- in alphabetical order - 



Director, IUCN European Regional Office, Brussels - Belgium


Luc Bas is the Director of the IUCN European Regional Office in Brussels representing IUCN towards the EU Institutions and providing leadership and guidance for all activities undertaken by IUCN Government and NGO members within the European context. This includes informing decision-making through IUCN’s knowledge on topics such as Red Lists, Protected Area management, Natural Capital and promoting the use of nature-based solutions across different sectors.


Prior to this, Luc was European Director of The Climate Group in Brussels, working with business and government to reach more ambitious EU climate policies and prepare for a true energy transition. As International Director of The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance, he established one of the most significant networks of sub-national governments leading on tackling climate change.


Luc also worked as adviser on international sustainable development policies for both the Belgian Federal and Flemish Governments, representing them at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (SD), the OECD national SD expert panel, the Belgium Federal Council on SD, as well as at various networks of subnational governments.


Luc holds a Masters degree in industrial engineering and postgraduate degrees in both environmental science and international politics.

Aletta BONN


Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) – Germany

Chair of Ecosystem Services


Aletta Bonn is head of the UFZ department ecosystem services and professor at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena within the German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Leipzig-Halle-Jena. She heads the BfN project “Biodiversity and Climate Change“ (BioClim) and is co-organiser of this ECBCC conference. With a working background at the science-policy interface in UK and Germany her research focusses on ecosystem services and human well-being, participatory conservation and global change with a special interest in citizen science.


European Centre for Environment and Health, WHO Regional Office for Europe - Germany

Matthias Braubach is a geographer and Master of Public Health.

He works as “Technical Officer Urban and Health Equity” in the European Centre for Environment and Health of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Matthias coordinates the activities on built environments covering the assessment of health impacts of inadequate housing and the effects of environmental conditions in urban settings, with green spaces as one of the leading themes addressed. A specific focus of this work is inequalities in environmental exposure and related health inequity in cities.

Thomas CLAßEN


NRW Centre for Health, Section ‘health assessments and forecasting’ - Germany


Thomas Claßen is a health geographer and received his PhD in 2008 on synergies and conflicts between nature conservation and preventative health strategies. Since 2015, Thomas works as senior researcher for public health and planning at the NRW Centre for Health. His main focus is on the development of public health planning instruments with specific emphasis on local and regional administrations and policy makers. Thomas has also worked at Bielefeld School of Public Health and at the University of Bonn. His research focused on nature and health, urban green and blue spaces and health, environmental health risk assessments and health promoting climate adaptation strategies. 


Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) - 


Payam Dadvand is a medical doctor by training and has a PhD in environmental epidemiology. His research interests encompass both adverse and beneficial effects of the environment on human health. He is particularly interested in the effects of air pollution, climatic conditions, and natural environment on maternal and child health. He has conducted a number of pioneering studies on the impacts of green spaces on pregnancy outcomes, child health and mental development, and physical and mental health in adults.



Head of Unit 'Sustainable Management of Natural Resources', DG Research and Innovation - European Commission


Birgit de Boissezon, since 2001 Head of Unit in the European Commission (EC), currently for 'Sustainable Management of Natural Resources', DG Research & Innovation. This Unit defines and implements, underpinned by the EU Research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, objectives and priorities for nature-based solutions to societal challenges with economic, social and environmental benefits. The aim is to help innovate and re-nature cities, mitigate and adapt to climate change, manage and reduce disaster risks, restore biodiversity and ecosystems, improve health, increase resilience and valorise cultural heritage. Previous assignments in the EC related to research strategy and policy, planning, implementation and evaluation of EU research framework programmes. Research counsellor at the Danish Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, negotiating EU research and education programmes (3 years). In the Danish Ministry of Research in charge of EU research framework programme coordination at national level and of dissemination and use of S/T results (6 years). Following a degree (MSc+1) in biology from the University of Copenhagen and a grant related to Bilharzia from the Danish Research Council, her career started in the French dairy branch organisation CNIEL/CIDIL in Paris, as Head of its Information and Documentation Centre (6 years).



Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra), part of Wageningen University & Research - The Netherlands


Sjerp de Vries (1960) studied psychology at the University of Groningen and received his PhD in 1991 from that same university (cum laude). At the moment, he works as a senior researcher at Wageningen Environmental Research, an institute for applied research. His main research topic is the interaction of people with their natural environment, nowadays also often referred to as cultural ecosystem services. This includes landscape appreciation, outdoor recreational behaviour and the effect of contact with nature on human health and well-being. Especially with regard to this latter theme, he has published several influential articles.



Stockholm Resilience Centre - Sweden



Thomas Elmqvist, PhD, is a professor in Natural Resource Management at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. His research is focused on urbanization, urban ecosystem services, land use change, natural disturbances and components of resilience including the role of social institutions. He serves as associated editor for the journals Ecology and Society, Ecosystem services, Sustainability Science, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability and Global Sustainability. He has led the “Cities and Biodiversity project” ( and currently leading a Future Earth project “Urban Planet”.



University of Exeter - UK


Kevin J. Gaston is Professor of Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Exeter. An ecologist, his main research interests are in environmental management, ecosystem services, conservation biology and urban ecology. A significant strand of his recent work has focussed on the benefits and consequences of human-nature interactions, and the extinction of experience, particularly in urban environments. He is the author of over 500 papers in science peer reviewed publications, and 13 books.

Stefanie GILLES


Chair and Institute of Environmental Medicine, UNIKA-T, Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum München - Germany


Stefanie Gilles (PhD) studied biology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, majoring in genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and immunology. She obtained her PhD degree at the LMU, Munich, in 2004. During a post-doctoral fellowship in the lab of Stefan Endres at LMU, Munich, she worked on tumour immunology and pathogen-associated molecular pattern sensing of dendritic cells. Since 2006 she has been member of the lab of Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, first as Postdoc at the Zentrum Allergie & Umwelt (ZAUM), TUM, then as senior scientist at IEM-UNIKA-T, TUM. Her work focuses on cross-kingdom signalling between pollen-derived or microbial molecules and cells of the innate and adaptive mammalian immune system. In 2017 she obtained the official teaching license (PD) at TUM. Overall, Dr. Gilles has authored a total of more than 100 publications in international journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. The cumulative impact factor is more than 130. She has been awarded several congress presentation prizes and travel grants, i.e. from EAACI and WIRM.



Institute for Housing and Urban Research Uppsala University - Sweden


Terry Hartig is a long-standing contributor to research on the beneficial effects of contact with nature.  A professor in environmental psychology at Uppsala Unversity, he has advanced the field in terms of basic theory, methods, and empirical findings. He has a long history of service to the applied research community, currently as president-elect of the Environmental Psychology Division of the International Association for Applied Psychology and as a member of the Coordination Committee of the European Network for Housing Research. He is a frequently cited contributor to the international scientific literature on nature and health.


Technische Universität Berlin - Germany
Institute for Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Chair of Landscape Planning and Landscape Development - Germany

Study of landscape management / landscape ecology at TU München-Weihenstephan, doctoral degree in 1999. Working experience in EIA, landscape and open space planning, sustainable development. 2003 – 2006 project manager at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development Dresden (IOER); at TU Berlin since 2006. Main fields of teaching and research: landscape planning, consequences of climate change for nature conservation and environmental planning, ecosystem services, societal aspects of nature conservation, urban green and human health. Currently working on a scientific report which serves as a basis for the German “National Concept on Green Infrastructure”.



Federal Agency for Nature Conservation – Germany


Prof. Beate Jessel has been President of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation since November 2007. She holds a master degree in landscape management and gained her doctorate in agriculture at the Technical University of Munich. In 1999, Beate Jessel was appointed Professor of Landscape Planning at the University of Potsdam (Institute of Geoecology). In 2006, she moved to the Technical University of Munich, where she held the Chair of Strategy and Management in Landscape Development (Allianz Foundation Professorship).



Belgian Biodiversity Platform / Research Institute Nature & Forest (INBO) / Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences - University of Antwerp - Belgium


Hans Keune (PhD) is a Political Scientist (University of Amsterdam) with a PhD in Environmental Sciences (University of Antwerp). He works on critical complexity, inter- and transdisciplinarity, action research, expert elicitation and decision support; environment & health, ecosystem services, biodiversity & health, OneHealth/EcoHealth; experience both in Belgian projects and EU-projects. He works at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Antwerp. He recently coordinated the organization of the European OneHealth/EcoHealth workshop (Brussels Oct. 2016) and is involved the emerging European OneHealth/EcoHealth Community of Practice.

