A Dutch national, Diana is a seasoned expert specialized in the field of Sustainable Development, Public Private Partnerships, Organisational Transformation, (Rural) Agricultural Value Chain Development, Gender, Green Economy, Capacity Development, Executive and Inclusive Business related Policing and Programming Advisory, Knowledge and Change Management, with experience in the (corporate) private sector and in (regional, national and local) sustainable development in Asia & the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and (Eastern) Europe.
She started her career as a banker in the corporate private sector, at ING in The Netherlands (a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation), and has over 16 years of international development work experience with overseas residence in Kenya, Ethiopia, Thailand, Nepal, Cameroon and Lithuania; she worked directly in over 30 countries.
Diana worked for UNDP’s Public Private Partnership Program in Asia and the Pacific as Regional Specialist (and Global Manager officer-in-charge) where she gained vast (government) policy expertise, supported policy design and reform, designed programs with various donors and bilateral organisations. She provided advice and technical backstopping to 20+ UNDP Country Offices in the areas of Capacity Development and Public Private Partnerships with particular emphasis on integrated multi-sectoral approaches to sustainable development that build on tripartite partnerships and dialogue mechanisms involving public sector, private sector, and civil society, including communities, for the delivery of sustainable services reaching the poor. She led UNDP country programs on environmental sustainability in integrated waste management and on urban development and engaged strongly with trade and business partners.
As a member of a global UNDP team, under the Bureau of Development Policy and Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Development Group she participated in global (Sustainable Development, Rio+20) taskforces and wrote a paper that was submitted to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development called “Collaborative Capacities as a pathway to Capacity Development for Sustainable Development”.
To disseminate knowledge and seek new partnerships she conceived and organized regional events such as UNDP’s Regional Capacity Development Learning week on “Collaborative Capacities for Sustainable Development: Co-creation of Value through Partnerships” (2012). Diana acted as key note speaker at numerous thematic sessions at Regional UN initiatives and conferences like the 5th Asia-Pacific Urban Forum on “Climate Change Resilience for Sustainable Cities”; on the “Challenges of Sustainable Rural and Urban Development and Climate Change in Asia: from Vulnerability to Human Development”; the Pacific PPP roundtable in Fiji on “PPPs for Local Economic Development” and “Localizing MDG’s” with over fifteen governments and multiple donor and private sector partners; the Regional Ministerial Dialogue for UNESCAP’s 65th Regional Commission Session focusing on strengthening MDG-based National Sustainable Development Strategies globally and in Korea, Peru, Johannesburg, Bangladesh, Thailand, Fiji, Nepal and Portugal (forthcoming) at the International Conference on Inclusive Innovation and Innovative Management; Global Forum on Empowering Municipalities in Building Zero Waste Society – A Vision for the post-Rio+20 Sustainable Urban Development both in 2012; Pro-Poor Public Private Partnerships for Universal Access to Modern Energy Services; Greater Mekong Waste Management Summit and the Global conference on Feminine leadership: the courage to innovate
Diana’s most recent experience includes a stint (2015-2016) as a senior advisor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark in Ethiopia, being seconded at the Agricultural Transformation Agency which reports to the Prime Minister’s Office. She led work for the National “Greening Agricultural Transformation in Ethiopia” Program which aims to sustainably increase rural incomes and supported the Climate Resilient Green Economy Facility and Partnership Program which objectives are firmly embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rural “Organizational and Human Resources Capacity” and “Private Sector Development” is one of the 30 key program areas identified within the 4 strategic pillar objectives of the Ethiopian National Transformation Plan GTP-II (2015-2020) for which she co-designed a multi-donor pool strategy, private sector sub-granting guidelines, business approaches, a crosscutting mainstreaming policy, and formulated activities to strengthen institutional linkages between key federal and regional level organizations and the (corporate) private sector, the agricultural extension, education and agricultural research systems and cooperatives; she also contributed to the design of a new national planning, monitoring evaluation and learning system.
Diana further held a global leadership position for one of the Consortium Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) flagship research programs on agricultural value chains implemented in Africa, Asia and Latin America where she was based for several years at ILRI in Nairobi. In close collaboration with centers such as the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the center responsible for research into fisheries and aquaculture (WorldFish) she managed global capacity development work within selected value chains implemented across Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Mozambique), South East Asia (India, Vietnam, Bangladesh), and Latin America (Nicaragua). Her focus was to ensure research design and outputs are effectively taken up by countries and target beneficiaries, to foster the growth and inclusivity of livestock value chains around the world and to achieve, at scale, more meat, milk and fish, by and for the poor.
Practical solutions and enduring outcomes
She worked for many years in remote rural areas Nepal for SNV (the Netherlands Development Organization) where she designed, managed and implementing a number of sector wide strategies (cash crops, water and sanitation, NTFPs, renewable energy) under her portfolio, lead through example, engage her team and guide clients toward practical solutions and enduring outcomes for the regional and local context in which she worked. A critical element of her work was her ongoing guidance in helping the Government’s Ministry of Environment to create a low emission development strategy (LEDS). Her inputs to the LEDS, particularly with respect to its effectiveness and applicability in district energy and climate resilience planning, proved essential aspects at the national and local levels. In addition, she played a key role in aligning local investment for renewable energy opportunities essentially for value chain development and creating markets that continue to exhibit sustainable and scalable features. Diana’s performance levels were exceptional high despite ongoing in-country turbulence. In a very volatile situation, she was successful in establishing dialogue mechanisms to shape (local) public policies and ensuring rural programming investments. Further, she encouraged a rather static business sector to engage towards organic, low-carbon and sustainable economies and it was because of her that access to finance and small enterprise development programmes were designed and resourced in the Eastern region and strongly included marginalized people. Through continuous and unyielding efforts in linking people and organisations, knowledge generation and brokering, she actively encouraged and supported others towards viable Sustainable Development perspectives.
Diana has proven abilities to conducting strategic (market, policy) research (and producing and presenting subsequently high quality outputs) which are based on broad conceptual understandings, and being knowledgeable about national policies while being practical in terms of recommendations, implementation and sustainability.
She has a sound educational background with degrees in Management (Hogeschool van Utrecht) and Marketing (TIAS Business School, University of Tilburg) from The Netherlands, and subsequently a MSc. in Sustainable Development from the Imperial College/SOAS, London University in the United Kingdom.