09:30 - ACF Plenary Session 1: Opening Keynotes

Date: Tuesday April 19th
09:30 - ACF Plenary Session 1: Opening Keynotes
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Opening Session & Keynotes
09:30 - 11:00
CHAIR: Prof. Alan Jenkins, Deputy Director & Water and Pollution Science Director, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)

  • Welcome from the Organisers - Michael Wilton, Managing Director, MMI Asia Pte Ltd  

  • Ben Churchill, Head, WMO Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific

    Title: Future challenges facing the WMO and its members in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Jim Anderson, Chairman, Association of Hydro-Meteorological Equipment Industry

    Title: Entrepreneurs, scientists, and policy makers working at the forefront of the climate crisis and the future role of the private sector in the global weather enterprise.

  • Prof. Dale Barker, Director, Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS)

    Title: Impact-Driven Climate Science Research To Guide Local Climate Adaptation Efforts.

  • Ann Jeannette Glauber, Practice Manager, Environment for East Asia and Pacific, World Bank

    Title: The value of weather data to a decarbonised global economy

  • Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Secretary General & Regional Councillor for West Asia, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

    Title: The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Project and mangrove and coral reef rehabilitation 

    Abstract: Blue Carbon refers to the ability of coastal vegetation to store carbon. Blue carbon ecosystems, which include mangrove forests, saltmarshes, and seagrass beds, store and sequester carbon in biomass and sediments which is helpful to mitigate climate change. 

    If these ecosystems are destroyed, buried carbon can be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change and ocean acidification. This means that it is vital to always keep these ecosystems intact.

    In addition to their climate related benefits, Blue Carbon ecosystems also provide highly valuable ecosystem services to coastal communities, such as Abu Dhabi. They protect shorelines, improve water quality, and provide nursery grounds for a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic species. They also support coastal tourism and have important cultural and social value.

    The UAE was one of the first countries to recognize the importance of coastal habitats, and mangrove restoration and conservation efforts have been implemented since the 1970s. Mangrove restoration is a very important element for the curbing of climate change.  

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.

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.

Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson

Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Earth Networks

Mr. Anderson is focused on the international and domestic expansion of the company and meeting the weather and environmental monitoring needs for a number of vertical market stakeholders, including government agencies, aviation, energy and mining. Mr. Anderson joined the company in 2002 and launched the business efforts in the energy, public safety, federal government and commercial verticals.

Previously, Mr. Anderson was a principal consultant at American Management Systems, where he helped launch the energy and utilities practice. Prior to that, he conducted economic and public policy research in the agriculture and environmental sectors.

Mr. Anderson holds an MBA from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Policy from the University of Maine, and a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology and Environmental Economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Prof. Dale Barker

Prof. Dale Barker

Director, Centre for Climate Change Research Singapore (CCRS)

As the Director of CCRS, Prof. Barker provides strategic direction, oversight of the centre’s weather/climate science activities, and engages with senior stakeholders in the national/international weather/climate community.

Prof. Barker has extensive experience in data assimilation research, use of observations in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), and regional climate reanalysis. He led the WRF data assimilation programme at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado (1999-2009). Between 2010 and 2018 he led the scientific development of the first EU-funded European regional reanalysis. In his previous role before joining CCRS, Prof. Barker was the Associate Director for Weather Science at the Met Office, leading 200 staff working in meteorological R&D and the research-to-operational transition of global/local NWP, ocean/wave forecasting, air quality, and atmospheric dispersion systems.

Prof. Barker is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) and Royal Meteorological Society (FRMetS). He is a visiting professor at Reading University UK, an NCAR affiliate scientist, previous member of WMO/WWRP’s mesoscale weather forecasting WG, and chairs the scientific advisory committee for the new KIAPS Korean NWP system.

Ann Jeanette Glauber

Ann Jeanette Glauber

Practice Manager, Environment for East Asia and Pacific, World Bank

Ms. Ann Jeannette (AJ) Glauber is the World Bank’s Singapore-based Practice Manager for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy in East Asia and the Pacific Region. She manages a US$1.3b investment portfolio and 40+ staff working in China, Indonesia, and the Pacific on management of natural resources, air, soil and water pollution, and environmental and social governance. Prior to this she was the World Bank’s Lead Environmental Specialist for Indonesia where she was responsible for environment and climate programming including on marine plastics and solid waste.
With over 20 years of leadership on global environmental issues in Latin America, Africa and Asia, Ms. Glauber brings experience managing large-scale, innovative programs that emphasize sustainable development, nature-based solutions and climate resilience. Her work with the World Bank has focused on harnessing the value of natural resources for sustainable development, strengthening environmental management systems and institutions, building partnerships with key stakeholders and leveraging financial and knowledge resources to maximize impact on climate, environment and development priorities.

She has a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of California (USA) and an MSc in Riparian Ecology from the University of Washington (USA).

H.E. Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri

H.E. Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri

Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD)

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri is the Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), the largest environmental regulator in the Middle East, responsible for protecting and preserving our natural resources and promoting sustainable development in the emirate.

Dr. Al Dhaheri holds a PhD degree in Wildlife Conservation and Protection from the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, which makes her the first Emirati woman to earn the accolade. She also holds two Masters degrees: in Environmental Science from UAE University (UAEU) in Al Ain, and another in Biological Conservation From the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Species from UAEU.

Dr. Al Dhaheri began her career at EAD as a Researcher Assistant in the Agency’s Terrestrial Environment Research in 2000, and was later appointed as Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector in 2012. In this role, she spearheaded initiatives to promote a comprehensive understanding of the state of biodiversity in Abu Dhabi and ensured that the sector’s goals were in line with Abu Dhabi Environment Vision 2030 and the Abu Dhabi Plan, among other national and emirate-level directives. She has played a defining role in establishing a clear vision for the sector to facilitate a sustainable environment and future for Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Al Dhaheri has been credited for introducing innovative ideas and solutions to the field of environmental protection and species conservation and has overseen the implementation of numerous programs on biodiversity, protected areas, threatened species and fisheries, including national and global species reintroduction programs.

Dr. Al Dhaheri serves on several committees and councils in the UAE. She is a board member of Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, sits on the Board of Directors Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, Emirates Nature-WWF, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the Advanced Technology Research Council and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation.

Dr. Al Dhaheri is also an active member of many international organizations. In 2021, she was re-elected as a Regional Councillor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Western Asia for the second time. She is also the Chair of the IUCN UAE National Committee and member of the advisory Board for UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Dr. Al Dhaheri won the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance in 2015 and also the Al Dana Excellence Award in 2014, She is also recipient of the Rashid Bin Maktoum Awards for Scientific Excellence for PhD and Masters degrees in 2010 and 2005 respectively.

Dr. Al Dhaheri also a mother of 5 boys.