The plenary session will discuss ways in which LED can help to sustain peace and build resilience after conflicts and natural disasters. In such settings, LED can foster social cohesion, create quick tangible benefits and initiate long-term, sustainable development. Sharing their own experiences with LED in fragile situations, panellists will present and discuss lessons learned and best practices.
President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
Antonio Zurita is the General Director of the Union de Ciudades Capitales Iberoamericanas (UCCI). Antonio studied Philosophy and Letters, Geography and History, at the University of Córdoba (Spain) and holds a Masters in Multilateral Cooperation and Local Development from the University Pablo de Olavide (Seville).
He has more than 33 years of professional experience in the field of international cooperation, in which he has been Director and President of several NGOs, founder of companies of social economy and fair trade, President of the Andalusian NGO Coordinator, General Director of FAMSI (Andalusian Fund for Municipalities for International Solidarity) and General Coordinator of CONFOCOS (Confederation of Funds for Cooperation and Solidarity in Spain). He is a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum and Technical Secretary of the World Forum of Local Authorities for Social Inclusion. He is also a member of the Executive and Scientific Committees of the World Forum on Local Economic Development.
He has been an official of UNDP between 2007 and 2011 as responsible for Latin America and Spain of the ART Initiative. He taught for 20 years in different European and Latin American universities, conducting postgraduate courses on decentralized international cooperation.
Mr. Manel Vila i Motlló is an expert in International Cooperation. Civil servant of the Barcelona city Council, he acted as the Director of the Youth Service and Manager of one of the districts of the city Nou Barris.
Between 1992 and 1996, he was responsible for Humanitarian Aid, as well as the Manager of the District 11 of Barcelona in Sarajevo (Bosnia-Hercegovina), reason for why he has received the award of Honorary Citizen of Sarajevo.
Mr. Vila was the Director of the Educational Services, the Director of the International Solidarity Area of the Barcelona City Council, the Commissioner of the City Hall for International Cooperation, and the Director of the International Cooperation in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. He was also a member of the Steering Committee of UNHCR.
Mr. Marcel Alain De Souza, a super economist and bureaucrat, assumed duties as the president of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the 8th of April 2016 .
De Souza was born on 20th of October 1953 at Pobè in the Republic of Benin. He holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Dakar as well as a specialised Master’s Degree in Management and Banking at the West African Training Centre for Banking Studies (COFEB) completing his training at the IMF Institute in Washington.
Mr. de Souza was formerly the Internal Controller at Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest- Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) head office in Cotonou. He rose to become national Director and Director of Administration at the bank headquarters in Dakar.
President de Souza had also served as Head of Department of Economic and Financial Affairs in the Office of the President of the Republic of Benin before he was appointed as Special Adviser to the President of the Republic of Benin on Monetary and Banking Affairs and later the minister for Development, Economic Analysis and Forecast from 28 May 2011 to 15 June 2015.
Prior to his appointment as the President of the ECOWAS Commission, he has been a Member of Parliament of the Benin National Assembly since June 2015.
Patrick Keuleers is the Director of UNDP’s Governance and Peacebuilding Cluster in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support in New York. He brings over 30 years of experience in international development, being based in New York, West and Central Africa and the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining the UN in 1984 he worked for a law firm and for the Ministry of Finance in Belgium.
Pedro Pires was the president of Cabo Verde from 2001 to 2011. He studied at the faculty of sciences at the University of Lisbon and received further training in Cuba, the Soviet Union and Guinea-Bissau. He returned to Praia, Cabo Verde in 1974, becoming the first Prime Minister of the newly independent country in 1975. After the ruling party lost the elections in 1991 he became president of the PAICV party and prepared a successful presidential candidacy which he won in the 2001 elections.
Overall, he played a major role in making Cabo Verde a model of democracy; stability and increased prosperity on the African continent. For his career, he received the 2011 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.