UN Day 2008
Speaker & Panellist Biographies
Representative in Japan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Johan Cels has been working with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for more than 18 years in various functions and countries including Hong Kong, northern Iraq and eastern Turkey, Bulgaria, Switzerland, and Ethiopia. He is currently working as a representative in Japan (as of September 2008). Prior to that, he was a senior policy advisor (peace and security) in New York, focusing on Sudan, Chad and Somalia, as well as on post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding strategies. He also worked as a project leader for the Independent Commission on Human Security, co-chaired by Sadako Ogata (former UN High Commissioner for Refugees) and Amartya Sen.
Senior Staff Writer, Kyodo News, Science News Desk
Tetsuji Ida is a graduate of Tokyo University. Since he was assigned as a staff writer of Kyodo News in 1983, he has covered environment and development issues from the Tsukuba Science City bureau and the science news desks in the Tokyo and Washington bureaux. He has covered many international conferences on multilateral environmental agreements including UNFCCC, CITES, CBD, Montreal Protocol, Ramsar Convention, and WSSD in 2002 at Johannesburg, South Africa. He has authored or coauthored five books on global warming, fisheries resources and natural resources management.
Jostacio Moreno Lapitan
Technical Officer, Urbanization and Emergency Preparedness, WHO Kobe Centre (WKC)
Jostacio Lapitan holds a medical doctorate from the University of the Philippines (UP). He completed his masters in public health at the Adventist UP and a BS in psychology and units in MA in teaching, both at UP. He later completed the UNHCR “Emergency Management Training Program” and the ICRC “Health Emergency for Large Populations” courses. Before his current post at WKC, Dr. Lapitan was a public health officer in the WHO Country Office in Timor-Leste; a consultant for the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office; medical coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres, Belgium; and executive director of CARE for Health and Development. With WHO he has been responsible for the publication Heat waves, floods and the health impacts of climate change: a prototype training workshop for city health officials (2007). He facilitated the Workshop on Climate Change and Health in South-East and East Asian Countries in Malaysia (2007) and organized a symposium entitled “Challenges to Health Security from Climate Change” in Kobe/Hyogo on the occasion of WHO’s 60th anniversary and World Health Day 2008. He was a panel speaker at UNU’s 2005 UN Day Public Forum: "UN at 60 and UNU at 30: Contributing to Peacebuilding through Working in the UN System in the 21st Century”.
Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Tokyo Office
Shun-ichi Murata holds a graduate degree in political science/international relations from George Washington University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. After joining UNDP in 1981, he served as Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP China; Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Mongolia and UNDP Philippines; and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Bhutan. After serving for four years as a Professor in the School of Policy Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University, he assumed his current post with UNDP in November 2006.
Edith Grace Ssempala
Acting Senior Vice President for External Affairs, The World Bank
Edith Grace Ssempala was named director of international affairs for the World Bank Group in February 2008. Prior to her appointment, she served for more than 21 years as Uganda’s top diplomat across the world, most recently as Ugandan permanent representative to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as well as ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Ssempala served for more than nine years as Uganda’s ambassador to the United States, and before that as ambassador to the Nordic Countries for ten years. As director of international affairs, Ms. Ssempala manages the external affairs offices in Europe and Japan, and the United Nations liaison offices in New York and Geneva. She also oversees the North America and Civil Society teams, as well as the Speakers Bureau in Washington. During her work as ambassador to the United States, Ms. Ssempala was a lead supporter of passage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and was a key member of a coalition that successfully campaigned for the U.S. President’s Emergency Relief Fund for HIV/AIDS. Throughout her career, she has worked to promote global peace and reconciliation, economic development and the advancement of health and wellbeing for poor people throughout the world, especially women and youth.
UNEP, Special Advisor in the Asia-Pacific Region
Takejiro Sueyoshi is a graduate of Tokyo University. He was the president of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Trust Co., Ltd. New York from 1996 to 1998, deputy president of Nikko Asset Management Co., Ltd. Tokyo for four years from 1998 and is currently special advisor to the mayor of Kawasaki and advisor to the mayor of the City of Kagoshima. He has been with UNEP since 2000 at which time he was a steering committee member. Mr. Sueyoshi is active in promoting the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Socially Resonsible Investment (SRI) on environmental issues.
Vice-Rector, United Nations University; Deputy Executive Director, Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S); Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo
Kazuhiko Takeuchi is professor in the laboratory of landscape ecology and planning, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He holds bachelor of science (geography), master of agriculture (agrobiology) and doctor of agriculture degrees from the University of Tokyo. Prior to his current position, he was a full professor at the Asian Natural Environmental Science Center, The University of Tokyo. Before that he was an associate professor on the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo, following several years as a lecturer on the Faculty of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University. He concurrently serves in the posts of vice-rector of the United Nations University, deputy executive director of the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), president of the City Planning Institute of Japan, and member of the Central Environment Council, Government of Japan. He is the editor-in-chief of the international journal Sustainability Science published by Springer. His research focuses on landscape ecology, landscape planning, and sustainability science.
Regional Director, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Region
Sachiko Yamamoto was appointed ILO regional director for Asia and the Pacific at the level of assistant director-general in May 2007. She holds a PhD in international law from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a BA in international relations from the University of California (USA). Prior to joining the ILO in July 2007, she served an executive secretary of the Basel Convention on Control of Hazardous Wastes, with responsibilities for the operation of the convention secretariat and 14 Basel Convention regional centres worldwide. Her earlier appointments at the UN include principal legal officer of the UN Office of Legal Affairs, deputy legal adviser to the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, senior legal officer of the UN Office of Legal Affairs, and secretary-general/coordinator of the International Convention for the Protection of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
Page last modified 2011.06.07.