Speakers 22.9.2020


Felipe González Márquez is one of the key political figures in the history of Spain in the second half of the twentieth century. A major figure in the democratic transition process, he was the third President of the Government of Spain from the restoration at the end of the 1970s and is the longest standing holder of the post of president, covering four parliaments and a total of thirteen and a half years. The modernisation of Spain and its full integration into the European concert took place during his years in government between 1982 and 1996. Although he is now retired from politics, the former president continues to be active in various areas of Europe and Latin America.

Beate Kasch is the current State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). After her graduation as an Agricultural Engineer in Gießen (1985) she started working as a consultant for bilateral development cooperation. Since 1992 Beate Kasch has served the BMEL in a wide range of jobs, including in the areas of development policy, economic relations with developing countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania, organisation of the subordinate authorities, free trade agreement with Central and Eastern Europe, and agricultural markets. In 2010, she took her first leading position as Head of the Division for Organisation at the BMEL. After her role as Director for Food and Nutrition Policy at the BMEL from 2017-2019, she held the position of Director-General for EU Affairs, International Cooperation and Fisheries.

Marc Palahí is the Director of the European Forest Institute and responsible for leading the organisation towards an acknowledged pan-European science-policy platform. Previously he led EFI’s policy support activities and during this time was instrumental in launching ThinkForest, a European high-level science forum on the future of forests. He has also worked as Head of EFI’s Mediterranean Facility, EFIMED. He has a PhD in forestry and economics and an MSc in forestry engineering.
Göran Persson served as Prime Minister of Sweden from 1996 to 2006 and was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1996 to 2007. Since leaving office, Mr Persson has been a consultant for the Stockholm-based PR firm JKL. He is also a Member of the Board of the World Resources Institute, and the President of the European high-level forum on the future of forests, ThinkForest, facilitated by EFI.  
Janez Potočnik is the current ThinkForest president. He is also Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by UNEP, Chairman of the Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre's Advisory Council. After a successful career in Slovenia as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research, Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, he was appointed Head of Negotiating Team for the Accession of Slovenia to the EU (1998). He was also Director of Government Office for European Affairs (2000), Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister (2001) and Minister responsible for European Affairs (2002). In 2004 he joined the European Commission, first as shadow Commissioner for Enlargement, then as Commissioner responsible for Science and Research, and from 2010-2014 as Commissioner for Environment.

Professor Eeva Primmer is the Research Director of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), a multidisciplinary research and expert institute. She is a forester, with a PhD in agriculture and forestry and is Adjunct Professor in environmental policy at the University of Helsinki. As a researcher, she has studied policy instruments and implementation, institutions and governance of ecosystem services, biodiversity, forests, natural resources, energy and sustainable development. Her research work has been carried out in projects ranging from short evaluations to multi-year large collaborations, financed by the European Union, the Academy of Finland and Finnish ministries. She is a member of the United Nations International Resources Panel (UN-IRP) and the Finnish Forest Council.

MEP Petri Sarvamaa is a former journalist and a Finnish MEP since 2013. He is currently a full member of the AGRI Committee and member and Vice-Coordinator of the EPP Group in CONT committee. He also holds the position of Vice-President in the EPP's internal Working Group on Budget and Structural Policies. He is the rapporteur for the European Parliament's Own Initiative Report on the EU Forest Strategy post-2020.

Bernhard Wolfslehner is Research Network Coordinator of EFI’s Forest Policy Research Network. Previously he has worked as a researcher at the Institute of Silviculture, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna. He was also an advisor for the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests (MCPFE), as well as the Austrian Forest Dialogue. His expertise includes sustainable forest management, criteria and indicators, non-timber forest products and services, biological diversity and multi-criteria decision support.