The following persons will be a part of the  Annual Conference of Swiss Development Cooperation 2016 through round tables or keynote speeches:

Opening address

What the 2030 Agenda means for Switzerland 

Didier Burkhalter © DFAE

Didier Burkhalter, Federal Councillor
After graduating in economics from the University of Neuchâtel, Didier Burkhalter held a number of posts in the academic world and the private sector. In 1985, he joined the Radical Free Democratic Party FDP (now the Liberal Democratic Party). He was secretary of the Neuchâtel cantonal branch of the party and full-time secretary for French-speaking Switzerland within the FDP Switzerland General Secretariat. Mr Burkhalter served as a member of the municipal parliament of Hauterive and was a member of the Neuchâtel cantonal parliament. In 1991, he was elected to the executive (city council) of Neuchâtel, which he chaired for three legislative periods and where he remained until 2005. He was elected to the National Council in 2003, then to the Council of States in 2007. On 16 September 2009, the Federal Assembly elected Mr Burkhalter to the Federal Council. He headed the Federal Department of Home Affairs in 2010 and 2011, before taking over as Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on 1 January 2012. Mr Burkhalter was President of the Swiss Confederation and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office respectively in 2014.

Keynote on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Ban Ki-moon © UNO

Ban Ki-moon,  UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon was born in the Republic of Korea in 1944. After graduating in international relations from Seoul National University, he was awarded a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1985. Ban became the eighth Secretary-General in the history of the United Nations on 1 January 2007. He was the Republic of Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade at the time. In a 37-year diplomatic career, he served in New Delhi, Washington and Vienna. He held a variety of posts, including Chief National Security Advisor to the President and Director-General of American Affairs. As UN Secretary-General, he has made promoting sustainable development, women's rights and support for countries facing crisis or instability primary objectives.


The lead-up to the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Thomas Gass © DFAE

Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
Thomas Gass was born in 1963 and holds a PhD in natural sciences, an MSc and an engineering diploma in agricultural sciences, all from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He was appointed Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs at the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in 2013. Gass has considerable experience in bilateral and multilateral development cooperation and was previously Head of Mission at the Swiss embassy in Nepal. Prior to that, his roles included Policy Programme Officer at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Guyana.

Michael Gerber © DFAE

Ambassador Michael Gerber, the Federal Council’s special representative for global sustainable development
The Federal Council appointed Michael Gerber as Ambassador and Special Envoy to prepare Switzerland's position on sustainable development and represent it internationally. In January 2015, the Federal Council gave him the mandate to head the Swiss delegations in the intergovernmental negotiations at the UN on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Michael Gerber was born in 1971 and studied political philosophy, history and ethnology at the University of Bern. He has been employed by the SDC since 2002 and was previously in charge of its Policy and Analysis Division. He was also responsible for Switzerland's development programmes in various countries.

Panel discussion

Universality in practice: sustainable water management in Chad and Switzerland

Markus Bürli
Markus Bürli © COSUDE

Markus Bürli, Global Programme Water Initiatives, SDC
Markus Bürli is Programme Manager at the Global Programme Water Initiatives of the SDC. In this position he represents Switzerland in international organisations of the water sector and is responsible for several development projects aiming at improved access to drinking water and sanitation as well as water for agriculture. He obtained his Master's degree in Development Economics at Imperial College London. Before joining SDC in 2007 he worked in the Poverty and Livelihood Analysis Programme of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, Syria.

Rémadji Mani © CEDPA

Rémadji Mani, national programme officer, Chad, SDC
Rémadji Mani became a national Programme Officer for the SDC in Chad in 2014. She has a Master's degree in food and nutrition security from the Agrhymet Regional Centre in Niamey, Niger and another in planning and development of land and society in France. Before joining the SDC, she worked at the Chad Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment as head of the training service for women in rural areas.

Laurent Balsiger © Jean-Michel Zellweger

Laurent Balsiger, Head «Direction de l’énergie», Canton of Vaud
Laurent Balsiger holds a degree in rural engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and is an expert in the electricity industry. He also studied at the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP). Before being appointed Director of Energy for the Canton of Vaud, Balsiger was in charge of Pully town council's public works department. He had previously worked in industry and for a number of engineering companies, managing several projects in Switzerland and abroad.


Implementing the 2030 Agenda: New parameters for the SDC

Manuel Sager © DDC

Ambassador  Manuel Sager, SDC Director-General
Manuel Sager earned a PhD in law at the University of Zurich and a master’s degree in law in the United States. He began his diplomatic career at the FDFA in 1988. In 1993, he took over the International Humanitarian Law Section at the Directorate of International Law (DIL), before moving on to various posts in Switzerland and the United States. In particular he served as executive director, with the title of ambassador, at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 2005 to 2008, then as Swiss ambassador to the United States from 2010 to 2014. Mr Sager has been the director-general of the SDC since November 2014.


Cocoa production in Indonesia: Public and private sector financing for sustainable development

Manfred Borer © Swisscontact

Manfred Borer, project manager, Swisscontact
Manfred Borer is Project Manager and Director for Indonesia at Swisscontact. In this role, he is in charge of implementing all Swisscontact projects in the country. Borer, who has extensive project management experience, joined Swisscontact in 2007 and was its Programme Director from 2012 to 2014. He has a degree in business process engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland.

Nicko Debenham © Barry-Callebaut

Nicko Debenham, Vice President Global Cocoa Sustainability, Barry Callebaut
Nicko Debenham joined Barry Callebaut as Vice President in the Global Cocoa Sustainability department in 2014. Barry Callebaut is the world's largest producer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products. It is actively committed to producing cocoa in line with sustainable development criteria. Debenham's career spans more than 28 years in the cocoa industry, particularly in West Africa.

Susanne Grossmann © Susanne Grossmann

Susanne Grossmann, member  of the board of the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM)
Susanne Grossmann has been a member of the Board of SIFEM since 2011. She has a Master's degree in history, political science and economics from the University of Zurich and a postgraduate degree in European integration from the University of Basel. She started her career with a Swiss bank. In 1995, Grossmann joined the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), where she worked on international negotiations before moving to the Economic Cooperation and Development division. She was part of the management team of the Swiss Organisation for Facilitating Investments (SOFI) from 2004 to 2007, taking charge of activities in Asia and Africa. In addition to her SIFEM role, she also works as an asset manager at BTS Investment Advisors, a private equity fund investing in Indian SMEs. She is also in charge of the BTS group's social commitments in India.

Closing Address

Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch © SECO

State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, SECO Director
Born in 1961, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch holds an MBA and a degree in law. She has held multiple positions in Switzerland and abroad, including assistant to Switzerland’s executive director at the World Bank in Washington DC from 1992 to 1993, and head of the WTO sector from 1999 to 2007. In April 2011 she was appointed state secretary and SECO director. She is also the director of the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate.