ICIMOD Board Members and ISG Chair receive recognition


Congratulations to Dr Linxiu Zhang, Dr Thomas Gass, and Dr Pal Prestrud! 

Dr Linxiu Zhang received the Third World Academy Celso Furtado Prize in Social Science in 2013; Dr Pal Prestrud was appointed Director of the Norwegian Nature Surveillance Agency; and Dr Thomas Gass was appointed Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of the United Nations.

Dr Linxiu Zhang, independent board  member of ICIMOD, was selected for the TWAS Celso Furtado Prize in Social Sciences for 2013. The award was announced during the 24th General Meeting of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) held on 30 September 2013. TWAS is a global science academy based in Trieste, Italy, working to advance science and engineering for sustainable prosperity in the developing world. The Prize, which consists of a cash award of USD 15,000 and a medal, will be presented to Dr. Linxiu Zhang at a special ceremony to be held during the TWAS 25th General Meeting to be held next year.

Dr Linxiu Zhang is a Professor and the Deputy Director of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing. An agricultural economist, she currently heads the research programme, ‘Integrated Rural Urban Development and Anti-Poverty Policy’ in China. The Prize recognizes her contributions as an agricultural economist in a career spanning over four decades. She is associated with many professional organizations and has served on the boards of several Chinese research academia and international organizations. She has also worked as a consultant to various international development agencies including ICIMOD, UNDP, UNEP, IFAD, and the World Bank. She was a member of ICIMOD’s Quinquennial review in 2006 and currently is an independent board member.

Dr Thomas Gass, Chair of the ICIMOD Support Group, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in UN DESA. With his experience in development cooperation and as a Member State representative he hopes to bring added value to the UN’s work on setting an inclusive sustainable development agenda in the coming years.

Dr Thomas Gass took office on 3 September 2013 as one of the two Assistant Secretary-Generals of UN DESA. He brings with him wide-ranging experience in bilateral and multilateral development cooperation. From 2009 to 2013, he served as Head of the Mission of Switzerland to Nepal (Ambassador and Country Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), where he established the Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal, and ensured the delivery of a development cooperation programme of up to USD 33 million a year. He also chaired the Donors of the Nepal Peace Trust Fund, the main instrument for international support to Nepal’s peace process.

He believes that 2015 is the next big opportunity and hopes to play a catalytic role in placing sustainable development, poverty eradication, and other important issues at center-stage as a coordinator and facilitator within DESA. 

Dr Pal Prestrud  was appointed director of the Statens Naturoppsyn (State Nature Surveillance) responsible for the management of protected areas, hunting, and fishing control. Dr Pal Prestrud, former Director of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) in Oslo, Norway, was nominated to the ICIMOD Board as independent member in November 2010. 

Dr Pal Prestrud has vast practical field and research experience in national and international polar research and polar environmental management. He spent several years in the Arctic doing fieldwork and participated actively in developing the the Rovaniemi Process for intergovernmental cooperation and later the Arctic Council. He is well versed in different aspects of climate change such as physical climate change, impacts, mitigation, adaptation, policy development, and international climate negotiations.