Plenary Speakers

Finance and Investment

Dr. German Velasquez (Jerry) is the Director of GCF's Mitigation and Adaptation Division. He has worked for various United Nations departments on environmental conventions and governance, as well as on disaster vulnerability and risk, since 1994. With the UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) he supported the development of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Jerry previously led the largest association of cities promoting resilience – the UN Making Cities Resilient Campaign – with more than 3,600 members globally. With UN Environment (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), he helped countries to implement multilateral agreements, in particular the Rio Conventions. Jerry received a Master and Doctor of Engineering degree in Hydrology and Water Resources from Nagoya University (Japan).

Hon. German Velasquez (Jerry)

Chizuru Aoki is the Lead Environmental Specialist. She heads GEF’s strategy and representation in multiple global environmental agreements for which the GEF serves as the financial mechanism, and leads GEF’s engagement with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She also manages the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), and the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) Trust Fund.

Chizuru joined the GEF in 2010 as Senior Technology Transfer Officer and served as the Coordinator of the Climate Change Mitigation Focal Area since 2011. Prior to joining the GEF in 2010, she was Senior Programme Officer at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where she coordinated one of the largest UN-led environmental interventions in Iraq to facilitate ecosystem management and technology transfer. She was also a Fulbright Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), receiving her Ph.D. in Technology, Management, and Policy in 2002. Earlier in her career, she managed a program to promote cleaner production in developing countries. Chizuru holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Rice University and an MS in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a citizen of Japan. 

Hon. Chizuru Aoki

Cedric is based in Singapore where he supports the development of the ASEAN region for the Climate Bonds Initiative, working with various stakeholders to see green bond markets take shape in South-East Asia. With more than 20 years of experience in the fund management industry with more than 10 years at top-ranking investment banking firms (JP Morgan, Citi, and Credit Suisse), Cedric has managed fixed income portfolios and analyzed corporate bonds for most of his career prior to working for Climate Bonds Initiative. Most recently he was Head of Emerging Markets Corporate Credit Research at an independent credit research company, managing teams of analysts and acting as a principal of small investment teams in various capacities.

He earned a Business Degree from EM Lyon in France, including a one-year exchange program at Waseda University in Tokyo, a Master’s in Finance from the London Business School, and he is currently enrolled in the joint Executive MBA program of INSEAD in Singapore and Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is a CFA charter holder and member of the CFA Society in Singapore.

Since relocating to Asia six years ago, he has been a consultant for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (including Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines) on Green Finance.

Hon. Cedric Rimaud

Carol Jeppesen is Head of US, Signatory Relations for the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and is responsible for PRI’s largest institutional investor market. PRI is recognized as the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment, supporting a global network of more than 4,000 investor signatories, representing over $100 trillion in AUM, with the incorporation of ESG factors into investment decision making and stewardship. Carol has been influential in the growth of RI & ESG integration practices in the US over the past 5 years. She joined PRI in 2015 to establish the organization’s first US office. Since that time, PRI’s US presence has more than quadrupled to over 800 signatories, including public and corporate pension funds, state and municipal treasuries, educational endowments, foundations, healthcare systems, investment managers, consultants, and data providers, representing approximately 20% of PRI's signatory base and close to 50% of PRI's AUM, globally. Additionally, PRI has expanded its US presence to include professionals in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Carol has professional experience across investment banking, private equity, and asset management. She has worked closely with CIOs, ESG teams, Investment Boards, and Trustees at many of the world’s largest investors to guide them on the development of their ESG programs. Carol draws from her extensive analytical experience and knowledge of investment risk and materiality to educate investors on how ESG can enhance traditional investment approaches to improve risk-adjusted returns. Carol is a frequent speaker at investment conferences globally including those organized by the CFA Institute, CAIA, the World Bank/ IMF, and the United Nations as well as for media outlets such as Institutional Investor, Bloomberg, Pensions & Investments, and Responsible Investor Magazines in addition to investor-organized events. Carol is passionate about educating future generations of investors and has been a guest speaker on ESG and responsible investment at many leading universities including U Penn, Yale, Columbia, and Brown.
Carol holds BS and BA degrees, cum laude in Finance and Economics from Boston University as well as an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Carol was an inaugural graduate of the Sustainability Leadership Forum at Yale University in 2016 and holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation. In addition, Carol completed musical training at the Juilliard School.

Hon. Carol Jeppesen

Senior Vice President and Head Financial Institutions Group and Public Sector HSBC

Mr. Jaime Mendejar

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