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Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Ingrid Coetzee

Senior Manager: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Ingrid has more than 30 years’ experience in sustainability and governance. Her work focuses on mainstreaming nature, its benefits, and nature-based solutions into urban planning and decision-making in cities and city regions thereby helping them become healthier, and more resilient and liveable places. She also serves as technical lead on ICLEI’s biodiversity advocacy work. Ingrid’s expertise includes stakeholder engagement, facilitation, law reform, policy, and strategy development.

AllDirectorsSenior Professsional OfficersThe Team
Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

Global Coordinator CitiesWithNature: Technical Development and Knowledge Management

Pieter Botha

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Ingrid has more than 30 years’ experience in sustainability and governance. Her work focuses on mainstreaming nature, its benefits, and nature-based solutions into urban planning and decision-making in cities and city regions thereby helping them become healthier, and more resilient and liveable places. She also serves as technical lead on ICLEI’s biodiversity advocacy work. Ingrid’s expertise includes stakeholder engagement, facilitation, law reform, policy, and strategy development.

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Ernita Flynn is a senior professional officer (social-ecological systems) at ICLEI Africa and ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center: Urban Biodiversity Work stream. Her work focus is on mainstreaming nature-based benefits in urban environments through planning and implementation. Following initial training in ecology and conservation, Ernita developed an interest in how people and institutions value and interact with the natural environment. She brings 22 years’ experience to the work place.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Mthobisi is an environmental practitioner with three years’ experience in the public and NGO sectors. His work experience is varied, having been exposed to a number of sub-disciplines in the broader environmental field. These include biodiversity mainstreaming and mapping ecosystem services. Mthobisi’s practical work experience is complemented by a solid academic grounding through a BSocSc in Geography and Environmental Management, and an Honours in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Nikara has over 5 years’ experience working in the conservation sector in South Africa, having previously worked for local NGOs. She holds two masters degrees, MSc Environmental Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal), and MPhil Conservation Leadership (University of Cambridge). At ICLEI Africa, she applies her experience and skills across various projects within the biodiversity team, whilst expanding her understanding of both local and global environmental challenges.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Ryan has more than 6 years’ experience working for and with subnational governments. Since joining ICLEI Africa in 2013, he has been active in the fields of energy and climate change mitigation, biodiversity and nature-based solutions, food systems, and sustainable transport. With an undergrad in Environmental Management, his expertise include policy review and drafting, facilitation, strategy development and mainstreaming of sustainability good practice into subnational government operations.

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

With a Public Policy background, Stefania has worked for more ten years for the Italian Ministry of the Environment (IMELS); first posted in Serbia, she was later seconded by IMELS to an international organisation, the Regional Environmental Center (REC), where she has been the Director of the Italian Fund (ITF), targeting specific environmental programs and channelling governmental funds throughout several geographical regions, such as Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the MENA region.

Global Coordinator CitiesWithNature: Technical Development and Knowledge Management

Pieter Botha

As a consultant to UN agencies, he has developed projects for the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and Global Environment Facility in various countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In this work, he has specialised in ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation, in particular nature-based solutions. He has also consulted for South African conservation NGOs. Besides consulting, Pieter
has worked as a freelance journalist, writing about topics such as urban wildlife, plastic pollution and climate change.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Bongiwe has a strong passion for sustainability and social justice. She holds BSc Honours degrees in Environmental Management and Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. Bongiwe has over 4 years’ experience working on Spatial Biodiversity Planning, Project Coordination and Ecosystem Services research. Her work on mapping and making the case for green and blue infrastructure helped cultivate her interest in integrated environmental management and developing products and tools useful for mainstreaming biodiversity into development, land use planning and informing the policy landscape.

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Thea joined ICLEI in 2016 after completing her Master’s at Nelson Mandela University’s Sustainability Research Unit. She initially embarked on a trans disciplinary Master’s, combining her aptitude for communication with her love of nature, learning that your passions and talents will often meet to reveal your vocation. Her expertise ranges from online marketing campaign conceptualization to graphic design and social media management. She has more than 5 years’ experience.

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Jade has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Stellenbosch. She has 1 year and 8 months of experience working in the Urban Catalytic Investment department at the City of Cape Town Municipality as an Urban Planning and Project Packaging Assistant. Jade is currently working as an intern in the Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions team. She is an avid reader and is passionate about sustainable development.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Erin has an MPhil in Environment, Society and Sustainability from the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining ICLEI, Erin worked as a consultant for a company focused on developing climate change adaptation and mitigation project funding proposals. She also has experience in research, data analysis and education. With a multidisciplinary background, Erin is interested in analysing complex qualitative data and learning about creative solutions that benefit society and nature. She joins ICLEI in the biodiversity and nature-based solutions stream where she hopes to further her understanding of and contribute towards the prioritisation of nature and climate-resilient development pathways in urban spaces.

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Willemien obtained a PhD in Media Studies, focusing on China’s environmental and human rights reputation in Africa. Her 12 years of experience ranges from journalism and strategic communication, to academic research in the communication field. Willemien strongly believes that communication plays a vital role in achieving ambitious goals for biodiversity protection, ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Ursula Wellmann has a background in Politics and Economics with an undergrad degree in Social Science, a Skills Development Facilitation certificate and a passion for the green economy. Supporting sustainable growth in both the renewable energy sector and Greentech manufacturing was a focus of her recent years’ work. Together with this, her passion for nature and biodiversity resulted in numerous projects implemented supporting decent employment opportunities within the Western Cape’s growing green economy.

