The Topical Fruit of Rio+20: What was Harvested and What is Still on the Trees

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You are invited to a Panel Discussion

Co-Sponsored by

United Nations Association of the United States of America’s Council of Organizations

UNA-USA Southern New York Division




Other Members of the NGO Community

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Turkish Mission to the United Nations
821 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017


Robb Skinner
, Senior Director of UN Relations and Special Initiatives, United Nations Foundation 


Ambassador Elizabeth M. Cousens, U.S. Representative on the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly

Nikhil Seth, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations

Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative at the Kenya Permanent Mission to the United Nations

Jeff Huffines, UN Representative, World Alliance for Citizen Participation; Rio+20 NGO Major Group Organizing Partner

Shamina de Gonzaga, Director, World Council of Peoples for the United Nations; Co-Founder, What Moves You?

Light Refreshments Provided

All are welcome with RSVP appreciated to coo@unausa.org.

Ambassador Elizabeth M. Cousens was sworn in on April 2, 2012 as U.S. Representative on the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly. Ambassador Cousens has led a distinguished career in international public service. She previously served as Principal Policy Advisor and Counselor to the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, Susan Rice. She also served as Sherpa to Ambassador Rice for the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability.

Prior to joining USUN, Ambassador Cousens was Director of Strategy for The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre). Earlier, she served with UN political missions in Nepal and the Middle East and worked extensively on peacebuilding and development issues in conflict zones. Ambassador Cousens was previously Vice President of the International Peace Institute, where she led initiatives on emerging global issues and UN reform, and Director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, a research group that provides country and regional expertise to the United Nations on crisis situations. Dr. Cousens has a D.Phil. in international relations from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. in history from the University of Puget Sound.

She and her husband, Bruce Jones, have one child.


Shamina de Gonzaga is the Director of the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN), a non-governmental organization in association with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), and Editor of “Centerpoint Now”, a WCPUN publication that provides a platform for individuals across sectors to express their views on issues of global concern. She is also the Co-Founder of What Moves You?, an organization that produces educational public art and other media exploring the relevance of global issues in people’s lives (www.whatmovesyou.net). Shamina is the President of the New York Chapter of “Femmes Leaders en América y en el Mundo,” a global network of entrepreneurial women. She is currently a contributing interviewer and editor for a book (in process) on the origins of microfinance, authored by Women’s World Banking Founder Michaela Walsh. From 2005 to 2008, she worked as Special Adviser on NGO relations in the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly. In 2008, she also served as Chair of the 61st Annual Conference of NGOs associated to the United Nations DPI, which gathered over 1,100 civil society actors, human rights defenders, government representatives, press, artists, and students, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She was a University Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where she received her Masters of Arts and Bachelors of Arts degrees in 2003.

Jeffery Huffines is Main Representative of CIVICUS and served as Rio+20 NGO Major Group Organizing Partner at UN Headquarters in New York. From 2007-2011, he was elected Chair of the NGO/DPI Executive Committee that represents around 1,300 NGOs associated with UN DPI, where he served on the planning committee of the Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference, most recently held in Bonn, Germany in September 2011, which produced a civil society declaration on the themes of sustainable development and volunteerism in preparation for Rio+20. Jeffery represents CIVICUS on the board of the Conference of NGOs with Consultative Relationship (CoNGO) within the UN. He had previously been Main UN Representative for the U.S. Baha’i Community, where he served as Chair of UNA-USA’s New York Council of Organizations, among other positions.

Dr. Josephine Ojiambo is Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative at the Kenya Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, where she notably engages with a range of committees at the UN General Assembly on themes including international peace and security development and humanitarian aid. At the United Nations she provides inputs to processes of South-South collaboration, UN Women, Arms Trade Treaty and development, the Millennium Development Goals, and Global Governance, among others. Prior to representing Kenya at the United Nations, Dr. Ojiambo managed a Public Health Consultancy in Kenya. She has worked in the private sector and with NGOs advocating for multi-sector interventions to promote equity in social development, particularly for women, for the youth, and for vulnerable people. Additionally, she has worked for the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Planning and National Development, and other government departments in Kenya.

Dr. Ojiambo is an active member in a number of organizations, including the Women’s Democracy Network, the Medical Women International Association, and the Pan African Women’s Organization, among others. She holds a Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Public Health and Community Medicine, a degree in Medicine and Surgery, and several certified skills, including one in diplomacy.

Nikhil Seth is currently the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations. He was also Head of the Rio+20 Secretariat. As Head of the Rio+20 Secretariat, he spearheaded the preparations for the conference in Rio.

During his career with the United Nations since 1993, Mr. Seth has served as Special Assistant and Chief of Office to the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, as Secretary of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Second Committee of the General Assembly, and, most recently, as Director of the DESA Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination (OESC), where he guided the ECOSOC’s work in implementing several new key mandates, including its Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum.

Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Seth served in the Indian diplomatic service, where his diplomatic assignments included Geneva, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea, as well as the Permanent Mission of India, New York.

Robert Skinner (Moderator) is the Senior Director of UN Relations and Special Initiatives at the UN Foundation and a former U.S. Foreign Service officer in Ivory Coast. Skinner rejoined the UN Foundation in April 2008 after a brief tenure working in international corporate law. Previously, he was the director of external relations in UN Foundation’s New York office. Before joining the Foundation, he spent nearly nine years in the U.S. State Department, serving in Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador and Ivory Coast as well as at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York. He also practiced law in Chicago, including working as a criminal defense lawyer with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender.

Skinner received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin; his undergraduate degree is from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.

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