I. Natural capital approaches in India


Bhaskar Vira

Trained as an economist, Bhaskar’s research is concerned, in particular, with the often-hidden costs of environmental and developmental processes, and the need for scholarship to draw attention to the distributional consequences of public policy choices. His work brings a critical political economy perspective to contemporary debates in relation to ecosystem services and natural capital, and the values of nature for human wellbeing. He focuses on the ways in which large-scale economic, societal and environmental transformations are governed, the values that frame how human societies engage with each other and with nature, and the networks of formal and informal institutions that are intertwined in everyday decision making across a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

Seema Paul

Managing Director, India
The Nature Conservancy

Seema Paul is Managing Director for the India Program and leads all aspects of TNC’s entry into India. She has had a dedicated career in the field of environment, working across philanthropies, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the media. She has lived and worked in India, Europe and the United States. She has led global programs— including the biodiversity program at Ted
Turner’s UN Foundation—and managed program portfolios totaling more than $120 million over her career. Before coming to The Nature Conservancy, she was Vice President at Climate Works Foundation and Founder-CEO of Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing climate mitigation in India. She is a citizen of India and a Permanent Resident of the United States. She currently serves on the boards of Clean Air Task Force, a US-based global NGO dedicated to promoting pragmatic approaches to achieving a zero carbon world that recognize the need of developing countries to grow. She is also a board member of Ashoka Trust for Research in Environment and Ecology, a globally ranked Indian nonprofit working on conservation. In the past, Seema has served on the boards of Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, Walt Disney Conservation Fund and Exxon Mobil Save the Tiger Fund.

Madhu Verma

Qualifications: Dr.(Mrs.) Madhu Verma is Professor of  Environment & Developmental Economics & Coordinator of Centre for Ecological Services Management, Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, India. She is a Graduate in Biological Sciences & Post Graduate, M.Phil and Ph.D in  Economics from Bhopal University & has done her Post Doctoral Research work the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and at the University of California, Berkeley  & a Fulbright Fellow in Environmental Leadership at the Institute of Sustainable Solutions (ISS), Portland State University in  USA.

Fellowships and awards: She is a World Bank Environmental Management Program Fellowship Awardee (2001) Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) International Fellow (2007);  a Trainer-Member, The Climate Change Project, India Chapter, Initiated by Al Gore (2008);  Recipient of Zayed Intl. IInd Prize for the Environment, Dubai  (2007) & a Fulbright Fellow at Institute of Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University, Portand, USA.

She has been recognized by United Nations-REDD platform for ‘Women Working in Forests” on the occasion of Internal Women’s Day of 2018. A feature on her work has been published in category of Change Makers in special issue of India Today, a leading Indian Magazine in March 2018 on Madhya Pradesh State under the category of trendsetters…anchors of new policies. She was also a panelist in the session on “Write Stuff: The state of Education” in the “India Today: The State of The State Conclave” held at Bhopal on 29th March, 2018. She recently had been a discussant for a Book on Wild Madhya Pradesh by eminent tiger conservationist in January, 2019 in Bhopal Art and Literature Festival, Bhopal, India.

She has also been  nominated as a  “Human Star” for “Day out with a Star” forum at based at Washington, DC on environmental careers and had a live telecast across the globe on 1st April, 2018 which  received an overwhelming response from the viewers.

Work and other passions: She has 34 years of work experience with many national and international institutes and Ministries and United Nations bodies, travelled to more than 30 countries for her work and has more than 40 publications in international and national journals and 30 Project Reports to her credit for national and international organizations. She mainly works on ‘valuing & accounting benefits of Environmental conservation and costs of degradation’. Many of her works have greatly influenced the policy makers and have led to introduction of economic instruments in the system.

Her most passionate project so far has been Valuing the habitat of Tigers and Snow Leopards which took her across the country and now venturing into other Asian landscape. Besides her passion for Conservation of nature, she is a passionate light vocal singer, an interior designer and an excellent Cook and penning a book on “What I cook for my family-from the desk of a working woman”.

Harini Nagendra

Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, where she anchors the Centre for Urban Sustainability. Her research focuses on natural research management in the global South, with a particular focus on forests and cities. She is the author of “Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present and Future” (Oxford University Press), and “Cities and Canopies: The Tree Book of Urban India” (Penguin India, forthcoming in 2019, with Seema Mundoli).

