CIPS CONNECTIONSPodcast/Video Interviews by Stephen Ibaraki
Chat with David E. Jensen: Coordinator of the Digital Transformation Task Force at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Kathryn Sforcina: Serial Entrepreneur, C-level executive, Advisor
This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with David E. Jensen and Kathryn Sforcina.
David Jensen is the coordinator of the Digital Transformation Task Force at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In this capacity, he is responsible for developing the new digital transformation strategy and for helping colleagues adopt new digital technologies, mindsets and business processes. The goal of the new strategy is to integrate environmental sustainability metrics, values and goals directly into the platforms, algorithms and apps of the digital economy to shift incentives and behaviors. UNEP will harness data and digital technologies to accelerate action and amplify human agency to achieve our climate, nature, and pollution action goals.
Within the broader UN system, David is currently serving as UNEP's representative in the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) as part of the UN Secretary General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. David has been advising the UN Science Policy Business Forum on digitalizing sustainability since 2018 and was the co-author of a flagship discussion paper entitled The Case for a Digital Ecosystem for the Environment. He also co-wrote a series of Medium articles on a Digital Ecosystem for the Planet (1, 2, 3) as well as a paper on Environmental Digital Public Goods. Within the digital space, David has co-founded numerous platforms including CODES, MapX, Earthschool, the UN Biodiversity Lab, and the Environmental Peacebuilding Platform.
Prior to this role, David was the Head of Policy and Innovation at the Crisis Management Branch of UNEP. Since 2009, David has been a thought leader in a global effort to establish a new multidisciplinary field of environmental peacebuilding. This field seeks to use our shared dependence on natural resources and ecosystem services as a platform for cooperation and confidence building among divided communities and countries. David was one of the core faculty members of the Massive Open Online Course on Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace – the most popular course offered by the SDG Academy with over 20,000 enrollments. David is also a founding board member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association and has appeared on TEDx in the talk: Natural resources and peacebuilding: is the United Nations united?
David has a number of significant publications in the environmental peacebuilding field. He was the coordinator and/or co-author of six flagship policy reports on risks and opportunities from natural resources across the conflict lifecycle. He is also a series co-editor of a six-volume set of books on post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resource management, with 150 chapters from 225 authors published by Routledge. The cases are open source and can be freely downloaded. David has worked with and advised all of the key peace and security institutions of the UN, including the peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and mediation communities, as well as UN country teams, Resident Coordinators and Special Representatives of the Secretary General. A summary of his publications is available here.
David holds an MSc in Biology from Oxford University (UK) and an undergraduate degree in Geography and Political Science from the University of Victoria (Canada). He is an Alumnus of the Peace Mediation Platform (Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) and a Beahrs' Environmental Leadership Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He was also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP). He is based in Geneva, Switzerland and is the proud father of four children.
Kathryn Sforcina has almost 20 years experience as a serial entrepreneur, c-level executive and advisor having previously founded four of her own ventures, in as many different industries; 3 of which grew into almost all global regions.
Kathryn has then spent the past 5 years exploring the intersection of global grand challenges and emergent technologies. Understanding the role and applications of emergent tech in making a more conscious, sustainable planet is now at the core of her portfolio career.
Kathryn is presently the Head of Strategy (Global) at IV.AI where one of her main focusses is on aligning the company's direction and offering with sustainability outcomes. This shift has seen their organisation begin applying their leading edge AI/NLP social engineering technologies to support enterprise business in communicating to consumers their sustainability value proposition and progress towards their ESG goals as well as measuring the true impact of their sustainability initiatives with respect to changes in consumer behaviour and social sentiment. IV have also begun bridging the gap on measuring how the individual and collective actions / outcomes of such organisations relate back to the progress toward, and impact upon, the broader global challenges we face and the SDGs.
Kathryn is also a non-executive director and board member at Farmbot Monitoring Solutions, a remote sensor/SaaS agtech company that is committed to supporting sustainable outcomes for the agriculture industry by help farmers and ranchers manage and monitor their water resources.
Kathryn is a co-Chair for the Robotics Australia Automation and Robotics Policy Framework for Risk Mitigation and Response, a Global Faculty Member of Singularity University and serves as a Senior Expert on a number of initiatives for various UN agencies including UNFCCC, UNEP, UN IGF and UNDRR. Recently, she has also stepped into the role as a co-facilitator for the Best Practices Work-stream for the Governance of Environmental Data - an initiative under the UN Internet Governance Framework (IGF) Policy Network for Environment and Digital (PNE).
Kathryn is also in the process of writing a book titled: Digitalizing Sustainability, with her co-author, David Jensen (Head of Digital Transformation Taskforce at UNEP). The book is due for release in November 2021 through Routledge Publishing Group.
In her spare time, Kathryn can be found exploring the connection between the journey of self, soul and indigenous culture through tribal ritual and council experience as well as what it truly means to 'be on country'.
TO WATCH THE VIDEO INTERVIEW, CLICK ON THIS MP4 file link