We have brought together a diverse group of leading experts with a broad range of experience in the field of infrastructure resilience. Our judges are all internationally recognised leaders in their fields, and we are delighted to be able to offer selected semi-finalist projects the opportunity to achieve the recognition of, and engagement with, our panel of judges.
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
Mark has served as Executive Director of C40 Cities since December 2013, during which time the organisation has grown from 63 to 97of world’s greatest cities, and from 40 to over 250staff across the globe. From inception, C40’s mission has been to be a high ambition leadership group, driving the world to avoid a climate crisis through the actions and leadership of the mayors of the world’s leading cities. In 2016, C40 became the first major organization to insist that a 1.5-degree target was essential rather than aspirational (through our Deadline 2020 program). Prior to joining C40 Cities, Mark was Director at pioneering engineering and design firm, Arup, and before that was a senior adviser to the Mayor of London, in which role the London Evening Standard described him as “the intellectual force behind Ken Livingstone’s drive to make London a leading light of the battle against global warming.” He reports to C40 Chairperson and Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, and C40 Board President, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He believes that work should be fun, but that there is always time for music, narrow boats, and places you can get to by bicycle.
Meredith Adler is the Executive Director for Student Energy, a global youth-led organization creating the next generation of energy leaders. Student Energy mobilizes movement of 50,000 students from over120 countries around the world committed to a sustainable energy future. Meredith develops young people’s capacity accelerate the energy transition while working with industry, governments, and organizations to create space effective youth empowerment and intergenerational collaboration. Under Meredith’s leadership Student Energy has increased in size and impact by a factor of 10. She is a sought-after advisor on youth empowerment, intergenerational collaboration, and effective capacity building for the energy transition.
Thomas W. Smith III
Thomas W. Smith III
American Society of Civil Engineers
A dedicated member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for more than 25 years and a civil engineer by training, Tom Smith served as the association’s deputy executive director and general counsel before becoming the executive director in January 2015. Established in 1852, ASCE is the oldest national professional engineering society. With a membership of more than 150,000 and an annual operating budget of over $65million, the Society is dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of engineering for the betterment of humanity. Smith is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Society. He provides executive leadership to a staff of over 200 and an active volunteer workforce of over 10,000 facilitating ASCE’s tradition of supplying high-quality and high-value products and services to its members and other customers worldwide.
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Abhilash Panda leads UNDRR’s effort in the areas of financing risk prevention, de-risking investment, and resilience of infrastructure. He has more than 17 years of experience in international development, humanitarian response, investment portfolios and sustainable development. Abhilash joined the United Nations in 2003 and has served in various capacities, managing large scale multi-country teams and global initiatives to build economic and social resilience. He also led United Nation’s largest global initiative to build resilience of more than3000 cities. Abhilash holds a Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelors in Electronics Engineering.
Nigel Topping is the UN’s High-Level Climate Action Champion, appointed by the UK Prime Minister in January 2020. Nigel works alongside the Chilean High-Level Climate Action Champion, Gonzalo Muñoz. The role of the high-level champions is to strengthen collaboration and drive action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, and regions on climate change, and coordinate this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Nigel was most recently CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, following an 18 year career in the private sector, having worked across the world in emerging markets and manufacturing.
Anna Wellenstein is the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Practice Group. Ms. Wellenstein is responsible for the World Bank’s agriculture, climate, disaster risk management, environment, land, social, urban, and water portfolios in the region. Prior to this, Ms. Wellenstein was Director for Strategy and Operations of the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, where she oversaw$25 billion in lending to developing countries in over 200 projects, 325 studies and technical assistance projects. Anna has over 20 years of experience in sustainable development. She has led efforts to design and finance investments, facilitate policy reforms, and build capacity to help countries reduce poverty and boost equity. She has been responsible for technical oversight of new projects financed by the World Bank, the portfolio quality of ongoing projects, and setting sector and country strategies. She has developed strong partnerships with governments, development agencies and academia.
Closed Loop Partners
Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala is an executive-in-residence at Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on the circular economy, and a Senior Fellow at the Urban Tech Hub at the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute at Cornell Tech. Rit was a member of the founding team at Sidewalk Labs, where he was Head of Urban Systems and led its mobility and sustainability work. Prior to that, Rit spent five years at Bloomberg Philanthropies, where started the foundation’s environmental grantmaking program, served as President of the Board of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2010 to 2013, and led the sustainability practice at Bloomberg Associates. From 2006 to 2010, Rit served as Director of New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, where he led the creation and implementation of PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York, New York City’s globally recognized sustainability plan. Rit holds a BA, MBA, and PhD from Columbia University, and an MA from Queen’s University in Ontario.
eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa
Professor Debra Roberts is currently head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit in Thekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa) and was selected as the city’s first Chief Resilience Officer in 2013. Professor Roberts was elected as Co-Chair of Working Group II for the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle in 2015. She was also a lead negotiator for the South African delegation involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations until December 2015. She is an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the School of Life Sciences and has been an advisor to the Global Commission on Adaptation, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the United Nations Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Summit. In 2019 she was included in a list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy.