Meet Our Team:

David Jackson

LDFP Director,Chair LDIC

David Jackson, a British national, has over 30 years of experience in Local Development. He started his career as an urban planner in London in 1980s and later on ran a consulting company supporting local development in over 10 African and Asian countries.

The beginning of his career at UNCDF was in the 1990s in Mozambique, where he designed and piloted a national system of local government finance for capital investment that was taken to scale by government.

Since 2006, he worked as Decentralisation Advisor to the Government of Indonesia and UNDP. In 2009, he became Head of UNCDF Asia and Pacific office where he designed the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility, a global mechanism that enables local governments in the least developed countries to access climate finance for resilient investments.

In May 2013, he was appointed Director of UNCDF’s Local Development Finance Practice in New York. In this position he manages portfolio of local development finance programmes with a focus on fiscal decentralisation, infrastructure development, climate resilience grants, municipal finance and private sector investments.

Christel Alvergne

Team Leader Africa Region

Christel Alvergne is Team Leader for the Africa region.Christel holds a PhD in Urban Economics. She is a former academic and has been a researcher and professor in academic institutions in France, Canada, Senegal and Egypt. She published several books on territorial policies, fiscal decentralization and urban development analyzing the evolutions in Europe, the US, Canada and across Africa.

Convinced about the importance of local dimension for a sustainable and human development, she has been involved in the Municipal movement in developing countries and has contributed to promote decentralization processes since their beginning in the 1990s. She has also worked for 20 years on fiscal decentralization and municipal finance in developing countries.

Prior to this involvement in Africa, she was involved in the forecast policies for the French Prime Minister agency – DATAR. She set up the “France 2020” program, an initiative to test and develop innovative approaches to decentralization and local governments involvement into time management policies, forecast plans, capital investment plans and new financing models for municipalities.

Dmitry Pozhidaev

Global Advisor for Local Government Finance and Head of UNCDF office in Uganda

Dr. Dmitry POZHIDAEV is Global Advisor for Local Government Finance and Head of UNCDF Office in Uganda. He has been working with UNCDF since 2010 guiding local development finance programmes for public and private sector in many countries in Asia and Africa. Prior to that, he worked with various international financial institutions and private sector companies, such as the World Bank, European Union, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and Adam Smith International as a consultant on fiscal decentralisation, development finance, and public financial management in Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. He served as an international municipal administrator in Kosovo where he oversaw a municipal budget and capital investment programme of €11 million annually, including a large portfolio of infrastructure PPPs.

Mr. Pozhidaev has a doctorate degree in Development Economics and authored numerous articles and book chapters on public administration, local development, finance and investment.

Suresh Balakrishnan

Regional team Leader

Suresh Balakrishnan is Regional Team Leader for UNCDF’s Local Development Finance Practice based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He supports a diverse set of local development programmes across the region, which range from local development grants, municipal finance and local economic development finance. Suresh has been with UNCDF since 2012 after a long association with UNDP in Asia, during which he worked closely with UNCDF in several countries. He played a key role in developing several financing instruments ranging from operational expenditure blocks grants to partial credit guarantees for the Local Development Finance portfolio.

Suresh holds a doctoral degree in management sciences and worked with academia and civil society before joining the UN system. He led the Public Affairs Centre in Bangalore, India for a decade during which he helped develop Citizen Report Cards emerge as a global best practice in public accountability. He has published extensively in international journals and was on the faculty of the International Programme for Development Evaluation jointly conducted by The World Bank Group and the Carleton University for a decade, from 2005. His areas of expertise include local development finance, local governance, entrepreneurship development, process re-engineering, public administration reform and development evaluation.

Paul Martin

Regional team Leader

Paul Martin is the Regional Team Leader for UNCDF’s Local Development Finance Practice based in Bangkok, Thailand. He transitioned from the private sector to UNCDF in 2015 after 20 years of global consultancy work, with an especial focus on Asia and emerging economies. Pauls began his career as a UK civil servant tasked with supporting the privation of UK nationalized industries in the 1990,s and later joined the UK governments’ international energy consultancy. He undertook assignments in Russia, regenerating mono-activity towns viz-a-viz EBRD investments and World Bank sectorial loans, in the Middle East managing large energy and transport investments and India disposing of UK ODA assets.

