The GFDRR team comprises a group of technical experts with global expertise on various disaster risk management topics and dedicated staff supporting the management and operations of the facility in Washington, DC, Brussels, Paris and Tokyo.
Niels Holm-Nielsen is Head of GFDRR. A Danish national, Niels joined the Bank in 2006 as a Junior Professional Officer in the Middle East and North Africa Region. He has since held several positions in Disaster Risk Management in the Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa Regions, including most recently as Lead Disaster Risk Management Specialist and Global Lead for Resilience and Disaster Risk Management. He holds a M.Sc. in Political Science from the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
Edward Charles Anderson is a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist with GFDRR. He has 15 years of experience focused on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. Most recently, he was the World Bank’s senior DRM and ICT specialist stationed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His work is at the nexus of urbanization and climate risks, and leverages emerging technologies and methods to integrate resilience into urban planning systems. Edward also participates on the advisory boards of European Commission smart city projects including City SDK, Krypto Labs’ Drone X Challenge, the European Space Agency’s Open Science Committee and the EU’s Drones in Humanitarian Action Expert Working Group.
Zakia Bakhtari is the GFDRR Program Assistant. Her journey at the World Bank started in 2019 as the Team Assistant at the Afghanistan Country Office. Zakia has more than seven years of experience working with international organizations in Afghanistan. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked with Tetra Tech in a USAID direct-funded project as an Administrative Specialist. She has volunteered with AIESEC International and Youth Thinkers Society, where she worked with a team of young talented people organizing different skills-building events and empowering youth to have a social impact. As a result of her volunteerism, she was the only Afghan volunteer selected to attend The Young Volunteers Camp in Turkey in October 2019 to represent the work of Afghan female volunteers. Zakia holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Karima Ben Bih, a Moroccan national, is a Senior DRM Specialist. She joined the Bank through the Young Professional program in 2017 and since then has managed complex operations on DRM and post-disaster/post-conflict reconstruction, including in Lebanon, Tunisia, and across MENA, with a specific focus on inter-sectoral dimensions and governance issues. Karima holds a PhD in architecture and urban studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an M.Arch with a focus on post-disaster shelter design from the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de Rabat in Morocco. Prior to joining the World bank, she worked for over 10 years in the private sector and with international NGOs and international organizations on housing policy, urban planning, and urban disaster risk management.
Luc Bonnafous is a DRM Specialist. Luc joined the World Bank in September 2020 as a Young Professional working as Disaster Risk Management Specialist in the Africa Region, where he has worked on both lending (project preparation and monitoring) and non-lending projects as a team member. Besides learning the Bank’s ways and contributing to mainstream workflows, he has provided technical advice and performed quantitative analysis regarding climate dynamics, remote-sensing, hydrological and statistical modelling. He also serves as the climate co-benefit focal point for his unit. Prior to joining the Bank, Luc has worked in the private sector and academia as a climate scientist, modeler and applied statistician focusing on climate extremes, water resources, energy & mining, and risk management. He holds a Master’s degree in Climate Science and Policy from Columbia University and an engineering degree from the Nancy School of Mines, France.
Mary Boyer is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist who started working with the Bank as a consultant in 2015, then joined the LAC DRM team in 2018. She has worked primarily in the Caribbean and Mexico on development of Cat DDOs and implementation of disaster vulnerability reduction projects, as well as a Disaster Risk Financing Technical Assistance for Caribbean countries that focuses on building capacity within Ministries of Finance towards DRF strategy development. Mary has a BA in anthropology and peace studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a masters in international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She has two kids under fives and loves teaching them how to garden and identify bugs.
Oxana Bricha is the GFDRR Senior Program Assistant. Oxana's over 20 years at the World Bank have included assignments in the corporate and regional units, providing operational and administrative support to the teams and managers. She has strong working knowledge of the Bank’s policies and procedures, Trust Fund administration, resource management, procurement, and IT systems. Oxana holds a master’s degree in information systems from George Washington University.
