Développement régional

Who's who: Linking Rural Energy to Rural Development



Photo Angel Gurria

Angel Gurría
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Born on May 8th, 1950, in Tampico, Mexico, Angel Gurría came to the OECD following a distinguished career in public service, including two ministerial posts.
As Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 1994 to January 1998, he made dialogue and consensus-building one of the hallmarks of his approach to global issues. From January 1998 to December 2000, he was Mexico’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit. For the first time in a generation, he steered Mexico’s economy through a change of Administration without a recurrence of the financial crises that had previously dogged such changes.

As OECD Secretary-General, since June 2006, he has reinforced the OECD's role as a ‘hub” for global dialogue and debate on economic policy issues while pursuing internal modernization and reform. Under his leadership, OECD has expanded its membership to include Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia and opened accession talks with Russia. It has also strengthened links with other major emerging economies, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, with a view to possible membership. The OECD is now an active participant in both the G-8 and the G-20 Summit processes.
Mr. Gurría has participated in various international not-for-profit bodies, including the Population Council, based in New York, and the Center for Global Development based in Washington. He chaired the International Task Force on Financing Water for All and continues to be deeply involved in water issues. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of Governors of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, based in Canada, and was the first recipient of the Globalist of the Year Award of the Canadian International Council to honour his efforts as a global citizen to promote trans-nationalism, inclusiveness, and a global consciousness. 

Mr. Gurría holds a B.A. degree in Economics from UNAM (Mexico), and a M.A. degree in Economics from Leeds University (United Kingdom). He speaks: Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Italian and some German.

He is married to Dr. Lulu Quintana, a distinguished ophthalmologist, and they have three adult children.

Photo Pentti Hyttinen

Pentti Hyttinen
Region Mayor
Regional Councilof North Karelia


Pentti Hyttinen has a Ph.D. in Forest Management and Economics, 1992, from the University of Joensuu, Finland.  He obtained a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Development in 1990 from Texas A&M University, USA. He is the Region Mayor of North Karelia since 2001. He was a Forestry Expert at DG Research of the European Commission in Brussels in 1998-2001. Director of the Forestry Centre of North Karelia in 1996-1998. He has held various research positions at the University of Joensuu and at the European Forest Institute during 1990’s. Board Member of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) since 2002, he is also Chairman of the Koli Forum Steering Group and Board Member of the Finnish Center for Technological Development and Innovations (TEKES).  

 Photo Eva Levinsen

Eva Levinsen
Sustainable Committee
Regional Council of Zealand

  Eva Levinsen has an education as a environmental engineer. In the past many years, Eva have among others been commited to Local Agenda 21 policy and Nature Conservation Society. Since 2007 she has been an active member of the Socialist People's Region Board and has worked closely with the regional council members. In 2011, Eva was elected Chairman of Region Zealand's sustainability committee.

 Photo Wesley J. Sheridan

Wesley J. Sheridan
Department of Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs
Prince Edward Island

  Wes Sheridan was elected to the Prince Edward Island Legislature on May 28, 2007, as MLA for Kensington-Malpeque. On June 12, 2007, he was appointed by Premier Robert Ghiz as Provincial Treasurer. On January 13, 2010, he was appointed Minister of Finance and Municipal Affairs. On November 15, 2011, a departmental reorganization added the energy portfolio to Minister Sheridan's department. Mr. Sheridan is Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission and Minister Responsible for the PEI Harness Racing Commission. Prior to entering politics, he was Assistant Manager at Malpeque Bay Credit Union, and Manager of Commercial Lending. As a community volunteer, he took on a leadership role in a number of local service organizations and sports teams. He was instrumental in the launch of the community’s first Teen Drop-in Centre, served as Elder in the Kensington United Church and was a Sunday School Teacher for the past nine years. Mr. Sheridan graduated with an Economics Degree from Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1982. Mr. Sheridan and his wife, Sandra, live in Malpeque. They have three children, Jon, Megan and Kelly.

