Katia Araujo is Director of Advocacy of Women’s Land Rights. Ms. Araujo holds a MA in International Affairs with concentration on Governance and Human Rights, from The New School, NYC. With over fourteen years of experience in strategic planning, designing and evaluating programs; conducting gender analysis and facilitating workshops; leading participatory action research; and advocacy campaigning; she has managed projects promoting women’s land and property rights and community resilience in impoverished rural and urban settings in over 32 countries.
She has experience in policy analysis and strategic advocacy at United Nations with specific focus on the reviews of MDG3 delivery, Habitat II, the Hyogo Framework of Action and its transition to the agreed Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction. Ms. Araujo co-chaired and led the Women’s Constituency Group during the Habitat III process. She monitored these processes, including the Post 2015 Development Agenda, to ensure the inclusion of women’s priorities by increasing understanding and strategies to secure women’s land rights as a global issue.
As Director of Advocacy at Landesa, she builds and manages internal and external partnerships, identifies and pursues strategic policy and advocacy opportunities to further gender responsive land rights reform in the development agenda. Ms. Araujo has served on the Coordinating Council of International Land Coalition and the International Advisory Board of the Global Land Tool Network/UN-Habitat. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the SLoCaT Foundation (Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport) and Crossing Point Arts (Bringing the Arts to Survivors of Human Trafficking).
Ms. Verona Collantes is an Intergovernmental Specialist at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the focal point for the three Rio Conventions – climate change, desertification and biodiversity. She works with governments, UN entities and other non-government partners to ensure that intergovernmental processes and their outcomes incorporate a gender perspective. She led and oversaw for UN Women the Rio+20 Conference, the negotiations of the Paris Agreement and the Gender Action Plan of the UNFCCC, and the conferences on least developed countries, small island developing states, migration and desertification.
With partners, she develops knowledge products, builds capacity and convenes experts to discuss concepts and strategies to empower women and mainstream gender in policies and actions on climate change, desertification and land degradation, migration, sustainable development, among others. She is passionate about improving women’s participation in global processes and helps ensure that women, including grassroots and indigenous women’s voices, as well as young women are represented in intergovernmental fora.
Prior to joining UN Women, she worked for the UN Office for the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS in New York, and the United Nations Office in Geneva, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, where she carried out research and analytical work, capacity-building and inter-agency and intergovernmental functions. Before working for international organizations, Ms. Collantes-Lebale was a Philippine Foreign Service Officer and a Senior Foreign Affairs Research Specialist. She also taught courses in Economics and Political Science at the University of the Philippines.
Ms. Collantes has a Master in International Law and Economics degree at the World Trade Institute in Bern, Switzerland and has completed post-graduate courses in International Relations at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, the Netherlands, and in Economic Development at the Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand.
Josien Aloema Tokoe
Josien Aloema Tokoe, from the Kari'na people of Suriname, is a member of the Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of Suriname (OIS) and the lead of the area of Human, Women and Family Political and Social Rights the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin(COICA for is acronym in Spanish).
COICA is an indigenous organization dedicated to the promotion, protection and security of indigenous territories through their ways of life, social, spiritual and moral principles and values. In June 2018 Ms. Aloema Tokoe was selected as one of the three members of the recently created COICA’s Technical Secretariat of Women.
Chouchouna Losale is the Vice-Coordinator, Coalition of Women for the Environment and Sustainable Development (CFLEDD) and a member of the civil society working group on REDD+ (GTCR-Renové) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She is an expert on Gender, Forest Governance, and Sustainable Development.
Chouchouna used to work as a gender expert at the Ministry of Gender-Family- and Children. Chouchouna holds degrees in communications and public relations from the University of Kinshasa, forestry governance from the University of Wolverhampton in England, and
sustainable development from the University of Louvain.
Stefan Schmitz is Deputy Director-General and Commissioner for the “One World – No Hunger” Initiative at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Bonn. For the last eight years he has been leading the rural development, agriculture and food security work at BMZ. From 2007 until 2009 he worked as senior advisor to the Secretariat of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, leading the work on Managing for Development Results.
Before that he coordinated the German bilateral cooperation programme with South Africa and Namibia and was deputy head of the infrastructure division at the BMZ. Before joining the BMZ in 2001, Stefan Schmitz held different posts in the German federal administration in the fields of statistical information systems, regional planning and international cooperation on urban issues. In 1985 he graduated from Bonn University in geography and mathematics and received PhD in geosciences from the Free University of Berlin in 2000.
Solange Bandiaky-Badji is the Director for Africa and Gender Justice Programs for the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). She takes the lead in providing strategic guidance to the RRI to develop a strategy for engagement on tenure rights issues in the Africa program. She leads RRI’s Gender Justice Thematic Programs and ensures the implementation of the global gender strategy on women’s tenure rights.
She holds a PhD in Women’s and Gender Studies from Clark University in Massachusetts and an MA in Environmental Sciences and in Philosophy from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal. She worked as the Regional Expert on gender and climate change for the Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) and the UNDP/ BDP Gender Team in New York. Solange has published work on gender in relation to natural resource management, decentralization and local governance, forest and land reforms.