7th edition

October Days
for Sustainable Development

Rethinking Cities
from Smart to Human


21 October 2021
14:00 -16:30 CET


Online Conference


Featured Speakers


Keynote Speech


Concluding Remarks

the agenda

14:00 – 14:10

Institutional Welcome

14:10 – 14:40

Keynote Speech by Maimunah Mohd Sharif

14:40 – 16:10

Panel Session by Jette Hopp, Ilona Eklona, Holger Robrecht, Charles-Antoine de Theux

16:10 – 16:25

Concluding Remarks by Brian Field

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Tanya Beckett

Broadcaster, Public Speaker, Communications Advisor

Tanya Beckett has worked in broadcasting and the media for over 20 years. She started out at the FT, then went to work for CNBC, Sky News, CNN and since 1998, the BBC.

She has worked on a variety of programmes on BBC World News, the BBC News Channel, Radio 4 and BBC1 and BBC2 including The Inquiry, Our World, Working Lunch, Today, Newsnight and World Business Report. She also spent three years living in and reporting from New York for the BBC.

Tanya also works with the World Bank, Chatham House, the Somali Government and the British Foreign Office in matters relating to trade and communication. She is currently writing and presenting BBC current affairs radio documentary The Inquiry.

Tanya has a degree from Oxford University in Metallurgy and Materials Science and spent five years as an investment banker in Frankfurt and London.
Maimunah Mohd Sharif

Executive Director
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Undersecretary-General of the UN

Maimunah Mohd Sharif is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), appointed at the level of Under-Secretary-General by the Secretary-General. As the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah has focused on reforming and rejuvenating the agency, mobilising internal and external support for the organization’s restructuring and new Strategic Plan 2020–2023. Key initiatives undertaken by Maimunah Mohd Sharif as the Executive Director of UN-Habitat include the adoption of the General Assembly Resolution 73/539 after 14 years of negotiation, which established a new governance structure with universal membership, governed by the UN-Habitat Assembly.

Prior to this appointment, Maimunah was the Mayor of the City Council of Penang Island, Malaysia. In 2011, she was the first woman to be appointed President of the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai. As mayor of a local authority, she led the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai to achieve its vision of a “cleaner, greener, safer and healthier place to work, live, invest and play.” Maimunah Mohd Sharif began her career as a Town Planner at the Municipal Council of Penang Island in 1985. In 2003, she was promoted to Director of Planning and Development, a position she held until November 2009.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Town Planning Studies from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, UK and a Master of Science in Planning Studies from the Malaysia Science University.
Jette Hopp

Snohetta, Norway

Jette Cathrin Hopp is a graduate architect, part of the executive management of Snøhetta and is the director with responsibility for acquisition and new projects.

She has extensive experience in complex Norwegian and international projects, leading major international project developments and competitions. She regularly lectures at architectural symposia, conferences and international institutions, sharing Snøhetta’s philosophy and design ideas, and she is also a jury member for several architecture competitions and prizes. Jette is also regularly invited as critic to international architecture universities. Jette is member of the Board of Trustees of the Schelling Architecture Foundation and holds a teaching position at the University of Technology and Design, Wismar, Germany.

She was a team leader for the museum in the King Abdul Aziz Centre for Knowledge and Culture, Dharhan in Saudi Arabia and a project leader for a large hotel and resort development of Hvar in Croatia. She has led major international developments with a focus on sustainability, such as at the Astana Expo 2017 “Future Energy” in Kazakhstan and in Lingkong Soho Shanghai, China, innovative environmental projects in Norway, such as Powerhouse One in Trondheim as well as the Powerhouse Kjørbo concept in Sandvika which is the world’s first rehabilitated energy-positive building.
Holger Robrecht

Deputy Regional Director for Europe
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

Holger Robrecht is a specialist in local environmental and sustainability management and planning, and has more than 30 years of experience in supervising teams and the development and coordination of large-scale international and European projects. He joined ICLEI -Local Governments for Sustainability in 1997. As one of four Deputy Regional Directors for Europe, he is member of ICLEI’s Board of Directors and leads ICLEI’s Sustainable Resources, Climate & Resilience team.

Currently he focuses on innovative solutions to support sustainable cities and communities (including nature-based solutions, blue, green and digitally supported infrastructures), climate-resilient and carbon-neutral urban and regional transformation, and the role of sub-national and local governments in the UN Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

He represents ICLEI Europe in the UN CBD Roadmap process and is liaison to European Institutions and Biodiversity stakeholders. In partnership with the European Environment Agency, in 2013, he founded the European Urban Resilience Forum as an annual exchange platform of local practitioners and researchers aiming at mainstream resilience in urban areas. Holger has been member of several international and EU Expert Groups.

Before joining ICLEI, Holger led the Research department Soil Contamination, Soil Protection and Land-use management at the University of Dortmund, Institute for Environmental Research (1990-97).

Heliosmart, Luxembourg

After obtaining a Master of law degree from UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain – Belgium), Charles-Antoine de Theux de Montjardin founded Agriland s.a. — dedicated to management of farming land with 10 000 ha currently under management — in 1985. He joined Villeroy & Boch Luxembourg Tableware in 1988, and resigned as General Manager in 2012 to found Heliosmart s.a., which develops apartments according to circular economy principles. The first project was delivered in 2018. Several further projects are under development.

General Manager of “Fondation Jean l’Aveugle – Chateau de Montjardin” in Belgium, Charles-Antoine is also active in heritage conservation, biodiversity and ecotourism projects.
Ilona Eklona

Former Director of ESPON EGTC
Former Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia

Ilona Anna Eklona has many years of experience in European territorial development policy thanks to her roles as director of the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) European Grouping on Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) and in the Latvian government.

Within the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia, Ilona worked extensively on development planning before taking up the position of Deputy State Secretary between 2012 and 2016.

In addition, Ilona regularly gave lectures on territorial development at universities across Latvia and was actively involved in international development cooperation projects. She is an active promoter of a place-based approach in development policy, advocating for a more strategic approach, the empowerment of subnational authorities and greater cooperation among places beyond their administrative boundaries. Her educational background is in political science.
Brian Field

Professor -(UCL, Bartlett School of Planning)
Urban Planner

Brian Field is an economist, urban planner, and public policy analyst, specialising in planning and sustainable development at all spatial scales, and related project appraisal and finance. He was for many years Special Managerial Advisor on Urban Planning and Development at the European Investment Bank (EIB) and therefore, de facto, the Bank’s leading spatial development specialist.

His career has covered the full spectrum of contemporary professional practice in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Far East, and the Middle East and, prior to joining the EIB, he held a number of senior appointments in the public and private sectors including, for example, Head of Planning and Economics at WS Atkins International. In his pre-EIB incarnation, he also pursued a successful academic career, with professorial appointments at the National University of Singapore and De Montfort University in the United Kingdom, where he was Head of the School of the Built Environment. He is presently an Associate and Senior Research Fellow at the OMEGA Centre and Visiting Professor in the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London (UCL), and also teaches in the Geography Departments at both the University of Luxembourg and the Sorbonne at the University of Paris.

Professor Field’s current research focuses on the New Urban Agenda facilitating the development of more sustainable cities and communities, and the economic implications of delivery on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whilst simultaneously seeking to address climate change imperatives. He has published extensively on planning and related matters in books and scholarly papers, and is on the editorial board of several international peer reviewed journals.

He has degrees from Brunel University, Cambridge University, the City University of London and the University of Westminster, and was a doctoral candidate at the London School of Economics. As a qualified planning and development practitioner, he is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI), an Eminent Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport (CMILT).