 Photo Nicola Vendola

Nicola Vendola
Regional Government of Puglia

  Born in Terlizzi, province of Bari (Puglia), Nicola Vendola had been a member of the Italian Communist Youth Federation since the age of 14; he studied literature in university and then went on to become a journalist for l'Unità, and a leading member of the Italian gay organisation Arcigay. In 1992 Mr. Vendola was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, to a seat which he held until 2005. As a member of the Antimafia Commission, he came to prominence as a strong opponent of the Mafia and organised crime presence in the economy and society. In 2005, Nicola Vendola ran for the first primary election ever held in Italy and he also won the regional election in Apulia, becoming the President of the region. In December 2009, Mr. Vendola became the first leader of the newly-founded party Left Ecology Freedom.


 Photo Antonello Antonicelli

Antonello Antonicelli
Environment Departement
Regional Government of Puglia


Antonicelli Antonello was born in Bari, July 13, 1974.  He graduated in Engineering from the Polytechnic of Bari in 2002 and earned a master's degree in "Environmental Policy and Management" organized by the Polytechnic  of Bari and of Lyon, the following year. Antonello has always been professionally engaged on environmental issues such as waste management, renewable energy production, and water system management. In this context, Antonello has worked as an expert in geographic information systems (GIS), with the FAO (Rome). In 2005 he began his collaboration with the Region of Puglia. In particular, between 2005 and 2007, he collaborated with the Deputy Commissioner for the waste crisis in the region Puglia, to realise the municipal waste management facilities. Since 2006 he has been working in the regional government of Puglia, were he was director for waste management and remediation, and Ecological Industrial Risk. Since 2008 he has served as the environmental authority of the Puglia Region, responsible for integrating sustainable development within the framework of EU structural funds. Since 2011, he is in charge of the regional authority managing the migration fluxes from North Africa to Puglia. He is currently the Director in charge of the Policy Coordination for environmental protection and rehabilitation and for the implementation of public works of the Puglia Region.

 Photo Konstantina Birmpili

Konstantina Birmpili
Permanent Representative of Greece
 to the OECD

  Ms. Birmpili was born in Athens, Greece, in 1969. She is a physicist and has graduated from the University of Athens, Physics Department (1986-1990). She has attended a Master course at Imperial College, University of London on Environmental Technology (1991-1992) and she has completed her studies with her PhD (1992-1995) on environmental management and economics. She has great experience in coordinating and managing European Union's projects on environment and sustainable development. She has scientific publications in foreign and Greek journals and she has contributions in scientific books. She has been evaluator on European projects on behalf of the EU. She has been working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister’s Office on integrating environmental issues into external policies. During the Greek Presidency of the European Union, she has been coordinating 24 Working Groups on different themes on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has contributed in the development of a European diplomacy on environment and sustainable development and she has been focal point of the European Diplomacy Network on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2004, she has been advisor to the President of the Panhellenic Socialist Party and President of the Socialist International. From September 2009 to June 2011, she was the first Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. Ambassador Tina (Konstantina) Birmpili took up her duties as Permanent Representative of Greece to the OECD on 30 September 2011.

 Photo Adam Brown

Adam Brown
Senior Energy Analyst
Renewable Energy Division
International Energy Agency

  Adam is a Senior Energy Analyst at the IEA in Paris, working in the Renewable Energy Division. Adam has expert knowledge of sustainable energy supply and related industrial and environmental concerns, gained through 30 years experience in planning, developing and managing programmes for Government and in consultancy assignments for other clients in the UK and overseas.  He managed the UK New and Renewable Energy Programme from 1993 to 1999, and then as Technical Director of Future Energy Solutions, then the leading UK sustainable energy consultancy, was involved in establishing a private sector consultancy business and acting as project director in a number of consultancy assignments for public and private sector clients in the UK and overseas, including work in China and Thailand. He was the Technical Coordinator for the IEA Implementing Agreement on Bioenergy from 2007- 2010, and was responsible for the development of a suite of policy documents. In his current role at the IEA in Paris, he was one of the main authors of a major review of renewable energy policy, published in October 2011 (Deploying Renewables 2011), and of the IEA’s Biofuels for Transport Roadmap and the recently published roadmap on Bioenergy for Heat and Power, published in May 2012.