Pierre Chrzanowski, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, joined the World Bank in 2014 as a consultant under an assignment in Burkina Faso. He has since contributed to analytical works and lending operations in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean regions. Pierre's main areas of expertise are digital platforms, open data, and geospatial data. He holds a Master's degree in Information System Management from the University of Technology of Troyes in France.
Alex Chunet is the European Space Agency Representative to the World Bank, hosted at GFDRR, and supports coordination of collaborative activities under the ESA partnership and the joint Space for International Development Assistance initiative across the World Bank. He previously worked for the World Bank from 2017 to 2020 as a geospatial data scientist and contributed to the deployment of earth observation techniques and their application and adoption within World Bank operations and analytical pieces. Subsequently he also led the development of the first geospatial strategy of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). He holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, a Masters in Public Management from Sciences Po Paris and has completed trainings from the MIT, the French Space Agency and EUMETSAT in Data Science and Earth Observation technologies.
Ross Eisenberg is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist. An urban planner by training, Ross leads the City Resilience Program’s Planning for Resilience Pillar. He specializes in developing and deploying tools, analytics, and interactive methods to help governments understand and plan for their unique urban resilience challenges. Prior to the World Bank, Ross launched and scaled up programs for post-disaster reconstruction, long-term resilience building, and participatory urban poverty reduction in Bangladesh, Haiti, Indonesia, and Nepal. Ross holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Master in Urban Planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Mirtha Escobar is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist at GFDRR. Previously, she was a Disaster Risk Management Specialist for the Latin American and Caribbean region at the World Bank. Her professional focus is on the implementation of innovative projects and financing mechanisms for adaptation and mitigation of climate change. She has a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in Natural Resource Management and Climate Change from Virginia Tech University.
Sara Gey Feria is a Disaster Risk Management Analyst at GFDRR. She works as GFDRR's Regional Focal point for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) portfolio and GFDRR’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). Sara has more than 10 years of experience with the World Bank, previously working with LAC Disaster Risk Management operations team. Prior joining the Bank in 2012, she worked in the US at the Embassy of Spain and the Inter-American Development Bank, and the private sector in Spain. Sara holds a BSc in Business Administration and Tourism from the University of Huelva, and a MSc in Business Administration (MBA) from UNED, Spain.
Rashmin Gunasekera is a Senior Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Specialist and leads the Global Program for Disaster Risk Analytics at GFDRR. Until July 2021, he was part of the GPURL team in Latin America and Caribbean Region where his work has mainly focused on disaster risk analytics and Disaster Risk Financing (DRF). He has developed and led several innovative products and operations in DRM and DRF in particular and co-founded and co-leads the D-RAS swat team. He was also the Task Team Leader of the World Bank’s Multi Donor Trust Fund Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC) project. He has over 15 years of work experience extending to the public sector, re/insurance industry and academia. Prior to joining the World Bank in 2012, Rashmin was a Divisional Director of a global reinsurance intermediary and a coordinator of the Willis Research Network, the world’s largest collaboration between public science and the financial sector. A Sri Lankan and British national, his PhD is in earthquake seismology and he holds an honorary lectureship at University College London.
Oscar A. Ishizawa is a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist. He is joining GFDRR after six years working in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. His operational work has mainly focused on policy development lending and investment projects in the West and Central Africa. He led the team working on building disaster risk analytical tools and knowledge to inform operational and analytical projects across the region. Oscar has led lending and analytical projects in the AFR, LAC and MNA regions. Previous to joining the Bank, he worked as a consultant for the Peruvian Ministry of Economy and Finance, the German Cooperation Agency (GiZ) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He was also a post-doctoral research associate at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Oscar holds a Ph.D. in Computational Mechanics and Earthquake Engineering from the Ecole Centrale Paris (ECP), a Master's degree in Applied Mathematics and a Bachelor’s in Physics and Mathematics from the University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris 6).
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. Recently, Nadia was Co-team lead of the flagship World Reconstruction Conference 4 in Geneva.