Related Projects

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Related Resources

The Team

AllDirectorsSenior Professsional OfficersThe Team
Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

Global Coordinator CitiesWithNature: Technical Development and Knowledge Management

Pieter Botha

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Director: Biodiversity, Nature & Health

Ingrid Coetzee

Ingrid has more than 30 years’ experience in sustainability and governance. Her work focuses on mainstreaming nature, its benefits, and nature-based solutions into urban planning and decision-making in cities and city regions thereby helping them become healthier, and more resilient and liveable places. She also serves as technical lead on ICLEI’s biodiversity advocacy work. Ingrid’s expertise includes stakeholder engagement, facilitation, law reform, policy, and strategy development.

Senior Professional Officer: Social-ecological Systems

Dr Ernita Flynn

Ernita Flynn is a senior professional officer (social-ecological systems) at ICLEI Africa and ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center: Urban Biodiversity Work stream. Her work focus is on mainstreaming nature-based benefits in urban environments through planning and implementation. Following initial training in ecology and conservation, Ernita developed an interest in how people and institutions value and interact with the natural environment. She brings 22 years’ experience to the work place.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Mthobisi Wanda

Mthobisi is an environmental practitioner with three years’ experience in the public and NGO sectors. His work experience is varied, having been exposed to a number of sub-disciplines in the broader environmental field. These include biodiversity mainstreaming and mapping ecosystem services. Mthobisi’s practical work experience is complemented by a solid academic grounding through a BSocSc in Geography and Environmental Management, and an Honours in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Nikara Mahadeo

Nikara has over 5 years’ experience working in the conservation sector in South Africa, having previously worked for local NGOs. She holds two masters degrees, MSc Environmental Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal), and MPhil Conservation Leadership (University of Cambridge). At ICLEI Africa, she applies her experience and skills across various projects within the biodiversity team, whilst expanding her understanding of both local and global environmental challenges.

Professional Officer: Biodiversity and Urban Systems

Ryan Fisher

Ryan has more than 6 years’ experience working for and with subnational governments. Since joining ICLEI Africa in 2013, he has been active in the fields of energy and climate change mitigation, biodiversity and nature-based solutions, food systems, and sustainable transport. With an undergrad in Environmental Management, his expertise include policy review and drafting, facilitation, strategy development and mainstreaming of sustainability good practice into subnational government operations.

Senior Professional Officer - Global CWN and RWN Coordinator: Recruitment and Advocacy

Stefania Romano

With a Public Policy background, Stefania has worked for more ten years for the Italian Ministry of the Environment (IMELS); first posted in Serbia, she was later seconded by IMELS to an international organisation, the Regional Environmental Center (REC), where she has been the Director of the Italian Fund (ITF), targeting specific environmental programs and channelling governmental funds throughout several geographical regions, such as Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the MENA region.

Global Coordinator CitiesWithNature: Technical Development and Knowledge Management

Pieter Botha

As a consultant to UN agencies, he has developed projects for the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and Global Environment Facility in various countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In this work, he has specialised in ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation, in particular nature-based solutions. He has also consulted for South African conservation NGOs. Besides consulting, Pieter
has worked as a freelance journalist, writing about topics such as urban wildlife, plastic pollution and climate change.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature and Nature-based Solutions

Bongiwe Simka

Bongiwe has a strong passion for sustainability and social justice. She holds BSc Honours degrees in Environmental Management and Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. Bongiwe has over 4 years’ experience working on Spatial Biodiversity Planning, Project Coordination and Ecosystem Services research. Her work on mapping and making the case for green and blue infrastructure helped cultivate her interest in integrated environmental management and developing products and tools useful for mainstreaming biodiversity into development, land use planning and informing the policy landscape.

Senior Communications Officer

Thea Buckle

Thea joined ICLEI in 2016 after completing her Master’s at Nelson Mandela University’s Sustainability Research Unit. She initially embarked on a trans disciplinary Master’s, combining her aptitude for communication with her love of nature, learning that your passions and talents will often meet to reveal your vocation. Her expertise ranges from online marketing campaign conceptualization to graphic design and social media management. She has more than 5 years’ experience.

Intern: Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions

Jade Sullivan

Jade has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Stellenbosch. She has 1 year and 8 months of experience working in the Urban Catalytic Investment department at the City of Cape Town Municipality as an Urban Planning and Project Packaging Assistant. Jade is currently working as an intern in the Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions team. She is an avid reader and is passionate about sustainable development.

Professional Officer: Urban Nature

Erin Hill

Erin has an MPhil in Environment, Society and Sustainability from the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining ICLEI, Erin worked as a consultant for a company focused on developing climate change adaptation and mitigation project funding proposals. She also has experience in research, data analysis and education. With a multidisciplinary background, Erin is interested in analysing complex qualitative data and learning about creative solutions that benefit society and nature. She joins ICLEI in the biodiversity and nature-based solutions stream where she hopes to further her understanding of and contribute towards the prioritisation of nature and climate-resilient development pathways in urban spaces.

Communications Officer

Dr Willemien Calitz

Willemien obtained a PhD in Media Studies, focusing on China’s environmental and human rights reputation in Africa. Her 12 years of experience ranges from journalism and strategic communication, to academic research in the communication field. Willemien strongly believes that communication plays a vital role in achieving ambitious goals for biodiversity protection, ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Manager: Biodiversity & Nature

Ursula Wellmann

Ursula Wellmann has a background in Politics and Economics with an undergrad degree in Social Science, a Skills Development Facilitation certificate and a passion for the green economy. Supporting sustainable growth in both the renewable energy sector and Greentech manufacturing was a focus of her recent years’ work. Together with this, her passion for nature and biodiversity resulted in numerous projects implemented supporting decent employment opportunities within the Western Cape’s growing green economy.

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