRR. Mr. Chung spent four years working on risk reduction and risk finance projects in the World Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean region, and water and sanitation projects in the Middle East and North Africa region. Prior to joining the World Bank, Mr. Chung worked with the United Nations Development Programme in New York City and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ethiopia. A United States national, Mr. Chung holds a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in political studies and Middle Eastern studies from Bard College.
Julie Dana is Head of the GFDRR Secretariat. Prior to her current role, she was Practice Manager in the Climate and Risk Management unit in the World Bank's Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice, and Lead Financial Sector Specialist for the Finance and Markets Global Practice based in Johannesburg, South Africa. From 2008-2014 she worked for the World Bank Treasury leading policy dialogue, capacity building, and transaction support for Ministries of Finance interested in hedging currency, interest rate, commodity, and catastrophe risks. She also spent six years in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, as a member of the Commodity Risk Management team. She has over 20 years of experience in climate and risk management, specializing in sovereign risk management, economic shocks and vulnerability, disaster risk financing, and commodity risk management.
Alvina Erman, a Junior Professional Officer of GFDRR funded by the Swedish government, contributes to the development of a policy-relevant applied research agenda that ensures that disaster risk management and climate change perspectives are well represented in GFDRR’s initiatives and analytical work. Previously, Alvina worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) as a Senior Research Assistant in the Development Strategy and Governance Division. In this capacity, she provided support to a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research projects, including two impact evaluations in Uganda and Mozambique. Before joining IFPRI, she worked as a consultant at the World Bank, where she primarily focused on research support and program management in governance and education projects in Latin America.
Nadia Islam is in the Resilient Recovery team and team lead for the PDNA DRF roll out program. She supports the monitoring and management of GFDRR programs, with a focus on post-disaster needs assessments and visibility events. She also provides cross-support to World Bank teams and is the GFDRR focal point for the City Resilience Program. Nadia comes to GFDRR from the Social Safeguards team in the World Bank’s South Asia region, where she monitored the unit’s portfolio and budgets, and monitored near-100% tracking social-performance rates in projects. She has extensive operations experience, including with the agriculture department and with monitoring and evaluation. Currently, Nadia is Co-team lead of the flagship World Reconstruction Conference 4 in 2019.
Mika Iwasaki is Senior Program Officer with GFDRR. She joined the World Bank in 1991 as Information Officer at the Tokyo office. In most of her career at the Bank, she has worked in the external affairs area particularly to promote close partnership with Japan. After the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, Mika started to work with GFDRR to scale up collaboration with the Government of Japan on knowledge exchange and learning from the Japanese experience in DRM for building resilience in developing countries. She was part of the team that conceptualized the program. She started her international career as development consultant at a consulting firms association in Japan, and worked at the UNDP for several years in Jakarta and the Gambia. Mika holds a Master’s degree in international affairs from Colombia University.
Nicholas Jones, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, supports GFDRR's work on resilience to climate change. Within GFDRR, he has focused on design and implementation of investment projects in Caribbean and Pacific small island states. His specific interests include infrastructure asset management and climate finance. Nick was previously based at the Brussels and New York offices of the World Bank. He led the South and Southeast Asia desk of a political and macroeconomic research firm before joining the World Bank in 2010. A British national, Nick has studied international relations and public policy at Cambridge University and Harvard Kennedy School.
Yoko Kobayashi is GFDRR's Senior Communications Officer. In this role, she leads communications strategies, activities, and campaigns in support of GFDRR's overall work program. Prior to this role, Yoko worked as a communications officer with the World Bank's media team. She started at the World Bank Group in 2010, handling media relations for flagship reports and priority events. Before coming to the Bank, Yoko worked for World Vision Canada as a communications manager for the organization’s emergency response to humanitarian and natural disasters. Her background is in journalism, reporting and editing for Reuters in Japan and New Zealand, and then managing the team as Deputy Bureau Chief in the Philippines. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family, exploring different restaurants, and occasionally playing the piano.
Naohisa Koide is a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist in GFDRR’s Hydromet Program. In that role, he supports teams on the design, implementation, and evaluation of projects related to climate and hydromet services. Previously, he was a Senior Scientific Officer of the Japan Meteorological Agency, where he gained over 13 years of professional experience in multi-hazard early warning systems particularly in the field of severe weather and tropical cyclone forecasting. His work also extended to a variety of technical activities at global to regional levels under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee. He holds master’s degrees in Climate and Society and Statistics from Columbia University, and in astrophysics from Nagoya University.
