MODERATOR: Ms. Irena Zubcevic, Chief, SIDS, Oceans and Climate Branch, Division for Sustainable Development, DESA

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Irena Zubcevic is a chief of Small island developing States, oceans and climate branch in the Division for Sustainable Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DSD/DESA). She has been working in the area of sustainable development for over 20 years. Prior to this position, she worked in the Intergovernmental support and interagency branch in DSD/DESA and supported intergovernmental processes from the Commission on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, Samoa Conference to the negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals. She is currently supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the areas of small island developing States, oceans, climate, sustainable transport, cities and sustainable consumption and production including through the support to the high-level political forum on sustainable development.



Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa 'Utoikamanu, High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, UN-OHRLLS  



For the position of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, the Secretary-General has selected Fekitamoeloa Katoa 'Utoikamanu of Tonga on 12 April 2017, who since January 2017 was the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Tourism, Tonga.


Ms. 'Utoikamanu brings with her a wealth of national, regional and international experience at various senior leadership levels, with a strategic perspective for the mandate of the OHRLLS and on building consensus among key stakeholders. She was previously Acting Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Council of the University of the South Pacific (2015), Deputy Pro-Chancellor and Deputy Chair of the Council of the University of the South Pacific (2009-2016), Deputy Director General and Director of Education, Training and Human Development of the Secretariat of Pacific Community (2009-2015), Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the Government of Tonga to the United Nations, United States of America, Cuba and Venezuela and High Commissioner to Canada (2005-2009), and Secretary for Foreign Affairs and European Commission's National Authorizing Officer for Tonga (2002-2005).

H.E. Mr. Brian Mushimba, Minister of Transport and Communications of Zambia


Hon. Mushimba is a Zambian politician who has been serving as the Minister of Transport and Communication since September 2016. Mushimba has also been a Member of Parliament of the Kankoyo constituency since August 2016.


Hon. Mushimba is an accomplished and results-driven strategic and operational executive in the electricity generation, transmission and distribution industry with extensive international and regional work experience spanning many years. Experience at a senior executive level (CEO) managing energy security for the country through integrated resource planning, electricity regulation enhancements and sustainable power generation asset management for optimal plant equipment performance to deliver electricity of the right quality and amount for national development.  

Mr. Michael Gill, Executive Director, ATAG

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Michael Gill is executive director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the only global association that represents all sectors of the air transport industry. Its mission is to promote aviation’s sustainable growth for the benefit of global society.

He was appointed as Director, Aviation Environment of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in November 2013, with responsibility for developing and implementing IATA’s work in the environment field, particularly in the areas of climate change, noise, biofuel commercialisation and the IATA environmental assessment programme.

Prior to that, he spent six years as senior legal counsel in IATA, supporting IATA’s external affairs portfolio. In that role, he led IATA’s delegation to three ICAO diplomatic conferences on airline regulatory and security issues.

Before joining IATA in May 2007, Michael was an aviation lawyer in private practice at the Paris Bar, acting for airlines and their insurers.

He holds law degrees from both King’s College, London and the Sorbonne University in Paris, as well as a masters degree from the University of Edinburgh. He is admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and an avocat in France.

Mr. Henry Gourdji, Head, Strategic Planning, Coordination and Partnerships, ICAO

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Henry joined the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1999. ICAO is a United Nations specialized agency mandated to establish and maintain the international standards for safe, efficient and economical international air transport.


Since joining ICAO, Henry has been with the Air Navigation Bureau and has principally managed one of ICAO's leading programs, the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). In 2014 he was appointed as one of the Bureau's Deputy Directors; responsible for the management of all monitoring and oversight activities within ICAO Member States,  and reporting on their capability of meeting their international obligations to ensure effective safety oversight of the States' civil aviation industry.


He was recently appointed as Head of Strategic Planning, Coordination and Partnerships within the Office of the Secretary General primarily to coordinate high-level and cross-cutting policies and programmes among the different Bureaux and Offices at Headquarters as well as Regional Offices of the Organization. His Office is also responsible for facilitating the development of partnerships, as well as to leverage such strategic partnerships in air transport systems' enhancements in Member States and the mobilization of resources needed to implement necessary improvements.


In 2011 he was the recipient of the Flight Safety Foundation President's Citation award for his contribution to world aviation safety. Prior to joining ICAO, he held various management positions with Transport Canada and was the Chief Executive Officer of an aviation firm in Montreal.


Henry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics and an advanced degree in military defense studies. He holds a Canadian aircraft maintenance and engineering licence for airframe and powerplant maintenance and is an active pilot with a multi-engine rating. He has recently retired from 30 years of military reserve service with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Mr. Christopher J. De Serio, Transport Specialist , WBG

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Christopher De Serio is a Transport Specialist with the Transport and ICT Global Practice at the World Bank.  With more than 15 years of experience throughout the East Asia and Pacific region, Chris has worked on a range of development issues, including air transport, infrastructure asset management, and public sector governance and capacity development. Most recently, his primary focus has been on co-leading the World Bank-financed Pacific Aviation Investment Program, a series of projects in several small island states that aim to improve international air transport and associated infrastructure.  Chris holds a Master of Arts in Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics from George Mason University.

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