photo LR Leida Rijnhout

Leida Rijnhout is Director for Global Policies & Sustainability at the EEB. She will be the moderator of breakout session B) Europe in the wider world.

She is a national Dutch and has a background in cultural anthropology with more then 30 years of experience in international development cooperation and sustainability. For many years, she facilitates and coordinates the global NGO community to realise their active engagement in United Nations processes on Sustainable Development and Environment. For that reason she was heavily involved at the Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 (Johannesburg) and at Rio+20 in 2012 (Rio de Janeiro), including all the preparatory meetings. At the moment she coordinates, as Organising Partner for the UN, the input of the global NGO society in the definition of the future Sustainable Development Goals (follow up of the MDGs) and governance for SD. She is the European Focal Point for civil society in Europe, in the 10 year Framework on Sustainable Consumption and Production (UNEP). And she is the representative for the Environmental NGOs at the OECD.

Before she switched to Sustainable Development, she worked for 15 years in international cooperation, with special focus to rural development in Latin America (Bolivia). She was responsible for the implementation and evaluation of several rural development programs in Bolivia and advised in the establishment of local credit systems and local food processing. She was for four years the coordinator of the platform of four development NGOs, working together in one joint program.

Afterwards, she was appointed as coordinator of a Flemish platform for Sustainable Development (VODO), where she worked for eight years, with her team, on innovative and integrating tools to promote Sustainable Development. VODO launched as first organisation in Flanders the concepts of the Ecological Footprint, environmental justice and ecological debt. Together with the member organisations, VODO guaranteed qualitative input in several policy process on Sustainable Development at Flemish, Federal, European and international level.

Leida was also coordinator of an international think tank on ecological debt and environmental justice. She always combined scientific research work, activists’ approaches, field experiences and policy work. She wrote many articles and chapters of books on sustainability and speaks Dutch, English and Spanish.


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