17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Chair: H.E. Ms. Gerda Verburg, (Kingdom of the Netherlands);

  • Dr. Kaire Munionganda Mbuende (Republic of Namibia);
  • Mr. Javad Amin-Mansour (Islamic Republic of Iran);
  • Ms. Tania Valerie Raguz (Republic of Croatia);
  • Ms. Ana Bianchi (Argentina).

    H.E. Ms. Gerda Verburg, Chairman (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    Message from the Chair

    Ms. Gerda Verburg was elected Chairperson of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17), a session which will focus on the thematic cluster of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa, and which will complete the second or Policy year of the first two-year (2008-2009) Implementation Cycle of the CSD.

    As Chairperson, Ms. Verburg will oversee the Commission's negotiations on measures to speed up implementation and mobilize action to overcome obstacles and constraints, and build on lessons learned in the focal area of the thematic cluster - issues which were highlighted by participants during the "Review year" that was CSD-16. It is expected that special attention will be given to the recent food price crises and competing claims for food, fuel and water.

    Ms. Gerda Verburg?s professional career has covered the domains: politics, the international field, and civil society and the private sector. Ms Gerda Verburg is currently the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands. Prior to this appointment Ms Verburg was a member of the House of Representatives of the States General for the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) (1998-2007). During this period Ms Verburg was responsible for social affairs. She was vice chairperson of the House of Representatives and the parliamentary party of the CDA (2002-2004). She also served on the boards of the National Federation of Christian Trade Unions, the Protestant Young Farmers Association, the Dutch Social and Economic Council, the European Trade Union Confederation, and the National Commission for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO).

    In her capacity of Minister, Ms Verburg chaired the 14th Session of the Conference of Parties of the International Conference on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in the Hague, the Netherlands (2007). Ms Verburg led the Netherlands delegation to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Conference (2007). She chaired international seminars, lastly at the FAO High Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome last June. She released a new policy on agriculture, rural employment and food security together with her colleague Minister Koenders for Development Cooperation.

    She is personally committed to sustainable agriculture, food security and a solid natural resource base at national, regional and international level.

    Dr. Kaire Munionganda Mbuende, Vice Chair (Republic of Namibia)

    Dr. Kaire Munionganda Mbuende is Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations. He is the Vice-Chairman representing Africa on the Bureau of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

    Dr. Mbuende has had distinguished longstanding academic, political, business and diplomatic careers. He was a Member of Parliament from 2000 to 2005 and a member of the Joint ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly from 2000 to 2002. During this period Dr. Mbuende was also Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Economics and Vice- Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Audit Committee. He was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2004. He was Co-Chairman of the Southern African Economic Forum during 1996-1999 and Executive Secretary, Southern African Development Community from 1994 to 1999. He was Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development from 1990 to 1993 and a Member of Parliament. From 1989 to 1990, Dr. Mbuende was a Member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted and adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia and Head of SWAPO Regional Election Directorate, Gobabis (Omaheke Region).

    Dr. Mbuende is a renowned author and has published several books and numerous articles on a broad range of political, social, economic and trade issues. He was Reader at the Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm and lectured on development studies in the University of Lund and University of Aarhus in the 1980s.

    Dr. Mbuende has served on various Boards and Committees in both public and private sector at national and international levels. He has been involved in the review and monitoring of activities of the various organizations. Born on 28th November 1953 in Windhoek, he is married with five children. He is proficient in many languages, including English, Afrikaans, Herero, Swahili, Ovambo, Swedish, Danish and German.

    Dr. Mbuende has a PhD in Economic Sociology from the University of Lund and holds a BA (Hons) in Economic History and Sociology from the University of Lund and a BD from Lutheran College, at Makumira, Arusha, Tanzania.