Since 2004 Paul worked as a senior consultant for a limited number of leading European consultancy companies, UNDP and OSCE in the areas of planning and investments, PFM, policy development and legislative and regulatory advisory within the spheres of investment, investment promotion and PPPs. This portfolio of work has included the generation of national and sub national transformative plans and investment portfolios, forecasting of national development financing and public sector capital investments, PFM and establishing regulatory bases for PPPs and credit guarantees and originating PPP investment pipelines

Paul holds an International MBA and a BSc in Energy and Law

Dr. A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi

External Expert Advisor
Women Economic Empowerment
Food Security and Nutrition

Dr. A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi is Professor of Economics and International Development Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada. Haroon Akram-Lodhi is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Development Studies and an Associate Editor of Feminist Economics.
Trained as an economist, the focus of Haroon Akram-Lodhi's research interest is in the political economy of agrarian change in developing countries, on the economic dimensions of gender relations, and on the political ecology of sustainable rural livelihoods. He currently acts as a Gender and Poverty Adviser to the United Nations Development Programme's Gender Team, is a Poverty and Gender Analyst for the United Nations Environment Programme's Poverty - Environment Initiative - Africa, and a Gender and Women's Empowerment Adviser to UN Women. Haroon Akram-Lodhi has lived, taught, and conducted research in numerous countries, published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, and has undertaken advisory services for a wide variety of multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental international development organizations
Otherwise, good to go.

Gregor Paterson-Jones

External Expert Advisor
Financial Structure and Sustainability

Gregor Paterson-Jones is an independent fund establishment expert in the renewable finance and social impact sectors. He acts as a board member and investment committee member and adviser with clients including the European Investment Bank, the European Commission’s Innovation Fund, the Italian Government, the UNCDF, Mergence, InfraImpact, SE Asia Clean Energy Facility, The African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the North Macedonian Innovation Fund and a number of Sovereign Wealth Funds.

With a robust career that spans over 26 years and many proven successes as a principal investor in renewable energy funds and infrastructure investment banking sectors, he now focusses on advising development banks, governments and international organisations on fund establishment and deal execution across several key industries. He was previously Managing Director the UK Green Investment Bank, and CEO of Sterling Waterford, after a career at Deloitte Consulting.

Luc Gnacadja

External Expert Advisor
Climate and resilience

Luc GNACADJA, a Benin national and a tri-sector (business, government and nonprofit) leader and manager, is the founder and president of the think-tank GPS-Dev (Governance & Policies for Sustainable Development). He has a long and high-level expertise and credentials in reflecting, advocating and mainstreaming environmental matters in public policies for the advancement of sustainable development, as well as a proven leadership ability to facilitate change and transformation in regional and multilateral contexts.

Graduated as architect in 1983, he has served as Minister of environment, housing and urban development of his country Benin (1999-2005), and as Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD, 2007-13).
In this latter capacity, he has been a guiding voice for sustainable land development in the negotiations leading up to the Rio+20 Summit and is the architect of the concept of “Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)” (cf. SDG target 15.03). As President of GPS-Dev he has, among other initiatives, supported and facilitated in 2018 a paradigm shift strategy for sustainable land management as well as the redesign of the renewable energy strategy in Benin.

Mr. Gnacadja is currently the Chairperson of the Strategic Council of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) and the special representative of the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility’s board.

Gina Volynsky

External Expert Advisor Local Economic Development

Gina Volynsky has 30 years of experience in international development, including 14 years of living and working in emerging economies. She dedicated much of her career to economic development and collaborating with the private sector to address development challenges. Currently, she is a Senior Director at Pact, a 50-year-old US NGO, heading up the Private Sector Practice. She is also a Public Service Professor at the State University of New York where she established a concentration in International Development and is designing and teaching graduate courses on International Development. Most recently, she served for six years at SUNY as the Executive Director of the Center for International Development. Previously, she headed a team working for USAID on private sector engagement, that examined, developed and managed development partnerships with the private sector. Ms. Volynsky also served as the UNDP Eurasia Center as Sr. Advisor on Trade and Inclusive Development where she designed and managed multi-country programs that prepared countries for international trade and created the infrastructure to partner with multinationals. While at the World Bank in Russia, she served as Country Manager for MIGA which provides political risk insurance to companies that invest in emerging economies. Also, Gina set up and managed business development divisions for Crown Agents and CARANA. Additionally, she designed, evaluated, and managed numerous inclusive economic development programs for USAID globally. Gina has an MBA, a BA in Economics, is fluent in Russian, and has a basic command of French and Italian.

