09:30 - ACF Plenary Session 2: Opening Keynotes

Date: Wednesday April 20th
09:30 - ACF Plenary Session 2: Opening Keynotes
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Opening session & Keynotes
09:30 - 10:30
CHAIR: Ben Churchill, Head, Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific, WMO 

  • Prof. Alan Jenkins, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

    Title: National climate resilience through impact-based nowcasting.

    Abstract: The talk will outline the concept/approach to building national climate resilience through impact-based nowcasting and then focus on a case study application in the Sahel.  

  • Peter Stones, Associate Engineer at Arup Singapore, Civils, Water and Resources Team Leader

    Title: What does urban resilience look like?

  • Dr Victoria Bennett, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)

    Title: Meeting customer needs for weather data products.
  • Peter Hawkins, Managing Director, Esri Inc Asia Pacific

    Title: Building a sustainable future using GIS

10:30 - 11:00 break

Ben Churchill

Ben Churchill

Head, Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific World Meteorological Organization

Ben Churchill is the Head of the WMO Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific (RAP Office) in Singapore, and has oversight of WMO’s Representative Offices in Manama, Bahrain and Apia, Samoa. He was appointed to this role in August 2020.

He provides strategic direction and leadership to facilitate mobilization of resources and technical support to 59 WMO Members (35 in Asia and 24 in the South-West Pacific) to help improve delivery of climate, weather, water and environmental services to communities and stakeholders across the Asia Pacific Region.

Through active engagement, collaboration and innovation with national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHSs), WMO’s technical experts, partners and stakeholders, Ben is focused on reducing the impact of extreme climate and weather on lives and property, particularly for the most vulnerable.

He is determined to increase the visibility and relevance of WMO and its Members by promoting their impact and value and the significant contribution to sustainable development. This includes promoting the critical role of multi-hazard early warning systems in protecting lives and property thereby reducing economic, social and environmental risks and impacts associated with natural hazards.

Ben Churchill is building stronger partnerships with ESCAP, ESCWA, UNDRR, RIMES and others, including in the private sector and academia, to help communities become more aware of the risks associated with a changing and more variable climate and build resilience. With a strong focus on Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States this work is also further reducing the gap between developed and developing countries.

Ben Churchill and his team in the RAP Office and Representative Offices are actively contributing to WMO’s ongoing reform process by aligning regional structures and working mechanisms with the WMO’s Technical Commissions (Infrastructure and Services) and the Research Board. The objective is more efficient and effective governance and implementation of initiatives and activities across the region.

Before joining the WMO Secretariat, Ben Churchill was a strategic leader in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s international affairs team for more than eight years. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating intergovernmental responsibilities and fostering bilateral relationships on weather, climate, water and oceans including with key actors in the Asia Pacific Region. 

Ben Churchill’s career over 30 years has included senior government roles in Australia with responsibility for a wide range of environmental law, policy and programmes spanning biodiversity conservation, natural resources and sustainable development. Among his achievements, he led the development of a strategic directions statement and management plans to guide sustainable use of ten of Australia’s internationally significant wetlands, including protection of migratory bird species.

Ben Churchill has operational experience in disaster response and recovery, working as an accredited practitioner in planning and resource coordination roles during major catastrophic events such as bushfires, floods and biosecurity hazards.

Ben Churchill holds a Bachelor of Science in environmental design and natural resource management from the University of Canberra and has completed professional studies in strategic leadership, environmental law, incident management systems, and environmental auditing.

Prof. Alan Jenkins

Prof. Alan Jenkins

Chief Scientist, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Alan is CEH Science Director with a research background in hydrology. He represents the UK internationally on two key forums: as Hydrological Advisor to the UK Met Office with the World Meteorological Organization and as Chair of the UK National Focal Centre for the UNESCO International Hydrology Programme.

With WMO he currently leads the Task Team to develop the ‘Global Hydrological Status and Outlook System’ and is a Member of the Executive Council Expert Panel on Water. With UNESCO IHP he represents Region 1 (Europe and N. America) as Vice-Chair on the governing Bureau. He recently initiated the COSMOS soil moisture monitoring system and the ‘hydrological outlook’ system in the UK and has been working with international partners around the world to establish similar initiatives.

Peter Stones

Peter Stones

Associate Engineer at Arup Singapore, Civils, Water and Resources Team Leader

Peter is an Associate at Arup and leads the Singapore Civils, Water and Resources Team.  He has amassed more than 10 years’ experience in the planning, design and implementation of multidisciplinary infrastructure projects with a focus on water in Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan and the UK. His strength lies in strategic planning, including embedment of resilience into urban design and infrastructure systems.

Through his experience managing the delivery of recent projects including the Sentosa Coastal Protection Study, and Benchmarking of Underground Developments for the URA, Peter is intimately familiar with Singapore’s infrastructure context, climate risk exposure and the key stakeholders. His role in projects such as Ibu Kota Negara a new Capital City for Indonesia and planning project in Malaysia allows Peter to bring the perspective on climate adaptation and readiness from around the region. He has a keen interest in the drivers of projects and aims to document and capture the benefits of his projects taking a systems approach to deliver holistic integrated solutions greater than the sum of their parts. and Environmental Management from 2011 to 2012.

Dr Victoria Bennett

Dr Victoria Bennett

Head of User Services Section at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)

As Head of User Services Section at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Victoria is responsible for the provision of support to users of ECMWF computing, software and data services as well as related service-delivery activities.  

Previous to this role, Victoria was Head of CEDA, the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis based at the Science and Technology Facilities Council, which runs petascale environmental data archives and the JASMIN analysis infrastructure for the UK Natural Environment Research Council.

She has over 20 years’ experience in the management and support of data and information services for atmospheric, climate and environmental science and applications.  She has led European collaborative projects on archival and dissemination of climate and Earth observation data, as well as activities on data visualisation and exploitation.

She holds a DPhil in Atmospheric Physics from Oxford, an MSc in Oceanography from Southampton, and a BSc in Physics with Study in France from University of Bristol.

Peter Hawkins

Peter Hawkins

Managing Director, Esri Inc Asia Pacific

Peter has been a passionate advocate of location and geospatial technologies for more than 20 years and how these capabilities can positively influence peoples lives. Originally trained as a Hydrographic Surveyor and Oceanographer, Peter has been witnessed first hand the effects of climate change and how bringing technology and societies together can harness true innovation.  

Peter Hawkins is the Managing Director for Esri in Asia Pacific supporting our partners and customers to being Esri’s capabilities and solutions to solve big problems.  Peter brings over 20 years of experience spanning business development, strategy, M&A, partnerships, product and marketing across the geospatial industry and has worked with some of the top brands in the technology, software and data industries across Europe, Asia and US.  


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