 Photo John Bryden

John Bryden
International Rural Network


John Bryden is a part-time Professor at the Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute in Oslo, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He is a recognised expert on rural policy who has worked in the UK, Norway, US, Canada, Chile, the Caribbean, and India. He has coordinated four major transnational research programmes on economic and social dynamics in rural regions. He has advised the OECD on various occasions since the mid-1980s, and recently in particular on the New Rural Paradigm (2006) and the current project on Renewable Energy as a Rural Development Policy. He has also advised the World Bank, the European Commission, the Canadian Government, and the Scottish Government. John studied Political Economy (University of Glasgow), Tropical Agricultural Economics (University of the West Indies), and Development Economics (University of East Anglia). He has been visiting scholar at Guelph University Canada, University of Missouri-Columbia USA, Cornell University, USA, and the Centre for Development Studies in Kerala, India. John was also Programme Director of the Arkleton Trust from 1981 to 2006. He has been a keynote speaker or panellist at the major EU rural policy conferences including Inverness (1991), Cork (1996), and Salzburg (2003), as well as many OECD territorial rural policy conferences, and other conferences in Europe, Canada, USA, South America, India, Japan and Australia. John has published widely in several languages.

 Photo Ole Damsgaard

Ole Damsgaard
Nordic Council of Ministers

  Ole Damsgaard has since 2005 been managing director of NORDREGIO, Stockholm, - a research institute owned by the Nordic Council of Ministers dealing with regional policy and spatial planning. Ole Damsgaard has extensive experience of regional and urban development together with territorial planning policies. He has been member of several national and international working and expert groups. He has for years been a part time teacher at University of Copenhagen in Social and Urban Geography. In the period from 1994 to 2005 Ole Damsgaard was managing director of the Danish Town Planning Institute, Copenhagen, here he in specific was involved in municipal planning and urban ecology. Earlier he has been head of spatial planning in the County of Roskilde in Denmark and worked as regional planner in the Greater Copenhagen Region.

 Photo Heather Deese

Heather Deese
Vice President of Programs
Island Institute
Rockland, Maine
 United States

  Dr. Heather Deese is Vice President of Programs at the Island Institute in Rockland Maine. The Island Institute is a membership-based community development organization that supports the year-round island and working waterfront communities of the Gulf of Maine. Dr. Deese leads the Institute’s development of new programs, working with the marine, energy, education, community, and economic development staff. Deese specializes in the translation, communication, and application of scientific understanding for practical purposes, and has worked in previous positions with non-governmental, academic, and government organizations on multi-disciplinary research programs. Recently, she co-managed (with Dr. Peter Jumars, UMaine) the environmental impacts research for the University of Maine-led offshore wind energy R&D initiative ‘DeepCwind.’ Dr. Deese has 15 years of experience conducting sea-going, laboratory, and theoretical oceanographic and applied physics research. She holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Maine, and M.S. in Physical Oceanography from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Physics and English from Georgetown University.

 Photo Sabina De Luca

Sabina De Luca
 Department for Development and Cohesion Policy
 Ministry of Economic Development

  Sabina De Luca is Head of Department at the Ministry of Economic Development - General Directorate for Unitarian Regional Community Policy, which role is to coordinate the cohesion policy in Italy. In the framework of the activities carried out she was also responsible for the preparation of programming and implementation documents for regional development policies, as well as analysis and evaluation concerning the implementation and results of these policies carrying out negotiation activities with the European Commission and Member States. She has previously been General Director at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Head of Division at the “Structural and Community Funds Service” of the Ministry of the Treasury and Head of Division in the executive role of Finance Inspection Services, State General Accounting Department.

 Marvin Duncan Photo 

Marvin Duncan
 Senior Agricultural Economist
 Office of the Chief Economist, Energy Policy and New Uses
United States Department of Agriculture United States

  Marvin Duncan holds a bachelor of science degree in agronomy from North Dakota State University (NDSU) and a master of science degree in agricultural economics from the same institution.  Duncan has more than a decade of experience managing a large commercial grain and livestock farm in North Dakota, where he retains ownership interests.  He also holds a Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University.  Duncan was a Vice President and Agricultural Economist at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, where he was a manager of real sector economic analysis for the Bank and was instrumental in the start of the Bank’s annual Jackson Hole Policy Conference.  He subsequently joined the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), the federal financial regulator for the cooperatively organized Farm Credit System, as the Senior deputy Governor and Chief Operating Officer.  He later received a Presidential and Senate confirmed appointment to the Farm Credit Administration Board and served as Acting Chairman of the Board for a period of time.  He also served as Chairman of the Farm Credit Insurance Corporation.  After his appointment at the FCA was completed he served as Chairman and Professor of the Agricultural Economics Department at NDSU.  Upon leaving NDSU, he joined the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses in the Office of the Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he is currently a Senior Agricultural Economist. In that role he focuses on renewable power, biobased products, and biofuel research and analysis.  Under his leadership, the USDA’s BioPreferred Program was created. 