Hailer Charles

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy Capstone
Team Leader

Charles Hailer is a graduate student pursuing a Master of International Affairs (MIA) at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, SUNY. He assists Dr. Greenhill lead a team of MIA and MPA students as they review development proposals to complete their capstone project with UNCDF. Prior to his time at Rockefeller College, Charles worked in film, television, and the arts for over a decade at institutions and firms like the Tribeca Film Festival, the Museum of the Moving Image, Robert College in Istanbul, BRIC Arts Media, and Viacom.

Rebecca Lee

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy Capstone
Team Leader 2019

Rebecca Lee, Master in Public Administration (MPA), a 2019 graduate of Rockefeller at SUNY Albany, was approached by Rey Koslowski, Dean of the Master of International Affairs (MIA) program, to create a Capstone program between Rockefeller and UNCDF. In this capacity, Rebecca served as the grants analyst, and upon completion of her course and her degree, became the training coordinator for future capstone students.
She worked with six students and completed numerous technical reviews of grant proposals in various countries.

Due to a career opportunity in Washington state, Rebecca left the position in the hands of Robert Potts. She continues to be an active volunteer in assisting with new students and reviews if necessary. Rebecca is excited to see how this partnership develops.

Mohammad Abbadi

Senior Investment Expert

Prior to joining the UN, Mohammad Abbadi worked as an Economic Advisor to the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Jordan.

Mohammad Abbadi, is the Senior Investment Manager with the Local Development Finance Practice at UNCDF, spearheading the Global Award Winning “Dual Key” pipeline and approach to revenue generating investments and ensures quality control on the investments’ financial sustainability and compliance with development impact measurements. Mohammad brings over 16 years of international development and managerial experience. He continues to provide innovative approaches to Investment and Impact management, including industry standard assessment instruments, methodologies and best practices in building sustainable investment portfolios. He is an economist by practice with specific specialization in SDGs responsive Local Economic Development and Women’s Economic Empowerment, especially in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) context.

Prior to joining UNCDF he worked as a Gender Economist with UNDP, leading their flagship programme on Gender and Macroeconomic Policy Management in Africa and Asia. Mr. Abbadi holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs (USA), and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Hampshire College (USA).

Brian Greenhill

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
Capstone -Programme manager

Brian Greenhill is an Associate Professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, SUNY. His research focuses on international organizations, paying particular attention to the more indirect ways in which they can promote action on human rights and environmental issues.

At Rockefeller College he teaches courses on international relations, global environmental politics, human rights, and statistical methods. He serves as the supervisor for the students who are completing their capstone projects with the UNCDF as part of Rockefeller College's Master of International Affairs program.

Christian Fournier

External Expert Advisor Local Economic Development and Municipal Finance

Christian Fournier draws on over 35 years of professional experience in decentralization, state reform, municipal management, institutional and organizational development and project management, working as a technical expert and consultant with international institutions such as Global Affairs Canada, DANIDA, the World Bank, UNDP and UNCDF. The last 25 years of his career has been primarily based internationally, mainly in West and Central Africa. An urban planner by training, he also holds a graduate degree in international cooperation and a master’s degree in project management. Over his career, Christian has managed project teams, designed and developed territorial and financial planning instruments, created and implemented sectoral strategies in local governance and participated in policy dialogue on decentralization, implemented mechanisms for financial transfers to local authorities. Christian was also involved in designing and editing instruments such as the Local Authorities Financial and Institutional management System and the Guide du Registre d’Inventaire Territorial Actualisé.

Shrijna Dixon

Rockefeller capstone Coordinator

Shrijna Dixon is a doctoral student in political science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, SUNY. She coordinates the Rockefeller capstone where the college's Master of International Affairs and Master of Political Administration candidates review, as external experts, UNCDF's local finance transformative development proposals on Africa and Asia and the Pacific. Prior to attending Rockefeller, Shrijna worked for a decade in international development and cooperation with the United Nations in the Asia Pacific region. She managed programs in over 20 countries for mainstreaming gender and advancing social inclusion across all spheres of social, political, and economic development.

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