Bramka Jafino is part of GFDRR via the World Bank Group's Young Professionals Program. He was previously a consultant at Deltares (The Netherlands), mainly working on flood risk and impact assessment and infrastructure planning. His background revolves around the use of simulation models to support planning under uncertainty, with applications in diverse fields including disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, water, and transportation. During his PhD at Delft University of Technology, he proposed methods to operationalize equity considerations in long-term planning for climate change. He also worked as an STC for the Bank, joining projects on estimating climate change impacts on poverty. He enjoys casual photography and cycling in his free time.
Brenden Jongman is a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist at GFDRR and leads the World Bank’s global work on Nature-based Solutions. A Dutch national, Brenden holds a PhD in Water and Climate Risk Management from the Institute for Environmental Studies in Amsterdam and has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles on resilience and climate change.
Ronette Jordan, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, previously served as Advisor to the Executive Director for Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean, extensively covering a range of issues related to climate, disaster risk management and resilience. Before joining the Bank in 2017, she worked as an Economist and Project Management Specialist in the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, managing the Government’s investment program and providing technical inputs for development policy and strategy formulation. She holds a Master’s degree in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from the University of Nottingham, U.K, a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management from the University of the West Indies, Barbados, and post graduate certifications in Project Planning, Appraisal and Management from the University of Bradford, U.K.
Christoph Klaiber is an Extended Term Consultant working on Climate and Disaster Risk Management for Health Systems, based in Washington. Upon joining the unit in 2020, he has contributed to the Frontlines report, supported the piloting of a DRM assessment tool for health systems in Belize, and has been leading the work on assessing population needs for multipurpose flood shelters in Cambodia using risk exposure and population vulnerability data. Christoph has also conducted research on exposure to air pollution of vulnerable populations in South and Southeast Asian countries. Prior to joining the Bank, he studied environmental and resource economics at Kiel University.
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.
Hanh Le has over 20 years of experience in M&E in the financial and private sector development with both the WB and IFC. Prior to GFDRR, she was the Sr. Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist at the Finance for Development Umbrella Trust Fund Program with the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation (FCI) Global Practice. In the last 10 years at FCI, she served as the lead M&E Specialist for FCI and has helped task teams and WB clients in designing and implementing outcomes-focused results frameworks for hundreds of projects, both lending, non-lending. She also led the program evaluations, project-level reviews, impact stories, Annual Reports for the Finance for Development TF Program. Hanh graduated from Pyatigorsk State University with linguistics and pedagogy specializations, and received MBA from the Washington State University.
Xiaofeng Li is an Operations Officer for GFDRR. Since joining the World Bank through the China country office in 2007, she has served on a variety of assignments in disaster risk management, including managing trust funds at trustee and grant levels, overseeing trust fund portfolios, and serving as task team lead for advisory services and analytics including joint initiatives with GFDRR in Zanzibar and the Resilience Academy in Tanzania. She previously worked in the Bank's Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice (GPURL). Before joining the Bank, Xiaofeng worked for the Chinese Government.
Jason Zhengrong Lu is Lead Operations Officer. He was previously the head of the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), where he started as Lead Infrastructure Finance Specialist in 2015 after working at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) for 10 years as Senior Underwriter. Jason has led GIF growth from a start-up facility to the largest fund dedicated to the infrastructure PPP project preparation and structuring in emerging markets and developing economies with a growing pipeline. At MIGA, Jason worked on a broad range of complex energy and infrastructure projects worldwide. Jason started his banking career with Bank of America in its Global Project Finance Group, where he was responsible for transaction structuring and execution. He also worked at ABB Energy Capital on renewable energy financing in the United States and at State Street Corporation.
Marie-Flore Michel is a Secondee from the French Government, based in Washington. Her work focuses on nature-based solutions, drawing on 10 years of experience in environmental and climate stakes. At the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she was project manager at the embassy in Bratislava, working on scientific cooperation and the success of the Paris Agreement on climate change, then policy advisor on freshwater issues in Paris. She then joined the UN-ICAO Environment Department in Montreal, helping to mitigate the adverse effects of aviation on the environment and adapt to climate change. She recently led the Solutions Unit of the Climate Action Accelerator, which supports the international aid sector in decarbonizing its activities while increasing its resilience. She observes international electoral processes with the OSCE. She graduated in climate science and environmental law.