 Photo William Edwards

William Edwards
France 24

  William Edwards is a journalist for France 24, an international news channel based here in Paris. He read Theology at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was also a Choral Scholar, before getting his first job as a reporter on a local newspaper. He did a post-graduate course at City University, London, to switch to broadcast media in 2008. Since then he’s worked as a film-maker in the UK and in locations as far-afield as Borneo, before working at the Sky News Centre in London. He’s now a regular presenter of the France 24 Business bulletin, and is often called on to report live from major events in Paris. He also still sings professionally on occasion.

 Photo Rabia Ferroukhi

Rabia Ferroukhi
 Senior Policy Officer
 International Renewable Energy Agency

  Rabia Ferroukhi is Senior Policy Advisor at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi where she has been mainly focusing on policy design and socio-economic impacts of renewable energy deployment. Previously, she has held various senior positions at Masdar, the OME, EconAnalysis, and OPEC as well as teaching positions at University. Rabia has been working on energy and development related issues with different governments in the Middle-East and North Africa, energy companies in the Mediterranean region, and international institutions. She holds a Masters and PhD in Economics from the American University in Washington DC.

 Photo Iris Flacco

Iris Flacco
Energy Departement
Abruzzo, Italy

  Iris Flacco, born in Giuiano Teatino. She is married and has one daughter. Degree in Geology and masters in Environment and Energy. Professor at L’Aquila University training science faculty. She has been employed in Regione Abruzzo for 30 years and since 2005 she is head of energy and environment department. She is also Energy manager of ARAEN (Regional Energy Agency) and coordinates the activities for EU projects ALTENER/ SAVE/ INTERREG AB/ IEE joined by the Region. Author of numerous scientific articles and publications, she is also commissioner for Abruzzo region waste consortiums. She has constantly been involved in environment and environmental pollution, energy and data management activities and she has contributed at many regional laws and guidelines in the filed of environment, urban planning, building sector and energy.

 Photo David Freshwater

David Freshwater
Department of Agricultural Economics
University of Kentucky 
United States

  David Freshwater is a professor at the University of Kentucky, with appointments in the Department of Agricultural Economics and in the Martin School of Public Administration and Public Policy. He is also an adjunct professor in the Geography Department of Memorial University in Newfoundland. During 2009 he was Head of the Rural Policy Programme at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. His main research areas are rural and agricultural policy in North America and Europe. His academic research focuses on: evaluation of the impacts of rural development policies, analysis of labor market conditions in rural areas, and the role of off-farm income in agricultural risk management. From 1994 to 2001 he was the Program Manager for TVA Rural Studies, a rural development research center that was created through a cooperative agreement between the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining the University of Kentucky he was a senior economist on the Staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and before that a member of the professional staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He has also been a visiting scholar at USDA, a member of the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba, and a consultant on agricultural and rural policy for various domestic and international government agencies. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Brock University, an M.A. in Economics from McMaster University and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University.

 Photo Enrique Garcilazo

Enrique Garcilazo
Rural and Regional Programme
Public Governance & Territorial Development Directorate

  Jose Enrique Garcilazo is the Head of Unit for the Rural and Regional Development Programme within the Regional Development Policy Division at the OECD. His work has mainly focused in the areas of regional competitiveness, measuring the performance of regions and understating the key factors for growth at the regional level and their impact to aggregate performance. He obtained a doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin at the LBJ school of public affairs.

 Photo Julie Grignon

Julie Grignon
Director General of Electricity
Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife Government of Québec

  Julie Grignon holds a Master of Economics from the Université de Montréal. She joined the civil service in Québec in 1988 after working for several years for research and teaching establishments and consulting firms.
She spent nearly six years with the Ministère des Finances du Québec followed by the Ministère du Conseil exécutif du Québec working, among other things, on files related to federal-provincial relations. In 1999, she joined the Ministère de l’Industrie et du Commerce, now known as the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation, where she was Deputy Director General of Industry. She also closely coordinated the development and drafting of the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l’innovation made public in December 2006. In February 2008, she joined the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune as Director of Hydrocarbon and Biofuel Development Projects. From September 2009 to December 2010 she also held the position of Acting Director General of Policy, Coordination and Economic Analysis. In this context, her responsibilities were expanded to include the development and implementation of policies, guidelines, strategies and programs in response to challenges associated with climate change from the perspective of energy issues.
In December 2010, she was nominated to the position of Director General of Electricity, again at the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune. She oversees teams whose mandates consist of developing renewable energy in Québec, drafting legislation on electricity and allocating energy blocks to major industrial projects.

