University of Malta

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Dr Awni Behnam (Geneva)

Honorary President of the International Ocean Institute

awnibenhamDr Awni Behnam began his early public schooling and cadetship in the United Kingdom, 1953-1959. He served as an Officer in the Navy, 1962-1969 and held executive posts in the Shipping Administration in Iraq, 1969-1971.

He holds a first degree in Business Administration, a Masters in Development Economics and in 1976 obtained a Doctorate from the University of Wales where he lectured until 1977 in the Department of Maritime Studies having joined as a member of the Academic Staff in 1972.

He joined the United Nations at UNCTAD, Geneva, in 1977, as Economic Affairs Officer. He became Assistant to Director in the Shipping Division of UNCTAD before assuming responsibility as the Chief of Liaison with Developing Countries (Group of 77) for the Secretary-General of UNCTAD. 

Having had a distinguished career with UNCTAD, on leaving the UN, he was elected President of the International Ocean Institute (IOI), headquartered in Malta, with responsibility for 26 (IOI) Operational Centres worldwide. Dr. Behnam assumed full time responsibility for leading the Organisation, presiding and directing its flagship conferences, ‘Pacem in Maribus’. He promoted and instituted the first Youth Ocean Arts exhibitions in the Ukraine and Malta. As Chairman of the IOI Board of Governors, he has gained major experience in financial and budget programming and management of a civil society organisation and developed well recognised capacity for outreach and advocacy skills.

He is member of a number of Professional Societies and is an awardee of the Life Achievement Award from the ILD (Canada). Recipient of the General Assembly South – South Cooperation Day Award for South -South Solidarity on behalf of IOI work in India on the Tsunami (December 2007). He was presented by the then President of Malta, HE Dr Edward Fenech Adami with the Fondation de Malte Gold Cross Medal for outstanding leadership on 5 November 2007.

Dr. Behnam has published widely. His most recent publications are Twilight of Flag States Control, Unfulfilled Promises of the Seventies, Ocean Year Book (Chicago University Press). Developing Countries in the Group of 77, a journey in Multilateral Diplomacy, Towards World Constitutionalism (Netherlands), Whither to IOI and Achieving the MDGs – a Stake Holder’s Contribution (OYB, Canada).


Dr Alessio Satta (Sardinia)

Mediterranean Sea and Coast Foundation (MedSea)

asattaDr Alessio Satta is an environmental planner and engineer who has more than 15 years’ experience in environmental planning and engineering, including 10 years providing International Development Assistance to countries in the Mediterranean region. Presently, Alessio is Project Officer at the Joint Technical Secretariat of The European Neighbourhood Instrument for Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean (ENPI CBCMED).

He is also an ‘Acclimatise Associate’ which is a specialist consulting, communications and digital application company providing world-class expertise in Climate Change adaptation and Risk Management.

He has considerable experience of United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and EU policies, projects and funding mechanisms. He is currently involved in the preparation of the SCP Action Plan for the Mediterranean and has previously been involved in programmes such as UNEP DTIE, PAP/RAC, SCP/RAC and Blue Plan/RAC of the Mediterranean Action Plan. 

As policy advisor, Alessio has provided technical assistance to institutions engaged in national and international projects in countries including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Albania and Croatia. He is well versed in the UNEP/MAP Convention Policy and Governance frameworks.

From 2008 to 2014, he was Executive Director of the Sardinian Coastal Management agency where he oversaw the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and sustainable development policies for beach area management.

A specialist engineer in groundwater management, Alessio obtained his undergraduate degree from Imperial College London. He holds a postgraduate degree in Environmental Engineering Management from the École des Mines de Paris and a European Ph.D. in Climate Change Science and Management from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. His Doctoral research focused on climate risk assessment to coastal regions.

Alessio is an experienced trainer and workshop facilitator and is an excellent oral and written communicator both in English and French. 


Nawel Khelil (Algeria)

Nawel KHELIL is an Algerian young researcher in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), at the National School of Marine Science and Coastal Management (ENSSMAL – Algeria), and working with the European Institute of Marine Science (IUEM- France). 

She is involved in Ocean and Coastal Governance and its impact on development of the coastal zone. She is currently working on the assessment of the process of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Algerian coast, which she has been engaged in since 2000. Her aim is to understand the various impacts that public action has on the evolution of the coastal zone and vice versa.  Another important issue is to understand the effect on the different stakeholders into the process. 

She is also interested in the French context of coastal management, to understand the various mechanisms which are in place and facilitates the integration, the coordination in the process of ICZM between the two cases and to suggest better practices.

Last Updated: 22 August 2017

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