II. Promoting green, inclusive growth through multilateral development institutions


Qingfeng Zhang

Director, Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division
East Asia Department
Concurrently Chair, Water Sector Group Committee
Asian Development Bank

Qingfeng Zhang is responsible for the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) operations on environment, natural resources, and agricultural development in the East Asia Region. Mr. Zhang is leading the One ADB approach in promoting the People’s Republic of China’s Yangtze River protection and supporting national rural vitalization strategy. His team is also designing a multi-phase lending assistance for Mongolia’s air quality management program. Mr. Zhang is concurrently serving as the Chair for the ADB’s Water Sector Group Committee.

Mr. Zhang joined ADB in 2005. He served at different positions in ADB, including environmental specialist (2005–2006); senior water resources engineer (2007–2009); principal water resources specialist (2009– 2011); and lead water resources specialist (2011–2014). Prior to joining ADB, he was a Director at the State Environmental Protection Administration in Beijing; a Senior Environment Specialist at the World Bank in Washington; and a Research Fellow at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. During his past 20 years of professional career, he had extensive experiences in the People’s Republic of China, East Timor, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. He also contributed to regional cooperation for ASEAN and the East and Central Asian countries on environmental and water management.

Mr. Zhang is a Chinese national. He holds a doctoral degree in environmental engineering from the Tsinghua University; and a master’s degree in water resources management, and a bachelor’s degree in hydrology from the Sichuan University. He was also trained at the Harvard Business School through its Executive Development Program.

Tel: +63 2 632 6769; +63 2 632 6161; +63 2 632 4444
Fax: +63 2 636 2534; +63 2 636 2444
E-mail: qingfengzhang@adb.org
ADB website: http://www.adb.org

Carter J. Brandon

Carter J. Brandon, Senior Distinguished Fellow, World Resources Institute (WRI)

Carter Brandon joined the World Resources Institute in February 2019 to lead work on the economics and finance of climate change adaptation in support of the Global Commission on Climate Change Adaptation.  Prior to that, he had a 24-year career at the World Bank, culminating as Global Lead Economist for Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change. His responsibilities included economic analysis, policy research, and financing strategies in those areas.  While at the World Bank, he also held various senior and management positions spanning the environment, agriculture, poverty and climate change sectors in the Washington, DC headquarters (Latin America and Asia departments) and two field offices (Beijing and Buenos Aires).  Prior to joining the World Bank, he started and ran the Development Economics Group, an economics consulting firm. He also made a documentary film on political unrest in Chiapas, Mexico, and played bassoon in the Paris Symphony. He graduated from Harvard University (B.A.) and Oxford University (MSc and DPhil, ABD, Agricultural Economics), where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Greg Watson

Mr. Gregory Watson, Lead Specialist, Natural Capital Lab, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Department, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. Within the IDB, Gregory leads the Natural Capital Lab.  In 2018, the IDB created the Natural Capital Lab to serve as a one-stop shop for the Group to drive innovation in the conservation, landscape, regenerative agriculture, biodiversity, and marine ecosystem finance spaces.  It seeks to bridge the gaps between traditional environmental and financial actors from the public and private sectors to incubate, accelerate, and scale new solutions to pressing problems.  The Natural Capital Lab is a risk-tolerant hub within the IDB, and given that the solutions to many natural capital problems are cross-cutting, it pursues an agenda of blended finance projects with all parts of the IDB Group (IDB, IDB Lab, and IDB Invest).  As a lab for financial innovation, activities include the deployment of funding in the form of grants, loans, equity, risk capital, or guarantees and acceleration of new models.  As a knowledge and partnership hub, it partners with leaders in technology, business, science, conservation, government, and finance to increase the recognized value of natural capital in the private and public sectors and create new alliances to solve problems.  The Natural Capital Lab has received a pledge of funding from the government of France, UK funds for Blue Carbon, and access funds within the IDB group and from the GEF.

Prior to creating the Lab, Gregory worked for many years in the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund, focused on innovation and enterprise development.  There he led the creation of the EcoMicro green microfinance program and Climatescope; co-led the design of the first private sector Forest Investment Program project approved globally (Mexico); co-designed the first FIP equity project (Brazil), lead IDB investment in the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund and the Bank’s equity investment in the first Habitat Bank in Latin America, in Colombia, and worked on a project to provide risk capital for a natural capital trading platform, IVE. He has also worked as a remittance specialist at the World Bank and IDB, and as an advisor for former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd. Mr. Watson holds a master’s degree in international development and political economy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a bachelor’s in International Affairs and Drama from Tufts University.

