The Secretariat supports the development and implementation of the Platform’s activities. Under the guidance of the Chair and the Steering Group, the Secretariat works with States, agencies and other stakeholders interested in implementing the recommendations of the Protection Agenda at national, regional and global levels. The Secretariat is funded by the generous contribution of Germany and is hosted by UNOPS in Geneva, Switzerland.
Meet the members of the Secretariat below and do not hesitate to get in touch!
Atle Solberg, Head of the Secretariat
Atle is a political scientist from Norway and he was the Head of the Nansen Initiative Secretariat, the predecessor of the Platform on Disaster Displacement, from 2012 to 2015. His background is primarily from international humanitarian action and from working in the context of displacement (both in conflict and natural hazard situations). He has worked for the UNHCR and UN OCHA in Switzerland, the Balkans and in Central America, and for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in the Balkans, Indonesia and Colombia. He has research and teaching experience from the University of Bergen on humanitarian issues as well as on the protection of unaccompanied minors. Atle has also undertaken evaluation of humanitarian aid and worked as a consultant both with a focus on Norway as well as on the post-conflict recovery situation in the Balkans and Central America.
Atle is the Head of the Secretariat of the Platform on Disaster Displacement.
Sarah Koeltzow, Policy Officer
Sarah has a Bachelor Degree in Public Management and Governance from Zeppelin University, Germany, and a Master Degree in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute, Geneva. Prior to joining PDD, she has worked as Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the German Mission to the UN in Geneva, also covering DRR, Internet Governance, Climate Change/Environment and Human Rights portfolios. Sarah speaks German, English, French and Spanish. She is passionate about local public administration and thrives on good food, good reads and good friends. Each year, as winter approaches, she considers the possibility of ‘climate-induced migration’ to warmer places.
Sarah is the Policy Officer of the Secretariat of the Platform on Disaster Displacement.
Timo Schmidt, Associate Policy Officer
Timo joined the PDD Secretariat in March 2021. Previously, he worked as Research Assistant with the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Europe, where he focused on European Union migration and asylum policies, migration forecasting, development finance and migration, and the linkages between human mobility and climate change. Timo has also worked in Jerusalem with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People as well as with various NGOs in both Europe and the Middle East. In his free time, he enjoys creatively exploring human mobility, both in writing and documentary filmmaking. He holds a Master’s degree in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Leiden University. Timo speaks German, English, some Arabic and increasingly French.
Timo is the Associate Policy Officer of the Secretariat of the Platform on Disaster Displacement.
Chirine El Labbane, Communication Officer
Chirine is a Swiss-Egyptian communication enthusiast who has been in Geneva since 2014 when she started working with the Nansen Initiative, predecessor of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). She spent most of her career in the world of strategic and visual communication as well as media, both at UN Headquarters in New York, Geneva and in the field. She also worked in the private sector in Switzerland, the USA and the UK. Before joining the Nansen Initiative, she worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. This experience made her understand first-hand the realities of disaster displacement and its devastating effects on people. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Communication Management and a SAWI and ISRP Postgraduate Federal degree in public relations and events.
Chirine is the part time Communication Officer of the PDD Secretariat. When not at work, she can be found scuba diving underwater, taking a walk in the mountains, around a table enjoying good food, or having fun with her family.
Juan Carlos Méndez, PDD Regional Adviser in Costa Rica
Juan Carlos holds a BA in International Relations, a postgraduate degree in Project Management and a MA in Human Rights from the National University of Costa Rica, where he has taught courses on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, among others. Before joining the Platform on Disaster Displacement, Juan Carlos worked for the Government of Costa Rica for several years. He has also been a Consultant for organizations such as the Inter American Institute of Human Rights.
Since 2014 Juan Carlos has been seconded by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to the Government of Costa Rica in the National Agency for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response (CNE) as a Regional Adviser to both, the former Nansen Initiative and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.
Alisi Pulini Vosalevu, PDD Regional Adviser in the Pacific
Alisi has a Bachelor Degree in Science from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji, and a Master Degree in Climate Change from the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Prior to joining PDD, she has worked as Climate Change Officer at the Climate Change Division of the Government of Fiji for several years, covering DRR, Climate Change and Environment portfolios. When not working, she loves reading, spending quality time with her family as well as being close to nature.
Alisi is the Regional Adviser of the Platform on Disaster Displacement in the Pacific.
Erick Mutshayani, Administration Officer
Erick Mutshayani graduated with a BA Honours in English and Communications from Midlands State University, Zimbabwe, and an MA in International Development from the University of Sheffield, UK. Prior to joining the Platform, Erick worked with several NGOs in communication, research, and administrative capacities in South Africa, Tanzania and the United Kingdom. Before joining the Platform as an Administrative Officer, Erick completed two internships with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the Platform on Disaster Displacement in Geneva as a Humanitarian Affairs Intern and Policy and Communications Intern. Erick speaks English and a variety of local languages from Southern Africa (Shona, Ndebele, Nyanja, Tonga and Zulu), and he is currently learning French. He enjoys being in multi-cultural multi-lingual settings, travelling and has a strong interest in humanitarian affairs.
Florence Geoffroy, PDD Liaison Officer at UNHCR
Florence joined UNHCR in 2019 to work as an Associate Liaison Officer on Climate Change and Disaster Displacement within the Division of International Protection. Prior to that, she worked as a Humanitarian Attaché at the Permanent Mission of France to the UN in Geneva, focusing on the follow-up to the World Humanitarian Summit, including the processes of the two Global Compacts on Refugees and Migrants, and the PDD. She has also worked on Energy and Environment in the think tank Asia Centre, on Conflict Prevention at CDNH in Yangon, on the SDGs at the UN in New York, on DRR at the French Ministry of Defense and on Refugee issues in an NGO in Paris. She contributed to the publication of several articles and research reports. Florence holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Sciences Po Toulouse and INALCO, she speaks French, English, Chinese and Italian.
Florence is the PDD Liaison Officer on Climate Change and Disaster Displacement at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Alice Baillat, PDD Liaison Officer at IOM
Alice Baillat has recently joined the Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Division at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva to serve as the liaison officer with the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). Funded by France, her position is part of the French commitment towards PDD, especially in the context of the French Chairmanship of the Steering Group. Alice has nearly ten years of research experience on climate change-related migration as well as on the security dimensions of climate change. Alice holds a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from Sciences Po in Paris. Her PhD thesis focused on the climate diplomacy of Bangladesh, a country in which she has stayed several times and that she continues to explore.