 Photo Pandor H. Hadjy

Pandor H. Hadjy
Deputy Administrator
Business Programs
United States Department of Agriculture
United States

  Pandor H. Hadjy, Deputy Administrator, Business Programs, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Rural Business Service A career Federal Employee, Mr. Hadjy has over 33 years of experience working in agricultural and rural business lending. As Deputy Administrator, he is responsible for the administration of guaranteed loans, direct loans and grant programs at the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Business Service. These loan and grant authorities promote rural economic development through business creation, expansion and the promotion or renewable energy and energy efficiency. Mr. Hadjy administers a loan portfolio consisting of over $8 billion in loan guarantees and direct loans and is responsible for an annual program budget of over $1 billion. Over the past three years, the programs under his jurisdiction have assisted approximately 50,000 rural businesses create or save over 263,000 rural jobs, and financed the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production facilities in the United States. Mr. Hadjy is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture. He has received extensive credit and financial analysis training through Dun and Bradstreet and Moody’s. He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Leadership Decision Making Program.

 Photo Nienk Hoepman

Nienk Hoepman
Program Manager
Sustainable Innovations
Provincial Government of Fryslân
The Netherlands


Nienk Hoepman is Program manager for Sustainable Innovations, Provincial Government of Fryslân from September 2011 to Present. Program manager Sustainable Energy, Provincial Government of Fryslân from November 2008 to September 2011 his focuses where on:  Making Fryslân 100% sustainable. Focus on stimulating and facilitating innovations and building on strong Northern knowledge economy. Triple helix, (3 O's). Topics: energy savings in the built environment, decentralised production of sustainable energy (green gas, solar, smart grids) and sustainable mobility (Drive 4 Electric, Fol Gas Foarût). Also preparing Afsluitdijk for new era, as icon for sustainablity (blue energy, World Sustainability Centre). Program manager Branding Fryslân, Provincial Government of Fryslân from July 2008 to November 2008: Branding Fryslân, towards a more integral approach of marketing the Fryslân region as a whole, by integrating promotional activities on tourism, festivals, events, economy, housing, sustainability, energy, water, etc. Program manager Fryske Fiersichten, Provincial Government of Fryslân from May 2007 to November 2008. Fryske Fiersichten: his main activities involved public debate (2006) on the future of Fryslân (2030) resulted in 700 ideas, 10 concepts will be brought further, emphasizing on sustainability (Afsluitdijk, mobility, housing stock, religious heritage), experience, ICT, education & branding of Fryslân Project manager Streekplan, Provincie Fryslan from 1997 to 2007. Spatial planning, regional development plan (streekplan 2007), manifesto spatial quality (2006), windenergy (windstreek 2000).

 Photo Per Hovmand

 Per Hovmand
 Policy analyst
 Regional Council of Zealand

  Per Hovmand is an experienced politician. He was formerly Mayor of Dianalund Municipality (a municipality in Zealand) from 1994 to 2007. He is a trained police officer but having a temporary pause from the service. Per was getting into the City Council already in 1982 as a 29-year-old. Today he sits in Soro City Council and Regional Council since 2006. He is also member of the board of Environment, Energy and Development in Region Zealand.

