Selection Committee

Luc Gnacadja

Luc Gnacadja is an architect, a passionate advocate of landscapes ecological restoration, and the founder of “GPS-Dev”, a “Think tank for Doers” that promotes the translation of good practices and impactful innovations on food security and poverty eradication into policies and governance for sustainable development.

He previously served as UN Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UNCCD (2007 to 2013) and Minister of Environment, Housing, Urban and Regional Development of Benin (1999 to 2005).

He was a guiding voice for sustainable land development in the negotiations leading up to Rio+20, the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. His personal effort to promote the adoption of an international commitment to a “land-degradation neutral world” was deemed a critical step forward.

He is a recipient of the World Bank’s Green Award (2002) for promoting environment friendly public expenditure reform in Benin, and lately (November 2014) received the Jeffrey Cook Prize in Desert Architecture in acknowledgement of his lifetime contribution to a sustainable built environment.

Adam Koniuszewski, CA/CPA, CFA.

Expert on global sustainability challenges and their business and financial aspects.

Award-winning Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Financial Analyst and Commerce Graduate from Concordia University in Montreal. After a career in international business (North America, Europe, North Africa) during which he gained experience in strategy and business development, planning and risk management, corporate and government affairs,

Adam has joined the world of civil society where he works in the field of sustainability.

He is the Executive Director of Green Cross International, the global environmental non-profit founded by Mikhail Gorbachev to address the challenges of security, poverty and the environment and the project leader of the Gorbachev Climate Change Task Force.

Adam advises several organizations on sustainable development practices and has been a member of the selection committee for several sustainability awards.

Ashok Swain

Mr. Ashok Swain (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) is Professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden. He also serves as the Director of the Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development, Sweden.

Dr. Swain has been a MacArthur Fellow at the University of Chicago, and Visiting Fellow at: the UN Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva; Witwatersrand University, South Africa; University of Science, Malaysia, University of British Columbia and the University of Maryland.

He has also worked as a consultant with OSCE, NATO, EC, IISS, the Government of Singapore, the Government of Sweden, and various UN agencies. He writes extensively on environmental security and international water sharing issues.

“I am happy and honoured to be part of this noble and important effort”

Dr. Swain speaks about WAFA

Margareta Barchan

Margareta Barchan specializes in helping organizations create and implement strategies that support a sustainable future – by striking a balance between social, environmental and financial responsibility. She is an entrepreneur who has started several successful companies and foundations, always with a focus on the human side of change. She earned the “Business Woman of the Year” award in Sweden 1997.

Now she is driving the research “Brave Leaders Project”, an initiative undertaken with support from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. Why are some leaders more prepared to stand up for their values and beliefs than others? This is one question she asks managers and leaders whose vision goes beyond short-term gains and shareholder value.

She is an Affiliate Professor in Sustainability at Lorange Institute for Business in Zurich and in Leadership & Management at Business School Lausanne. She serves as a director on several corporate boards and earned her MSc from HEC Paris in collaboration with Oxford University. She is a graduate of advanced studies in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Geneva and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.

Patrick Worms

Patrick Worms, a molecular geneticist, represents the world’s premier research institution devoted to the study of the roles of trees in agricultural landscapes to policy makers in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe (the World Agro forestry Centre, active since the 1970s, has reported on the astonishing benefits of multi crop agriculture involving trees in thousands of peer-reviewed publications. Headquartered in Nairobi and active across the tropics, the Centre is best known for its work in Africa’s dry lands, where agro forestry is leading to a revolution in farming productivity).

Patrick has been active at the science-policy interface since the late 1980s, with a start teaching biology in the Hindu Kush. As a young European official, he pioneered a new way of using communications to deal with the environmental legacy of communism across the former Soviet Union before leaving for the private sector and engaging with the disastrous environmental legacy of China’s Great Leap forward.

Later, he helped commercialise ESA’s assets on the International Space Station, consulted for a range of international organisations and Fortune 500 companies, and managed the Georgian government’s international media relations during Russia’s 2008 invasion. Patrick received bachelors and masters degrees from Cambridge University. A French-speaking German citizen, he is the happily married father of three children.