    Mr. Javad Amin-Mansour, Vice Chair (Islamic Republic of Iran)

    Mr. Amin-Mansour is a Senior Expert in the Department of International Economic Affairs and Specialized Agencies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. He is the Vice-Chair representing Asia on the Bureau of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

    From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Amin-Mansour served as First Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York. Prior to his posting in New York, Mr. Amin-Mansour served as Deputy Director for International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1998 to 2001, he was posted as Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office in Geneva. From 1993 to 1998, he served as Deputy Director for International Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Mr. Amin-Mansour has been active in the Commission on Sustainable Development since its thirteenth session, and has previously served as a Vice-Chair during its fourteenth session. He also served as Facilitator of the Draft Resolution on Agenda 21 during the 61st and 62nd sessions of the UN General Assembly. Recently, he participated in the Special Meeting of ECOSOC on the Global Food Crisis, and the High-Level Event and Thematic Debates of the UN General Assembly on Climate Change in New York. He has actively participated in numerous other United Nations conferences and meetings as well, including meetings of UNEP, UN Forum on Forest, meetings of the Conference of Parties of the Convention to Combat Desertification, meetings of the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, meetings of the Council and Assembly of the Global Environment Facility, and meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention.

    Mr. Amin-Mansour is author of numerous articles on the United Nations and on international environmental issues. He holds a Master Degree in the field of Government and Politics, with focus on International Relations, and a Certificate on International Law from St. John's University in New York. He obtained his Bachelor Degree in the field of International Relations from International Relations College in Tehran and an Associate Degree in the field of Electricity from Khojeh-Nasir Tousi University in Tehran. He speaks Persian, English, French and Arabic.

    Ms. Tania Valerie Raguz, Vice Chair (Republic of Croatia)

    Ms. Tania Valerie Raguz is the Vice-Chair representing the Eastern European States on the Bureau of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

    During 2008, Ms. Raguz returned as First Secretary to the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the United Nations, with primary responsibility for economic, international trade and development issues.

    Since joining the Croatian Foreign Service in 1996, Ms. Raguz served in the Departments for the U.N., Human Rights, and Protocol within the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. Previous diplomatic postings for Ms. Raguz have included Washington D.C. (2004-2008) and the United Nations in New York (1998-2002).

    As part of her responsibilities in the Croatian Foreign Ministry, Ms. Raguz served as a member of the Croatian National Committee responsible for drafting the first National program of Action for Children as follow-up to the World Summit for Children, as well as in the secretariat to the Governmental Working Group on Harmonization of National Legislation with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Ms. Raguz has also worked on a number of Croatian publications pertaining to U.N. issues.

    During her initial posting to the United Nations in New York, Ms. Raguz was involved in the work of a number of Preparatory Bureaus for various U.N. conferences, in particular the Preparatory Committee?s task force for the Monterrey International Conference on Financing for Development. Ms. Raguz also closely assisted the President of ECOSOC during the Croatian presidency in 2002.

    Ms. Ana Bianchi, Vice Chair (Argentina)

    Ms. Ana Bianchi has been endorsed by the Group of Latin American and the Caribbean States as the Vice-Chairperson representing Latin America and the Caribbean on the Bureau of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

    Ms. Bianchi is a career diplomat with the rank of Counselor. She has specialized in multilateral negotiations in the field of environment and sustainable development. Until her recent assignment to the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations in New York, she has been working at the General Division of Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina where she has coordinated the activities of the Division.

    From this position, and also from the beginning of her diplomatic career in 1990, Ms. Bianchi has participated in a number of international negotiations and conferences related to environment and sustainable development issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, Global Environment Facility, Genetic Resources and Sustainable Development at the UN and at the OAS level. She is a regular participant of the CSD meetings.

    Previously, Ms. Bianchi had been posted to the Argentine Embassy to the Republic of the Philippines (1994-1995) and to the Embassy to the Kingdom of the Netherland (1995-1997), where she was Alternate Delegate to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and its Executive Board. In 1998, at the end of her term, she was appointed Special Assistant to the Director of Administration of the OPCW.

    Ms. Bianchi has a university degree in Political Sciences and did post-graduate studies on International Security and Foreign Policy. From 1987 to 1992 she was professor on Contemporary International Policy and History of International Relations at the Argentine University of El Salvador.

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