Dr Esther Obonyo

Executive Director, Global Building Network

Nnaemeka Phil Eke-okocha

Project Lead of Local Pathways Program, SDSN Youth

Eduarda Zoghbi

Senior Advisor, Student Energy

Charles Newman

Faculty Member, Pratt Institute of Design and Columbia University

Elena Crete

Head of the Climate & Energy Program, SDSN

Iana Aranda

President, Engineering for Change

Carolina Rojas

Program Associate, Engineering for Change

Preparing the Future Workforce to Engage with Transition Pathways for Urban Decarbonization

Join us live and in person at the Eighth Annual UN Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum), convening at the UN Headquarters in New York, New York (USA) May 3-4.

E4C, in collaboration with the Major Group for Children and Youth’s Science-Policy Interface Platform, is co-hosting a side event to the STI Forum that will explore workforce development for decarbonization transition pathways across the energy, built environment and mobility sectors. This event will be a cross-generational and interdisciplinary roundtable discussion of best practices and opportunities to engage young technical professionals in sustainable urban development agendas.

Date: Thursday, May 4th | Time: 6:30 – 7:45 pm ET at United Nations Headquarters, NY

IMPORTANT: This side event is in person, and all participants need to be formally registered by April 16th using the UN STI Forum’s registration form. 


Dr Esther Obonyo: is the Executive Director of the Global Building Network, a partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and an associate professor of engineering design and architectural engineering. She is also an associate of the Institute of Computational and Data Sciences. She has affiliate appointments in the College of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences at the African Studies Program. Her research includes National Science Foundation and Department of Energy funded research on sustainable and resilient building systems. She is the Lead PI on a current Belmont Forum project on Disaster Risk Reduction.  She was a 2015-2016 Jefferson Science Fellow placed in the USAID Global Development Lab. She served as the Senior Policy Advisor on the Digital Development for Feed the Future (D2FtF) team. She also worked with the Research Partnerships for Development team under the Center for Data, Analysis, and Research on issues related to improving the generation and use of scientific research to address development challenges. Beyond her academic credentials, Dr. Obonyo has extensive industry experience, having worked as a Construction Engineer, Project Manager, and Innovations Analyst in several engineering and construction companies in Kenya, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Her work has been disseminated through over 150 journal papers, conference proceedings, and presentations.  She is an associate editor of Journal of IT in Construction, the ANTHROPOCENE and Buildings.    

Nnaemeka Phil Eke-okocha: is Project Lead at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN-SDSN) Youth, overseeing the Local Pathways Fellowship program. Before assuming this position, he was a fellow and a project officer, which gave him valuable experience and insights into the program’s workings. Phil has a strong passion for cities and peace and has dedicated his research to studying the Climate-conflict nexus and its intersection with migration, food security, gender equality, and health. He is an avid proponent of micro-level engagement and solutions, particularly in addressing the climate literacy gap and the challenges of urbanization. Phil is deeply interested in sustainable development and climate adaptation, and he advocates for approaches that promote environmental sustainability while simultaneously promoting social and economic development.

Elena Crete: is the Head of the Climate & Energy Program where she focuses on special initiatives for the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) and America’s Zero Carbon Action Plan. Elena serves as the central SDSN lead for the annual Zero Emissions Solutions Conference (ZESC), launched at COP22 in Morocco. She also coordinates the European Green Deal Senior Working Group. Part of Elena’s core portfolio is to help bring low-emission technologies, policies, and solutions to decision makers across networks and sectors to help implement the Paris Agreement.

Eduarda Zoghbi: is a political scientist with 8+ years of experience working on energy, gender and climate change projects for international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Given her journey as a climate activist working towards greater youth engagement, she has received the REvolutionaries, Global Youth Visionary and Environmental Education 30 Under 30 awards. In addition to being a Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Women Leaders in Energy, Eduarda is also deeply committed to championing the role of women in the energy sector by spearheading the expansion of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy “Women in Energy” program to Brazil. Today, she serves as a Senior Advisor for Student Energy and Consultant at the Climate Investment Funds and the IDB.

Charles Newman: is a researcher and licensed Architect with over 15 years of professional experience working in the international development space. Over the course of his career he has designed and built hundreds of structures in post-conflict and post-disaster environments; these have ranged from the construction of water systems in the rural Democratic Republic of Congo, to the planning of flood protection in the informal settlements of Nairobi, to the design of playgrounds in refugee camps across Central Asia. Newman has written extensively on project service delivery strategies, appropriate sustainability standards, and the value of public space design as a process to support social cohesion and economic development in complex environments. Charles Newman earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University, and a Master of Design Studies from Harvard University.  Newman is a faculty member at the Pratt Institute School of Design, and at Columbia University’s School of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. 


Carolina Rojas: is a Program Associate at Engineering for Change (E4C) coordinating E4C’s Solutions Library, a knowledge database of technologies for resource-constrained settings, and supports the development of E4C’s science policy strategy and the strategy of training in engineering for sustainable development for the E4C Fellowship. She is also a Co-founder and Strategic Design Coordinator at Re-inventa, a social enterprise that seeks to promote citizen participation towards the collective management of urban waste through a circular economy lens. At Re-inventa, she leads a pilot program in the Historic Center of Panama City creating the first community-led waste transformation center and also leads research and development efforts for the creation of biomaterials from organic waste. Contributing to sustainable development efforts through both engineering and science policy, Carolina also serves as the Technology Focal Point for the Major Group on Children and Youth’s Science-Policy Interface Platform. 

Welcoming remarks:

Iana Aranda:  is the Director of the Engineering for Global Development at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). At ASME, Iana sets the business strategy of a portfolio of programs and platforms that advance knowledge, workforce and hardware-led social innovation to improve the quality of life of underserved communities. Iana also serves as the President of Engineering for Change – a knowledge organization and global community of over 1 million individuals dedicated to design and delivery of essential technologies advancing sustainable development.

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