Horst KORN


Head of Division International Nature Conservation, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, BfN – Germany


Horst Korn holds two doctoral degrees. He has studied and worked in economy and ecology in Germany, the U.S., South Africa, Canada and taught Wildlife Management and Conservation at the National University of Costa Rica, before becoming the Head of the Biodiversity Unit and the Chair of the Centre of Competence for Biodiversity and Climate Change at the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. His special interest lies in the application of holistic approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the further development and application of science-policy interfaces.

Roderick J. LAWRENCE

Geneva School of Social Sciences, University of Geneva - Switzerland

School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide - Australia

Institute for Environment and Development, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) – Malaysia

Roderick Lawrence has a Master Degree from the University of Cambridge (England) and a Doctorate of Science from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale, Lausanne, (Switzerland). He was promoted to Emeritus Professor at the Geneva School of Social Sciences (G3S) in October 2015. He was Visiting Professor at the International Institute for Global Health at the United Nations University from 2014 -2016, and he has been Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI) at the Universiti Kebangsaan (UKM) Malaysia since July 2011. He is nominated Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide, Australia, from 2017 to 2010. 



Head of the Biodiversity Unit, DG Environment, European Commission 


Stefan Leiner graduated in Forest Sciences in the University of Munich, Germany. Since he joined the European Commission in 1999, he has been dealing with international and EU forest and biodiversity policy issues. He has been the Head of the Nature unit in charge of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and Natura 2000 and since 1 September 2015 he is heading the Biodiversity unit which is dealing with the implementation of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy (including global biodiversity issues, the mapping, valuation and restoration of ecosystem services, green infrastructure, business and biodiversity and the new EU Regulation on invasive alien species). 


University of Manchester - UK

Dr. Sarah Lindley is a Reader in Geography in the School of Environment, Education & Development at the University of Manchester, UK. She researches human-environment interactions, particularly the spatial characteristics of environmental risks in the urban atmospheric environment. Her work covers two complementary themes: urban air pollution and urban climate adaptation both of which are primarily investigated through urban green infrastructure and related ecosystem services. Sarah has over 12 years of experience on large inter-disciplinary projects with researchers from engineering, atmospheric science, social science, ecology and health sciences. Her work is often at the interface of research, policy and practice and has been funded by the EU (CLUVA, ESCAPE) and several UK research councils. She has served on the UK government’s Air Quality Expert Group 2002-9 and is currently part of the Inter-governmental Platform for Biodiversity & Ecosystem services (IPBES) (2015-18). 

Rebecca LOVELL


European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School - UK


Rebecca is a socio-environmental Research Fellow at the UK’s University of Exeter Medical School and focuses on the links between biodiversity and health. She is currently working on several syntheses and secondary data projects relating to how nature based interventions can be better designed and delivered for equitable health gain. She works with the UK Government’s environment and health departments to synthesize and translate our evidence into guidance for policy and decision makers.



Healthy Cities Network Germany - Germany


Born in Hamburg in 1953. Studied at the University of Konstanz.

Graduated with an M.A. in administrativ science in 1978.

Between 1978 and 1992 acted as advisor for enviroment in State chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia.

From 1992 till now Head of Enviroment and Health Department of the regional administration in the Rhine District of Neuss.

Working part time as political chair of the Healthy Cities Network Germany.



German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig - Germany


Melissa Marselle is an environmental psychologist (PhD, De Montfort University, UK), who is expert in the wellbeing benefits of group walks in nature. Organised group walks address social inequalty by facilitating access to greenspaces for older people. She found that people who participate in group walks in nature have better mental health and wellbeing.

Her work also investigates how types and qualities of natural environments effect mental health and wellbeing, and mediators of the biodiversity-wellbeing relationship.

Today, she works as a postdoctural researcher in biodiversity, health and ecosystem services at the German Centre for Intergrative Biodiversity.

Melissa is a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society.



Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development - Germany


Dörte Martens is a psychologist by training with the focus on environmental psychology.  As a research assistant she works at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development. Her research interests are the effects of different natural environments, such as forests, agricultural land, gardens and urban settings on human health and quality of life. Currently, she analyzes the effect of nature experience areas for children living in an urban environment. In practical projects she addresses educational and restorative aspects of urban community gardens and possibilities to integrate these into urban development processes



University of Glasgow - UK
Institute for Health and Wellbeing, Glasgow - UK


Rich Mitchell is Professor of Health and Environment and leads the Neighbourhoods and Communities Programme at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow. He is also co-director of the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health, an interdisciplinary centre focused on how physical and social environments can influence population health, for better and for worse. Rich is an epidemiologist and geographer. Earlier in his career he focused on monitoring and measuring inequalities in health. Today, his focus is on the potential for environments, and natural environments in particular, to positively influence population health and health inequalities.


Department of Environmental Toxicology and Medical Entomology, Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main; - Germany;  GM mosquitoes confined release facilities, PoloGGB, Terni - Italy


Ruth Müller is a medical entomologist with strong expertise in aquatic eco(toxico)logy. She studied biology at the Freie Universität Berlin. A PhD study on multi-stressor ecology at the University of Bremen and the Alfred-Wegener-Institute completed her academic education. Today, Ruth Müller´s research spotlights multi-stressor ecology of (semi-)aquatic species, the impact of global changes on the spread of mosquitoes and the eco-social factors determining their prevention & control. Her special interest is the eco-physiological basis of high stress tolerance and rapid adaptation of A. albopictus and other mosquito vector species to new environmental conditions and insecticides used in vector control.




Head of Office, European Centre for Environment and Health, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe


Dr Elizabet Paunovic is the head of the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health. She holds degrees from the Medical Faculty in Belgrade (Serbia) as a medical doctor, and a postgraduate degree from Medical Faculty in Ljubljana (Slovenia), specialization in occupational health.


She has 30 years of experience in occupational and environmental health, as the main researcher in numerous projects related to occupational and environmental impacts on health. Her main areas of professional expertise and activities are related to occupational and environmental health interventions, and actions aimed to prevent and reduce occupational and environmental impacts on health. She also served as the State Secretary in the Ministry of Health of Serbia.




Cardiff University (Welsh School of Architecture & School of Psychology) – Wales, UK


Wouter Poortinga is Professor of Environmental Psychology at the Welsh School of Architecture and the School of Psychology, Cardiff University. His research interests are in psychological and social dimensions of climate change and energy issues, sustainable behaviours and lifestyles, and human-environment interactions. Wouter currently leads a project on behavioural and attitudinal impacts of the English plastic bag charge, examines the health impacts of energy-efficiency improvements, and contributes to two projects on European perceptions of climate change and low-carbon energy transitions.



EUROPARC Federation - Germany


Ms Carol Ritchie, Executive Director of the EUROPARC Federation is an alumni of the University of Strathclyde and University of Aberdeen ,  Biology, Geography and Ecology. Ms Ritchie has worked as a Teacher, Ranger and Park Manager in Scotland with almost 30 years experience.  , she leads an international team working on diverse topics including health, agriculture, tourism recreation , youth work and nature conservation management all with relevance to protected areas. EUROPARC also has regional and national sections and commissions using members experience to connect policy and practice in order to develop innovative models of protected area site management.



Joint Work Programme of the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and World Health Organization - Canada


Cristina Romanelli (MSc, MA) coordinates the joint work programme on biodiversity and human health of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and World Health Organization (WHO). Her work on focuses on global policy development, biodiversity and health mainstreaming, cross-sectoral partnerships, and capacity development. Among others, she has co-organized regional capacity-building workshops co-convened by CBD and WHO spanning some 60 countries in the Americas and Africa regions. She was lead coordinating author of the State of Knowledge Review Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health and co-authored The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission report on planetary health.  From 2002 to 2010, she was senior sustainability consultant on energy policy, sustainability and climate. She holds an MSc, an MA and is a doctoral researcher at University College London, UK. 