III. Achievements and challenges in a changing Latin America
Logros y retos en una región cambiante


Adrian Vogl

Adrian Vogl is Lead Scientist with The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, where she leads the Securing Freshwater program. Adrian works across the spectrum of researchers, policymakers, and civil society groups in Latin America, the Himalayas, the US, and Africa to advance the science and practice of ecosystem services and nature-based solutions for water security. Her work is problem-driven, with an emphasis on developing standardized approaches and tailored tools (e.g., RIOS, ROOT) to assess and map ecosystem services and their values, and connect these benefits to communities. Adrian holds a Ph.D. in Aquatic Resources from Texas State University-San Marcos, and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Arizona. >

Marta Echavarria

Marta Echavarria is Colombian, lives in Ecuador and works in Peru, which gives her a truly Andean perspective. As founder of EcoDecisión, a small consulting firm that has pioneered ecosystem services work internationally, she aims to insure that markets recognize the value of nature. Using institutional and financial arrangements to protect nature, EcoDecision has been instrumental in the implementation of long-lasting architectures to protect natural landscapes. From the watersheds of the Cauca Valley in Colombia in the 1990´s, to indigenous lands in the Amazon today, EcoDecision has designed, negotiated and made operational trust funds, environmental easements and institutions and sustainable value chains for different clients, including communities, private sector and international non-governmental organizations. Marta did her undergraduate and graduate studies at Brown University. She is currently the President of Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano and a proud mother of two!

Luis E. Fernandez

Luis E. Fernandez is the Executive Director of the Amazon Scientific Innovation Center and Assistant Professor of Research, Department of Biology, Wake Forest University. Luis is a tropical ecologist, expert in the dynamics and impact of environmental mercury in the areas of artisanal mining. During the last 12 years, Luis has carried out several research studies on the effects of mercury pollution in Peru and Brazil, and consulted with governments of Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia. Previously, Luis held positions at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University, the Argonne National Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) in Washington DC and Dallas TX . In 2009, EPA awarded Luis the agency’s highest award, the EPA’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Service, for its work on the dynamics of mercury in the Amazon Basin.

Other Featured Speakers


Nik Sekhran

Nik Sekhran is the Chief Conservation Officer at the World Wildlife Fund- US, overseeing work on wildlife protection, forest conservation, oceans and water resources management, food production and markets, and climate change. Prior to his appointment into this position earlier this year, he served as the Director for Sustainable Development at the United Nations Development Programme, where he was responsible for providing programme and policy support to countries to advance ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development. Over a 26 year career, he has worked on-the-ground on conservation and development in over 45 countries. His specific focus has been the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity including wildlife, fish stocks, and forests, ecosystem management, and conservation-compatible development, including nature-based tourism, sustainable agriculture and fishing. He has lived for many years in Africa, where he has witnessed the wildlife poaching crisis first hand. He has worked extensively with the GEF to build capacity in affected countries to address the crisis by strengthening law enforcement, strengthening management of systems of protected areas and through the operationalization of effective community-based conservation.

Mark Terecek

Mark Tercek is CEO of The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest conservation organization. He is the co-author of the Washington Post and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling book Nature’s Fortune:  How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

Before joining The Nature Conservancy in 2008, Mark was a Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs where he worked for 24 years. Starting in 2005, he led the firm’s environmental strategy and its Environmental Markets Group. Inspired by the opportunity to help businesses, governments and environmental organizations work together in new, innovative ways, Mark left Goldman Sachs in 2008 to head up The Nature Conservancy. 

He is a champion of the idea of natural capital — valuing nature for its own sake as well as for the services it provides for people, such as clean air and water, productive soils and a stable climate.  

Rodolfo Dirzo

Rodolfo Dirzo will provide special remarks at this year’s Evening Celebration at the Bing Concert Hall. Professor Dirzo’s scientific work examines the study of species interactions in tropical ecosystems from Latin America and Africa. Recent research highlights the decline of animal life (“defaunation”), and how this affects ecosystem processes/services. He teaches ecology, natural history, and conservation science at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Stanford, and conducts science education programs with underserved children in the Bay Area and in Mexico. His lab includes undergrads, graduate students, postdocs and visiting scholars from US, Latin America and Spain. Dirzo has coauthored the new Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Rich Sharp

Rich Sharp leads the software development projects that support ecosystem service assessment and planning at the Natural Capital Project. Previously he was an assistant professor of computer science at St. Lawrence University and earned his Ph.D. in computer science from The Ohio State University. His research interests include developing computational software for natural science applications, high performance computing applications, cloud computing, and scientific visualization.