Josef Leitmann is the team leader for Resilient Recovery at the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Joe’s most recent assignments have been in the LAC region over the last five years as Manager of the Haiti Reconstruction Fund and Lead Disaster Risk Management Specialist with the SURR global practice. He brings 30 years of Bank experience in all regions on DRM, urban development, climate change, multi-donor funding, environmental management, NRM, and clean energy as well as field assignments in Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, and Haiti. His PhD is in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley, with a Master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Mare Lo is a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist on the Resilient Recovery Team. He is a member of the UNDP/BPPS Roster of Experts and has contributed to trainings on Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) methodologies. Before joining the Bank, Mare held several high-level positions with the Government of Senegal. A Senegalese national, Mare has Master’s degrees in Natural Sciences, General Administration, Public Finance and Management, and International relations.
Sonia Elizabeth Luthra is an Operations Analyst supporting the Operations and Country Programs team, including its work on monitoring and reporting. Sonia joined GFDRR as a consultant in 2015, focusing on work planning, monitoring and reporting, and knowledge management. Prior to joining the World Bank, Sonia was the Assistant Director of Outreach for the National Bureau of Asian Research, where she helped lead engagement with key stakeholders and develop programming focused on U.S.-Asia relations. A United States national, Sonia holds an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington.
Rina Meutia is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist supporting the Operations and Country Programs Team. She has firsthand experience responding to major disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in her native Aceh, Indonesia; the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan; and the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Prior to joining the Bank, Rina was Team Leader for Reducing Vulnerabilities and Managing Risks in the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat – OCHA at United Nations Headquarters in New York. An Indonesian national, Rina is a Fulbright Scholar with a Master’s Degree in Public Service from Clinton School of Public Service, University of Arkansas, and a Bachelor in Economics from University of Syiah Kuala in Indonesia.
James (Jay) Newman is a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Specialist with GFDRR. In that role, he leads GFDRR’s Resilient Cultural Heritage and Tourism (CHT) program and plays a key role in the development of GFDRR’s resilient infrastructure program. Since joining GFDRR in 2013, Mr. Newman has served as focal point for urban resilience and regional portfolios in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific, and coordinator for GFDRR's DRM Hub in Tokyo, Japan. Prior to joining GFDRR, he worked for the City of Baltimore. He has also covered Latin American and Caribbean finance and insurance for a Chilean market intelligence firm. Studying economics and public policy, he has a Master’s from Georgetown and Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile and undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis. As an adjunct professor, he has taught urban management, public policy, and statistics at University of Baltimore’s Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) program.
Cristina Otano is Senior Operations Officer at GFDRR. She leads the work on resilience to climate change, working to ensure all investments in resilience are designed taking into account future climate change and variability. Cristina also manages the gender program, which promotes a more gender-responsive approach of disaster risk management practices. She has more than 15 years of experience with the World Bank and has been previously based in the Bangkok, Paris and London offices. Prior to that, she worked for the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX) in Bolivia. Cristina holds a master’s degree in International Public Policy from the University of London, a master’s degree in international trade from the University Carlos III Madrid, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Navarre, Spain. Ms. Otano is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.
Emma Phillips is a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Specialist in GFDRR’s Innovation Lab. She leads the strategic direction of the Understanding Risk Community, manages the GFDRR Challenge Fund, and provides technical assistance on risk assessment and open data activities, as well as operational support to the Africa region. During her eight years at the World Bank, she has worked in DRM in Europe, Latin America and Africa. Prior to joining the World Bank, Emma worked for Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Michael Fay at the National Geographic Society, and at the Washington Bureaus of BBC and Al Jazeera English. She holds a Master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and an Honors degree in Italian Literature from the University of Cape Town. Emma speaks French, Spanish, and Italian, and is a South African citizen.
Nicolas Pondard is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist working with the Innovation Lab team. Previously, he spent 15 years assessing exposure to natural catastrophes for governments and (re)insurance companies, and was the lead catastrophe risk specialist for the Bank of England. Prior to taking on that role, he was the principal risk analyst for the Asia, Pacific, Middle East, Turkey, and Africa insurance markets at the global (re)insurance broker Willis Re. As a research scientist at GNS, he and his colleagues were awarded the Gold Award from the New Zealand government for outstanding research in natural hazards and catastrophe response. A French native, Nicolas holds a PhD in Geophysics from the Paris Earth Sciences Institute (IPGP, France).
Sumati Rajput is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist, providing analytical support to GFDRR’s flagship publications, contributing to the policy dialogue for mainstreaming disaster risk management in the global community, and supporting relationships with international organizations, donors, as well as other partners. Prior to this position, Sumati spent two years at AECOM, an urban development firm, where she supported the economics team to assess viability and help design various development projects in South East Asia and South Asia. An Indian national, Sumati holds a master’s degree in International Development Economics from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology from Columbia University.