German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) - Germany


Ms. Stadler has been working as a senior scientific officer at the Biodiversity Division of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) since 1997. She has been organizing numerous conferences and workshops on nature conservation and climate change as well as on other biodiversity issues at the International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm and in Bonn/Germany. Hence, she was also part of the organizing team of the European Conferences on Biodiversity and Climate Change (ECBCC) held in Bonn in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Jutta Stadler also regularly participated in meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as a member of the German delegation. She holds a degree as Master of Science in “biology – focus area: nature conservation” from the University of Hamburg.



Institute for European Environmental Policy, IEEP - Belgium


Patrick ten Brink is the Director of IEEP’s Brussels office and Head of the Green Economy programme. Over the last decade much of his work has focused on the multiple benefits of biodiversity. Key projects include the Health and Social Benefits of Nature and Biodiversity Protection for DGENV of the European Commission. He led The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for National and International Policy Makers initiative and is the editor of the associated book.  He has an MSc in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from University College London and is on the editorial boards of European Policy and Governance and Ecosystem Services.  



Comprehensive Allergy Centre Leipzig – LICA,  Department of Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology, University Medical Centre Leipzig - Germany


Current position: Head of Comprehensive Allergy Centre Leipzig (since 2015) and leading senior physician at Department of Dermatology at UMC Leipzig, Germany (since 2006)

Previous position (1999-2005): Senior physician at Department of Dermatology and Allergy at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

Professional training (1993-1998): Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany (UMC Rudolf-Virchow and UMC Benjamin Franklin)

University studies of human medicine (1985-1992): The Free University of Berlin, Germany, and Université de Paris XII, France.

Ronan UHEL


European Environment Agency - Denmark


Ronan Uhel is Head of Natural System and Sustainability (NSS) at the EEA. He is responsible for the strategic and operational activities on inter-connected topics to inform ecosystem natural capital issues, covering biodiversity, inland waters and marine environment, land and territorial issues, including the agriculture and forest sectors. He has responsibilities for several European Topic Centres.He joined the EEA in October 1995 as project manager for state of environment (SoE) reporting and was appointed Head of Group Land Use in 2003. With an academic background in Geography, Physical planning and Oceanography, and a European Commission traineeship in EU environmental legislation and regional policies, he has 25 years of professional experience in environmental and sustainable development, analysis and assessments at European and international level.Before joining the EEA, he worked for the French Institute for the Environment (1993-1995) where he was in charge of the national Corine Land cover programme (Co-ordination of Information on the Environment –EU programme). Prior to this, he worked for EC Directorate General for Environment and Civil protection for several years on EU state of the environment reports and the Corine programme.



Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland (P&WF) - Finland


Veikko Virkkunen works as Development Manager for Parks & Wildlife Finland (P&WF), managing a project portfolio of more than 40 development projects on Finnish state-owned protected areas. He participated actively the preparation of Healthy Parks Healthy People Finland 2025 -programme for P&WF and is now seeking new ways to promote nature and health on practical delivery level. He has earlier worked in P&WF as a specialist on nature tourism and recreation, co-operating with tourism and health sectors and monitoring visitors of protected areas. Veikko has an MSc in Geography.



OPENspace Research Centre, University of Edinburgh – UK


Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of OPENspace research centre, Edinburgh; she has led several multidisciplinary research collaborations investigating relationships between environment and health, including GreenHealth, which used innovative techniques to explore links between green space and stress mitigation in deprived urban populations, and Mobility, Mood and Place, focused on access outdoors and older people’s quality of life. Current research uses a longitudinal approach based on natural experiments to investigate the effects of environmental interventions on wellbeing. She advises on implementation of NHS Health Scotland’s Place Standard and Research Councils UK and Innovate UK’s Urban Living Partnership. 



Natural England - UK


Ruth is Deputy Chief Scientist and Principal Specialist for the Ecosystem Approach and Natural Capital in Natural England.  Her role is to ensure credibility and impact of Natural England’s science, evidence and specialist capability. She works with the science and policy communities to synthesise and interpret their latest research and evidence into practical advice and management tools to use on the ground. Previously, she was the project manager for Natural England’s upland ecosystem service pilots, which are a successful example of applying the ecosystem approach in practise.  Ruth was actively involved in the  UK National Ecosystem Assessment and its follow on.