 Photo  Colin Imrie

Colin Imrie
Energy and International Low Carbon Division
Government of Scotland
United Kingdom


Colin Imrie is Head of the Scottish Government’s Energy and International Low Carbon Division.  His brief covers the Scottish Government’s interests in energy market policy and regulation, fossil fuels and CCS, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy resilience and the low carbon economy. He also supports the work of  the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and its industry advisory groups on Oil and Gas and Thermal Generation and CCS. He also leads on Scottish international low carbon work, coordinates European Union related work on energy and climate change for the Scottish Government and was senior Scottish Government official at the UN Climate Change talks in Cancun.He was previously Head of the Energy Consents Unit in the Scottish Government, leading the team dealing with applications for consent for energy projects under the Electricity Act and other legislation and related policy issues connected with planning and environmental law. Colin has worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and European Commission and has served as Energy and Nuclear attaché for the UK Permanent Representation in Brussels, when he chaired the Council Energy Working Group during the UK Presidency in 1998. He has been Head of European Structural Funds, Head of the Press Office and Head of Access to Justice in the Scottish Executive and worked from 2004-07 as a freelance consultant in a number of European countries on a range of European issues, including sustainable development and energy cooperation with Mediterranean countries.  He is a Director of the Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGEC) and sits on the Scottish Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) advisory committee.   He speaks fluent French, German and Dutch (the national languages of Belgium, where he has lived for a number of years) and in his spare time works as a Scottish tourist guide.

 Photo Paul J. LeBlanc

Paul J. LeBlanc
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency


Paul J. LeBlanc assumed the responsibilities of President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) on November 15, 2010. Mr. LeBlanc began his career in the Public Service of Canada in 1977 on an accelerated management training program with the Solicitor General’s office in Ottawa. He moved to the Public Service Commission (PSC) in 1980, and held several positions there, including that of Regional Director for New Brunswick. He then served as Superintendent of the Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick. Mr. LeBlanc joined ACOA in 1987 to support the newly created Agency as Director General, Human Resources. Over the years, he has held numerous positions with the Agency, including Director General, Development (Entrepreneurship, Tourism, and Trade); Corporate Secretary; Vice-President, Prince Edward Island; Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services; and Senior Vice President, Policy and Programs. Mr. LeBlanc left the Agency in September 2004 to join the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. There, he held the position of Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Socio-Economic Policy and Regional Operations. He rejoined ACOA in September 2006 as Executive Vice-President. Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Mr. LeBlanc was educated at Université de Moncton, where he completed bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work and a Masters in Business Administration.

 Photo Sabrina Lucatelli

Sabrina Lucatelli
Working Party of Territorial Policy in Rural Areas


Sabrina Lucatelli is Member of the Public Investment Evaluation Unit (UVAL) of the Department for Development and Cohesion Policy of the Italian Ministry for Economic Development, and has a specific responsibility for Rural Areas. Since 2010, she works as Seconded National Expert at the Policy Coordination Division of the European Commission's Directorate General for Regional Policy. She is Italian Delegate at TDCP/WPTP Rural Areas. She has previously been at OECD as economist for the Directorate for Food Agriculture and Fisheries and the Economics Department. She graduated from Rome University and undertook a Master of Science degree in Agriculture Economics at the Catholic University of Milan and a High Diploma in Rural Development at the University College Cork. She has been implementing important evaluation activities trying to assess how the Rural Development Policy and the Regional Policy are impacting on rural areas in Italy and on development policies for rural areas of less developed countries. Her works include papers and articles on relationships between agriculture and a region broader economics; local development issues; different aspects of rural development, including basic services provision and rural-urban partnerships.

 Photo Olle Lundgren

Olle Lundgren
Regional Development
Jämtland County

  Olle Lundgren, Director. Responsible for Regional Development at the County Administrative Board of Jämtland County since 2009. Before that responsible for European Cohesion Policy and Structural funds at the Governments Office in Sweden.

 Photo Franco Mantino

Franco Mantino
Senior Researcher
Rural Development Unit
National Institute of Agricultural Economics (INEA)

  Francesco Mantino is a senior researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Economics (INEA), where he is leading the research area on “Rural Development”. He has  worked on research projects in the broad field of rural and regional development: structural changes, policy design and delivery, local development strategies and plans, lagging regions and development of mountain areas, evaluation of EU programmes, etc. He has carried out research funded by several international organisations including the European Commission, OCDE, FAO and IFAD. At national level he has led the INEA’s work on the reform of the EU Rural Development Policy and its implementation in Italy since 1994. He was responsible of the team of the Italian Networks for Leader II and Leader+. He has worked as consultant of a broad range of Italian institutions:  the Ministries for Agricultural and Forestry Policies, Budget and Economic Planning,  Department of Tourism, and finally many Regional Authorities. He is currently leading several research projects in the field of rural development policies, both at national and European level. He is author of many scientific publications. 

