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Hemantha Withanage (he/him), a Sri Lankan national, has been advocating for environmental issues over three decades. He holds a science degree from the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka and joined the Environmental Foundation in 1990. In 2004, he co-founded the Centre for Environmental Justice, which is now the most prominent environmental organization in Sri Lanka, working from both the law and science fronts. From 2005-2008, Hemantha served as the Executive Director of the Philippines-based NGO Forum on ADB, a network of civil society organizations monitoring the Asian Development Bank. He has also been elected as the International Convenor for the same organization multiple times. Currently, he serves as the Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
Michael Green is Founder and former CEO of the US-based Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Today, he advises corporate, philanthropic and civil society leaders on strategy and social entrepreneurship. He has worked in Washington, DC for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Energy (DOE), in The Hague for the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO.). Michael has been a volunteer for Mother Teresa at Kalighat in Kolkata and received the Compassion in Action Award from the Dalai Lama Foundation for his work protecting children from lead. He serves on the Boards of Camp For All Kids (CFAK), and the AYA Research Institute. Michael reports to his direct supervisors, Dylan Green (born 2007) and Juliette Green (2008).
Frida Hök is the Deputy Director of the IPEN PO ChemSec in Sweden. She holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science.
Frida has extensive knowledge on chemical legislation and takes part in policy meetings all over Europe. Frida project manages most of ChemSec’s policy-focused reports and has experience in working with the private sector to phase out hazardous chemicals (www.chemsec.org).
Sofía Chávez Arce
Casa Cem, México
Sofía Chavez Arce is the founder and General Manager of the IPEN PO Casa Cem in Mexico. She holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science.
In 2007, she founded Casa Cem, an environmental organization that initially worked on waste issues with a special emphasis on e-waste. At present, the organization holds a full program involving research, advocacy, public policy, education, communication, and cultural activities related to chemicals and waste topics. Casa Cem is rooted in community, and links local research to national policy/laws (www.casacem.com). Sofía oversees the organization’s financial/legal/decision-making responsibilities and works in Casa Cem’s research and policy programs. In addition to her long experience in managing an NGO, Sofía has several years of board experience, serving on the board of a family business.
Casa Cem has been an IPEN PO since 2016 and has participated in several of IPEN’s programs during this time. Sofía has several times participated in the IPEN delegation at global policy meetings.
BlueGreen Alliance, U.S.
Charlotte Brody is the Vice President for Occupational and Environmental Health for the BlueGreen Alliance, a U.S. coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations working together to solve today’s environmental challenges in ways that create and maintain quality jobs and build a clean, thriving, and equitable economy. A registered nurse, Charlotte also serves as the National Director of Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a project to measurably reduce the largest sources of babies’ exposures to toxic chemicals that harm brain development. Charlotte has worked with cotton textile workers and coal mining families, lobbied for and directed a Planned Parenthood, and helped to found Health Care Without Harm, Coming Clean, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Green for All, and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.
Tadesse Amera, PhD
Pesticide Action Nexus (PAN), Ethiopia
Tadesse Amera recently completed his PhD in environmental communication. He has extensive experience in working with grassroots communities, government officials and high level national policy makers, academia, as well as international fellows and donors. Tadesse worked for seven years in the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia as District Environmental Health and Health Education Coordinator on a wide range of public health issues. He has served on the IPEN Steering Committee since 2012. He has been very active in international networks including IPEN, PAN, and the International Environmental Communication Association. One of his most impressive accomplishments is his initiative with farmers in promoting agro-ecology, specifically organic cotton production—as a result, approximately 2,800 farmers in southern Ethiopia are producing organic cotton, with 200 gaining the first ever (in Ethiopia) organic certification. He has also led important work on e-products/waste management and to eliminate lead in paint. Tadesse has participated, contributed to, and made interventions in the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, SAICM and UNEA.
Pamela K. Miller
Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), United States
Pam Miller founded ACAT in 1997. Since 2000, ACAT has been awarded multiple federal grants for which Pam has been serving as team leader and, from 2005 through 2016, as Principal Investigator of a research team that includes faculty from four universities in Alaska and New York. These research projects rely on collaborative efforts with tribes in Alaska to address environmental health and justice issues. Pam is a leader in Coming Clean, a national network of groups concerned about chemicals policy reform, and in the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, an international partnership committed to strengthening the scientific and public dialogue on environmental factors linked to chronic disease and disability. She is one of the world’s foremost experts concerning the toxic pesticide lindane, serving on two governmental organizations (United Nations and the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation) to address international concerns about lindane. She was instrumental in prompting the 2006 decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw agricultural products containing lindane from the U.S., the 2010 decision by the same agency to phase out uses of endosulfan, and the 2011 decision by the United Nations Environment Programme to ban endosulfan worldwide under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
FORMER IPEN CO-CHAIRS
Sharyle Patton, 1998-2004
Dr. Romeo F. Quijano, MD, 1998-2006
Pesticide Action Network Philippines
Jack Weinberg, 2001- 2005
Prof. Jamidu Katima, 2006 - 2010
Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development
Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, Ph.D., 2006 - 2011
National Toxics Network Inc.
Emmanuel Calonzo, 2011 - 2015
Dr. Olga Speranskaya, 2010 – 2018