Frederico Pedroso is a civil engineer specialized in providing technical advisory and operational support for DRM activities ranging from disaster risk identification and mitigation to disaster preparedness, resilient infrastructure designs and urban resilience. Prior to joining the World Bank, Fred worked as a Transportation Engineer in Brazil and as assistant professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Over the past 9 years at the World Bank, he has been engaged in project preparation / implementation and Technical Assistance in Brazil, Belize, Bolivia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Cabo Verde and Samoa. With significant experience in promoting innovative engineering designs and disaster risk assessments to increase systems resilience, Fred has special interest in the overlap between natural hazards and climate risks in the infrastructure spectrum. Fred holds a Masters in Transportation (University of Brasilia), a PhD in Civil Engineering (Transport and DRM Focused) from the University of Canterbury and a Post-doctorate in Urban Logistics and Humanitarian Logistics from Kyoto University.
Rob Pilkington is a Senior Urban Finance Specialist leading the City Resilience Program’s finance workstream and coordinating the RECIDE initiative. With over 14 years of experience in infrastructure related planning, including, most recently, three years at the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), Rob specializes in helping governments mobilize private capital and expertise. Although he works across most infra sectors, Rob has particular experience in transport and, more recently, street lighting and solid waste. Rob has experience supporting many of the Bank’s regions and speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese. He holds a Masters in Applied Economics and is a CFA Charterholder.
Natalia Romero is a DRM Specialist. She is a civil engineer with experience in applied research projects, focusing on network modelling, risk assessment, and analysis of infrastructure interdependencies. She has had the opportunity to apply her engineering and systems knowledge to different sectors. including power, transport, water supply, urban resilience, health systems, and agriculture and food security, in the USA, Colombia, Paraguay, Liberia, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Kazakhstan.
Keiko Sakoda is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist at GFDRR. Previously, she was a Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank working on the climate and disaster resilience portfolio in the South Asia region. She brings solid operational experience in post-disaster and post-conflict reconstruction, disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, and urban development through a decade of field experience in Africa, South and East Asia, and the Pacific. Keiko joined the Bank as one of the founding members of the World Bank Disaster Risk Management Hub in Tokyo, where she launched knowledge programs to share Japan’s disaster experience and lessons with World Bank clients. Prior to joining the Bank, she worked with UNHCR, UNDP, UN-Habitat, and JICA in South Sudan, Indonesia and Mongolia, where she gained diverse field experiences on climate and disaster resilience. She holds a Master's degree in Architectural Engineering from Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Architectural Engineering at Kyoto University.
Moussa Sidibe is a DRM Specialist (Young Professional) at GFDRR. With an academic background in hydrology and water resources management, Moussa completed his PhD in hydrology and climate change at Coventry University, UK. He has a particular interest in developing adaptation strategies based on the understanding of the potential impacts of climate variability and change on hydrological systems at different spatial and temporal scales. Prior to joining the World Bank Group Young Professionals Program, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), mainly investigating climate change impacts on water resources, and adaptation strategies across West Africa.
Rui Su is an Extended Term Consultant with the City Resilience Program (CRP) based in Washington. She leads analytical activities within the Planning Pillar. Focusing on urban resilience and climate adaptation, she oversees the implementation and transformation of key analytical products for urban hazard assessment, including the City Scan and Urban Climate & Risk Analysis (UCRA). Rui's World Bank journey began with the GFDRR analytics team, where she applied machine learning methods to uncover persistent barriers to social mobility using household surveys. Her contributions extend to research on global urbanization, flood risks, agricultural production, and social inclusion, resulting in several published papers. Prior to the Bank, Rui advocated for low-income tenants in New York City, contributed to urban governance and fiscal policy research in India, and studied critical urban geographies. She holds a Bachelor's in Sociology from Carleton College and a Master's in Urban Planning from Harvard University.