Jun Rentschler joined GFDRR through the World Bank’s Young Professional Program. As an economist, he contributes to the applied research agenda on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation, and supports project teams in developing robust strategies for resilient and sustainable development. Prior to joining GFDRR, Jun was a Doctoral Researcher at University College London, and a Visiting Researcher at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo and at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. A Japanese national, Jun holds an MSc in Economics and a PhD in Environmental and Resource Economics from University College London.
Elad Shenfeld is a Senior Leadership Development Specialist on the Resilient Recovery team where he works on contingency planning, fragile and conflict states and trainings on the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) methodologies. Previously, Elad focused on areas of organizational effectiveness, change management and capacity building in the World Bank’s Leadership Learning and Innovation Vice-Presidency. Before joining the Bank, Elad was Special Assistant to the Military Defense Attaché for the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Washington, D.C., and a Major in the Israel Defense Force, Paratrooper Special Forces. Elad holds a bachelor’s from the Israel National Defense College, a BA in Economics and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.
Akiko Toya, a Junior Professional Officer funded by the Japanese Government, works on technical assistance grant portfolio (the DRM Country Program). She connects global and Japanese DRM experience with the Bank’s operational teams, focusing on Resilient Infrastructure and Transport projects. Previously, she worked with the South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean teams on disaster risk assessment and risk reduction strategies for the transport sector. Prior to joining the Bank, she worked in enterprise risk management and political risk advisory at private insurance and consulting firms. A Japanese national, Akiko holds a master’s degree in public affairs and risk management from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental economics and sustainable development, including a semester at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.
Vladimir Tsirkunov is the Team Leader of GFDRR's Weather and Climate Information for Decision Support (WCIDS) Program, which works as a service center providing analytical, advisory and implementation support for World Bank teams. Mr. Tsirkunov has over 30 years of scientific, applied technical and project management experience in environmental and natural resource management mostly in the Europe and Central Asia region. Prior to joining the World Bank in 1994, he was the Head of the Laboratory of the Supervision of the USSR (Russian) System of Hydrochemical Monitoring and Water Quality Data Collection. Since joining the Bank, he has worked on projects related to the preparation, appraisal and operational supervision of environmental investments, technical assistance and Global Environment Facility projects.
David Tucker is a Communications Associate with GFDRR, supporting the implementation of GFDRR’s communications strategy, including the organization of the Resilience Dialogue series and publication of Stories of Impact series. Prior to joining the team, David worked as a communications specialist for the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he led an overhaul of the agency's website, branding and public outreach. He also spent six years with the IKEA Group working on marketing, graphics and retail space design. A United States national, David holds a master’s degree in international development & economics from Seton Hall University and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Erika Vargas is a Senior Operations Officer focusing on the design and implementation of the information and knowledge strategy for GFDRR. She also leads and coordinates the global knowledge agenda on resilience and disaster risk management in close collaboration with the Disaster Risk Management Global Lead. Recently, and as part of a partnership between NASA and Columbia University, Erika worked with the Chief Knowledge Officer of NASA on the conceptual and operational development of the critical knowledge notion in organizations. Before joining the World Bank in 2008, she worked as a researcher on peace and conflict resolution, and crime and violence prevention at the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. Prior to this position, she worked as a Diplomat at the Colombian Embassy in Washington DC. She has earned a Master's of Science (MSc) in Information and Knowledge Strategy from Columbia University and a Master's of Arts (MA) in Sociology and Media Studies from The New School for Social Research.
Secretariat Staff – Brussels
Manuela Chiapparino, Senior Operations Officer, is the GFDRR Team Leader for the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program and European donors relations. Manuela leads the GFDRR Brussels team and is responsible for all EU-funded programs implemented by GFDRR and for building and managing relationships with European Union and European bilateral donors. Manuela also coordinates GFDRR’s effort on the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative which was launched in Paris at COP21 as a joint partnership between the WB/GFDRR, WMO, and UNISDR. Manuela joined the World Bank in 2000 and prior to her current position, she worked for the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region, and the External Affairs Vice-Presidency in Brussels. An Italian national, she holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Trieste and a Master’s degree in Management from the Solvay Management School/VUB in Brussels.
