Congrats to former EBRD colleagues bagging awards at IAIA17 conference in Montreal

I attended the annual conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) in Montreal to reconnect with my professional peers, learn from the many interesting presentations still "daring" to consider Climate Change impacts (despite of President Trump), and attend a masterclass on integrating Human Rights into impact assessment and E&S/IE/IMG Reviews. However, other important moments for me - an alum of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - included IAIA handing out awards to Dr. Bill Kennedy and Mark King, both my former EBRD colleagues. I learned a lot working with both of them as highlighted below.

Bill Kennedy received the 2017 IAIA Lifetime Achievement Award for his sustained and significant contribution to the EIA practice worldwide, and long-term dedication to IAIA. Bill is currently serving as the Director of the Office of Accountability at the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Previously, he was one of my colleagues and a mentor at the European Bank.

At the EBRD, I had an opportunity to work with Bill on numerous infrastructure projects ranging from roads to ports. Among other things, he taught me about the critical importance of meaningful stakeholder engagement in such developments. Later on, Bill and I had the opportunity to collaborate on numerous Prizma engagements ranging from sustainability reporting to monitoring of mining projects. Check out this Postcard from Burkina Faso by Bill Kennedy.

Mark King, now Chief Officer, Environmental & Social Standards at the World Bank, received the 2017 IAIA Global Award on behalf of the World Bank. The IAIA acknowledged the World Bank's new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF), which expands protections for people and the environment in Bank-financed investment projects. The new ESF is scheduled to go into effect in early 2018.

At the EBRD, Mark taught me about innovative approaches to dealing with financial intermediaries, ranging from banks to venture funds, including how to develop their risk management capacity (and that of their advisors) with the help of structured, grant-funded training programs, and continuously expanded tools.

The conference was attended by over 900 participants, from 120 nations, including current EBRD staff: Peter Moore and Pierre Biedermann (Senior Environmental Specialists, ESD) and David Simpson (Project Complaint Mechanism Officer).

Congratulations to both Bill and Mark!

Picture taken at IAIA17 in Montreal: From L to R: Mark King (World Bank, ex-EBRD), Mehrdad Nazari (Prizma, ex-EBRD), Peter Moore (EBRD), and Bill Kennedy (OPIC, ex-BRD)

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