Zoe Trohanis, Lead Disaster Risk Management Specialist, previously worked in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region of the World Bank Group as a Senior Urban Specialist. She has more than 15 years of experience at the Bank in disaster risk management and urban development programs, in both Latin America and the Caribbean and East Asia and the Pacific. Previously, she worked in the Hazard Management Unit at GFDRR. Prior to working at the Bank, she worked in both academia and in the private sector. Zoe has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an Master's degree from American University's School of International Service.
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.
Boris van Zanten is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist (ETC) in GFDRR’s Nature-based Solutions for Climate Resilience Program. Previously, Boris has worked for the World Bank as a consultant, developing tools and leading analytical work for operational teams focusing on geospatial and economic analysis to support investments in Nature-based Solutions in the Africa and East Asia & Pacific regions. Prior to joining the Bank, he worked as a researcher and consultant – both in the private sector and in academia – in environmental management and economics in small island developing states and landscape management. His key research skills include ecosystem services valuation, cost-benefit analysis, natural hazard risk assessment, geospatial analytics, meta-analysis and statistical modeling, citizen science and participatory methods. Boris holds an interdisciplinary PhD in Environmental Economics & Geography and a Master of Science in Environmental Management from the VU University in Amsterdam.
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.
Jemma Vasilyan is an Operations Analyst focusing on data analytics, Trust Fund administration, and portfolio monitoring and reporting. She is also a part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response, Disaster Risk Management - Fragility, Conflict and Violence Nexus, and Inclusive DRM & Gender Equality thematic areas. Prior to joining GFDRR, she worked with the Poverty Global Practice conducting qualitative and quantitative research for the Europe and Central Asia region. Jemma is an economist with an MBA in Finance from Lehigh University.
Rossella Della Monica, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, is part of the Brussels GFDRR team, and works on the implementation of programs financed by the European Union. She is the Task Team Leader for the ACP-EU Disaster Risk Management Program, the Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility and the TA Program for Disaster Risk Financing in Caribbean OCTs; she also works on further developing strategic partnerships with the European Union on disaster risk management. Prior to this position, Rossella worked in Washington in 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.
Cristina Otano is Senior Operations Officer at GFDRR. She leads the Operations and Country Programs team, working to ensure all investments in resilience are designed taking into account disaster and climate risks, as well as future climate change and variability. Cristina also coordinates the gender program, which promotes a more gender-responsive approach of disaster risk management practices. Cristina 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.
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 DRM Specialist and GFDRR's Regional Focal point for Europe & Central Asia (ECA). Stephan joined the World Bank as Junior Professional Officer funded by Austria in early 2016 and has been part of the Brussels team since then. He works on the implementation of several EU-funded programs, strengthening relations with the European Commission and UNDRR's regional office for ECA, and also contributes to liaising with the World Bank's ECA team. He previously worked for private consulting firms and public institutions in Belgium, Cambodia and India. A native Austrian, Stephan holds an MSc. in International Development from the University of Bath and a BA in Business Administration with specialization in International Law from IMC Krems, Austria. He currently pursues a professional doctorate in his spare time. He is fluent in German and English and has working knowledge of French.
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.
Paolo Avner is a Senior 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.
Fernando Ramirez Cortes is Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist based in Paris. Fernando was most recently based in Singapore working for the East Asia and Pacific region. Over the last 7 years, Fernando has also led the Global Program for Safer Schools (GPSS) with activities over 20 countries and a growing strategic engagement with GP Education. His extensive experience on resilient infrastructure and risk management will contribute to strengthen GFDRR’s global leadership on this field. Fernando joined the Bank in 2007, worked for LAC and ECA, leading several TA and lending operations on safer school infrastructure. Before the Bank, he worked for the Bogota city’s government as head of the DRM office and for the Colombian Geological Service as project manager and landslide specialist. Fernando enjoys cooking and outdoor activities.