Rossella Della Monica, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, is part of the Brussels GFDRR team, and works on the implementation of EU-funded programs. She is the Task Team Leader for the Africa Disaster Risk Financing Initiative; she also works on the implementation of the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program, and she is the focal point in the GFDRR Brussels team for post-disaster response. Prior to this position, Rossella worked in Washington on the World Bank Latin America and Caribbean Disaster Risk Management team. Before joining the World Bank, Rossella worked as Program Manager at a Brussels-based consultancy, and for several NGOs as project officer. Rossella, an Italian national, holds a MA in Risk and Crisis Management from the University Pantheon Sorbonne in Paris, an MA in Humanitarian Assistance from the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve, and a degree in physical geography from Pantheon-Sorbonne.
Henriette B. Mampuya is an Operations Officer in the GFDRR Brussels team. She contributes to the implementation of the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program (focal point for Africa) and supports other EU-funded programs. Henriette is part of the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative team, and she also contributes to maintaining relationships with the European Union, the ACP, and European donors. Prior to joining GFDRR, Henriette successively worked for the World Bank's Middle East and North Africa Region, the Africa Region, and the External Affairs Vice-Presidency. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, she holds a Master's degree in International Management from ICHEC Brussels Management School, Belgium.
Hugo Wesley is a Disaster Risk Management Analyst on the Brussels GFDRR team, supporting the implementation of EU-funded programs, particularly the Africa Disaster Risk Financing Initiative and the ACP-EU NDRR Program. Hugo also supports the team on communication efforts as well as Monitoring and Evaluation. Prior to joining GFDRR, Hugo was with the World Bank’s Education Global Practice. Hugo is a dual French and British national and holds a Master’s degree in Government and Politics in the EU from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Relations with German from the University of Kent, which included a one-year exchange program at the Freie Universität in Berlin. He speaks English, French, and German.
Stephan Zimmermann is a Junior Professional Officer funded by the Austrian Government under the Donor Funded Staffing Program. Stephan works with the Brussels team on the EU-funded Disaster Risk Financing Analytics program, relations with DG ECHO, and strengthening relations with DG CLIMA. He also contributes to liaising with the ECA Brussels team. Stephan was previously a Research Assistant for ICF International in their corporate International Development division in Brussels, and contributed to studies and evaluations in the Justice and Home Affairs team. A native Austrian, Stephan holds an MSc. in International Development from the University of Bath (UK) and a BA in Business Administration with specialization in International Law from IMC Krems (AT). He’s fluent in German and English, and has some knowledge of Spanish and French.
Secretariat Staff – Tokyo
Jared Mercadante is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist. He is GFDRR’s focal point for trust fund activities in South Asia and also serves as coordinator for program development and activities in GFDRR's engagement in Resilient Infrastructure. Previously, he provided technical support to country teams on post-disaster recovery planning and ex-ante preparedness, and on the integration of Contingent Emergency Response Components into World Bank investment operations. Before joining GFDRR in 2013, Jared worked for 10 years on urban, housing and reconstruction, and inclusive community-driven development projects in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. A United States national, Jared holds a Master in Urban Development Planning from University College of London, U.K., and a Masters and Bachelors in Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology, USA.
Haruko Nakamatsu is Team Assistant for the DRM Hub in Tokyo. Ms Nakamatsu, a Japanese national, has extensive experiences in planning, coordinating, and organizing conferences and sports events at a number of organizations, including: a national university, International Friendship Association, a cycling association and a travel agency. Prior to joining the World Bank, Ms. Nakamatsu was an administrative assistant and a corporate secretary to a variety of corporations. Her commitment and hard work in sales support have been recognized by the CEO of her previous employer.
Guillermo A. Siercke, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, is a member of the Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries. Prior to joining GFDRR, Guillermo worked with the South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean teams on lending operations and technical assistance in disaster risk financing, and on modernization of hydromet services. He is a core member of the Hydromet, Climate Services, and Resilience Community of Practice. A Honduran national, Guillermo holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from Georgetown University.
Shoko Takemoto is a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Specialist. Prior to joining GFDRR, Shoko spent more than five years worked on climate and disaster resilient development in the Pacific and West Africa with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Her areas of specialization include environmental policy and planning, climate change adaptation, disaster resilient design, and integrated water resource management. Shoko is a Japanese national. She holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College.
Sayaka Yoda is a Program Officer, supporting teams working on integrated urban flood risk management, safer schools, resilient rails and transport programs, and knowledge management. Previously, Sayaka worked with local governments in the Asia Pacific Region on city-to-city cooperation projects in the urban setting to improve resiliency of cities. Previously, she also taught sustainable architecture and urban planning as a visiting professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Toluca, Mexico. In that role, she collaborated with the local government and communities on projects in tourism, city branding and green roofs.