 Photo Lorenzo Nicastro

Lorenzo Nicastro
Regional Councillor for Environment
Regional Government of Puglia

  Lorenzo Nicastro was born on November 9, 1955. He lives in Bari. He is a lawyer, a judge of the Supreme Court, and President of a Section within the regional tax Commission of Puglia, is also a judge of the central regional tax Commission of Puglia. Since 2010 Lorenzo Nicastro is councilor for environmental quality in the Regional Government of Puglia.

 Photo Joaquim Oliveira Martins

Joaquim Oliveira Martins
Regional Development Policy Division
Public Governance &Territorial Development Directorate

  Joaquim Oliveira Martins is the Head of the OECD Regional Development Policy Division. Current projects cover the determinants and distribution of regional growth, regional innovation, urban development and green growth and multi-level governance. He was the former Head of the Structural Economic Statistics Division, focusing on Trade & Globalisation indicators, Productivity measurement and Business statistics. Previously, he was Senior Economist at the Economics Department heading projects on the Economics of Education, Ageing and Growth, and Health Systems. He was also Head of Desk for emerging markets, where he was in charge of the first Economic Surveys of Brazil, Chile and several transition countries. Other OECD projects include monographs on Competition, Regulation and Performance and Policy Response to the Threat of Global Warming. He was also Research Fellow at the CEPII (Centre d’Etudes Prospectives et d’Informations Internationales, Paris). He is Associate Professor at the University of Paris-Dauphine. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Paris-I, Panthéon-Sorbonne.

 Photo Brian Schmeisser

 Brian Schmeisser
Rural Development
Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development
Prince Edward Island

  Brian Schmeisser is the Director of Rural Development for the Province of P.E.I. and Senior Policy Advisor, Strategic Economic Initiatives. The Rural Development Division mandate is to provide leadership in developing new approaches to rural community development and delivers employment programs under the Employment Development Agency.  The Rural Development Division is guided by a recently completed Rural Action Plan which contains seven goals and forty actions to enhance rural Prince Edward Island. Prior to working with the Province of P.E.I., Brian worked at the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency for twenty two years where his last position was Director of Community Economic Development.

 Photo Raffaele Trapasso

Raffaele Trapasso
Renewable Energy and Rural Development
 Rural and Regional Programme Unit


Raffaele Trapasso is an economist and works for the Rural Development Programme in the Public Governance and Territorial Development directorate at the OECD. Raffaele has over ten years experience in the field of regional development policy. In particular, he has served as a policy advisor to local governments with a focus on both urban and rural areas. Before joining the OECD’s Rural Unit, he worked with the OECD’s Urban Unit where he managed and co-authored three OECD Territorial Reviews on Urban and Metropolitan Regions (Milan, Madrid, and Cape Town). His work for the OECD’s Rural Unit ranges from coordinating and co-authoring OECD Rural Policy Reviews to facilitating policy dialogue between regional and national governments on questions of economic development and multilevel-governance. Prior to joining the OECD, Raffaele worked with the Italian Government in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, for the National Committee for the Surfacing of the Informal Economy, and with the Regional Government of Calabria, Italy, where he helped draft the regional plan for employment.  As a consultant, he worked with clusters of small businesses in Calabria and in Campania.  Raffaele holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, a Master of Regional Development from the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria and a degree in economics from the University Federico II of Naples. A native of Catanzaro, Calabria, Raffaele, his wife, Caroline, and their son, Milo, live in Paris.

  Photo Richard Wakeford

Richard Wakeford
Working Party on Territorial Policy in Rural Areas


  Richard Wakeford is Chair of the OECD Rural Working Party and a member of the Territorial Development Policy Committee.  As a strategic policy adviser to the UK Government he is also Chair of the Sustainable Development Research Network and serves on the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Conservation Board.  Until 2010, he worked in the Scottish Government as Head of its Environment and Rural Affairs Department (delivering Ministers’ ambitions for ambitious climate change legislation) and then as Director General Rural Futures working internationally on sustainable development challenges facing the world’s rural areas.  He was Chief Executive of England’s Countryside Agency from 1999 until 2004 and a member of the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission.  All his senior leadership roles have rural development, environment, planning and land use as a common thread – and he contributes to research and offers consultancy on these themes.  He is an Honorary Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Gloucestershire University.


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