Charles-Antoyne Hurstel is an Urban Finance Specialist (ETC) primarily working with the City Resilience Program, based in Paris. Prior to this position, he was working as a consultant at the World Bank Group, within the City Resilience Program. Before the Bank, he worked for CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats for several years as a lawyer. He was specialized in project finance and PPP/PFI projects, advising financial institutions and borrowers on French and cross border transactions, particularly in the infrastructure and energy sectors. He is also a lecturer at ESCP Business School in Project Finance. He holds a Master of Policy Management from Georgetown University and an LL.M in Business Law from Durham University.
Leonardo Valente is an Extended Term Consultant Analyst based in Paris. Over the past three years, Leo has been working on the program management and donor relations of the City Resilience Program, as well as coordinating with GFDRR’s EU donors. Leo previously worked on ECR’s French desk supporting the WB’s engagement to the G7 in Biarritz. Prior to that, he held several positions at the French NGO Handicap International, including as an operations analyst helping review the operational strategy in Togo and Benin. Leo holds an MA in International Development from Sciences Po and a BA in International Relations from New York University. He is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian.
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 Columbia University.
Nicholas Jones is a Data Scientist based at GFDRR’s Tokyo Disaster Risk Management Hub. Since joining the World Bank in 2011, he has been stationed at the Brussels, New York and Washington DC offices, and has contributed to technical assistance and lending operations for disaster risk management in Caribbean, Pacific and African regions. He spent a sabbatical year as a fellow at New York University focused on applying advanced data analytics for improved urban policy and operations; during this time he also worked at the New York City Mayor's Office of Data Analytics and pursued his interests as a jazz pianist. Before joining the Bank he was lead analyst for South and Southeast Asia at UK consulting firm Oxford Analytics. He holds degrees from Cambridge University, Birkbeck College, and New York University.
Yasuhiro Kawasoe (Hiro) joins GFDRR Tokyo hub as a Disaster Risk Management Specialist. A Japanese national, Hiro joined the Bank in 2017 as a Junior Professional Officer in the Social Protection and Jobs (SPJ) Global Practice. Since then, he worked for the global and regional units, most recently as a Social Protection Specialist in the East Asia and Pacific Region, covering both operational and analytical works. His focus in the Bank has been on a linkage between human development sectors and climate change adaptation and disaster risk management (such as adaptive social protection, socio-economic vulnerability). Prior to joining the Bank, he worked as a JICA consultant with experiences in disaster risk assessment, risk-informed urban planning, and post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. He is a First class registered Architect (Japan) and holds a M.Eng in Architecture from Waseda University in Japan. Hiro was competitively selected and will formally start on January 1, 2023.
Dixi Mengote-Quah is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist with the World Bank Tokyo DRM Hub. She has worked on Bank operations in East Asia Pacific, with a focus on flood risk management, climate resilience, and nature-based solutions for watershed management and slope protection. She brings private sector and government experience in planning, detailed design of climate-adaptive landscapes, and green building retrofits. She currently manages knowledge products and financing for DRM technical assistance in Latin America and Europe/Central Asia. She has master’s degrees in Engineering and in Built Environment Design from NTU Singapore and the University of Cambridge.
Masakazu Miyagi joined the Tokyo DRM Hub as an Infrastructure Specialist Extended Term Consultant. Prior to joining the DRM Hub in the Tokyo office, he spent more than 10 years working with governments and donors for technical assistance in Asia and Africa. His areas of specialization include disaster risk management, water resource management and infrastructure. He holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the Tohoku University.
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.
Keiko Saito is a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist to be based at the Tokyo DRM Hub. Prior to joining the Hub she was based in Vientiane, Lao PDR, leading the DRM portfolio in Lao PDR and Cambodia as TTL where the activities covered a wide range of DRM topics including flood risk reduction strategies and investments, hydromet modernization, system integration and improving service delivery, disaster risk financing, mainstreaming DRM and climate resilience into national policies and development plans, developing DRM plan for cultural heritage (Angkor Watt), rapid damage assessments, PDNAs, emergency response and preparedness capacity building, and other recovery related activities. Prior, Keiko worked in the south pacific supporting the SIDS. At the Tokyo Hub she will lead and support the team in technical issues concerning the Japan SDTF. She was competitively selected and her appointment will become effective on January 1, 2023.