TOWARDS THE UN OCEAN
CONFERENCE 2025

science, policy & blue economy, a common ambition for the UAE, France, and Costa Rica

OPENING SPEAKERS

HE Francisco J. Chacón Hernández

HE Francisco J. Chacón Hernández is the Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica to the UAE. Born in San José, Costa Rica on July 8th, 1967. Studied at the Costa Rican University General Studies in Collective Communication Sciences. Then he did his bachelor degree in International Relations at the Autonomous University of Central America in San José, Costa Rica. He obtained his Master of Arts degree in International Politics at the University of Paris IX in Brussels, Belgium.

He has been the Chief of Cabinet to the Deputy Foreign and Worship Minister, Professor of International Relations, Stage at the European Parliament/Office of Dr. Otto von Habsburg, Minister-Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the Organization of America States, at the Embassy of Costa Rica to the Kingdom of Belgium, at the Embassy of Costa Rica to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and at the mission of Costa Rica to the European Union.

He has been Co-chairman of the Biregional Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism European Union-Latin American and the Caribbean on anti-drugs traffic policy. He was a member of the Political Dialogue negotiations team/Association Agreement between the European Union and Central America. He was Minister- Counsellor, and Consul-General at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Canada, for a period of time he was Charge des Affairs a.i. at this Embassy.

Since 2016 he has been honored to be Ambassador in Special Mission to the Gulf The Cooperation Council States. Before being appointed he was the Deputy Director- General of Foreign Policy at the Foreign and Worship Ministry. Since June 2017 he has been appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Arab Emirates. The Ambassador speaks fluent English and French; Spanish being his mother tongue. He enjoins reading politics and social books also he enjoins to do charitable work. He is very interested in cancer research and cancer relieve projects. His hobbies are swimming and watching football.

HE Nicolas Niemtchinow

HE Nicolas Niemtchinow is the Ambassador of France to the UAE. Former student of the National School of Administration (ENA), the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, HE Nicolas Niemtchinow has held various positions at the Ministry of Defense, as well as within the French embassies in Russia and Jordan.

He has also served as ambassador, permanent representative of France to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and Deputy Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Prof Nathalie Martial-Braz

Nathalie Martial-Braz is the Vice Chancellor of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. She has been a professor of private law and agrégé des Universités since 2011. She is an honorary member of the Institut Universitaire de France. She wrote her doctoral thesis on Security Interest on intellectual property rights, which was published in 2007 by PUF Aix-Marseilles. She is the author of numerous publications on digital law (Dalloz, JCP, Dalloz IP/IT, RDBF). She is also co-author of the book 'Droit Français des données à caractère personnel' (French Data protection Law) published in January 2020 by Dalloz. Nathalie Martial-Braz is also scientific co-director of the journal Communication Commerce électronique (Lexis-Nexis).

She has been working at University Paris Cité since 2014 and heads the digital department of the Centre de droit des affaires et de gestion de l'Université de Paris (CEDAG), of which she was elected director in November 2022 for the next term 2024-2028. Since September 2021, she has been delegated to Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

She has been co-director of the Intellectual and Digital Property Department of Trans Europe Experts since its creation in 2009.

In 2020, Nathalie Martial-Braz founded and co-directed at University Paris Cité with Professor Anne Debet, Professor of Private Law and member of the CNIL, the first Master's degree exclusively dedicated to Data Protection Law.

Nathalie Martial-Braz is regularly interviewed by the public institutions in charge of digital issues, thanks to her recognised expertise in financial and securities law, as well as in intellectual property and digital law, and particularly in the area of data protection law. Her work on the 'uberisation' and 'platformisation' of society, on social networks, on the digital economy in general such as fintechs and cryptoassets, and on the economics of health data, all of which has been published, has given rise to expert missions for the European Parliament, the French Council of State, the French Ministry of Health, the UNCITRAL and members of French or European Parliament responsible for reporting on these subjects.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Hiba Al Shehhi

Hiba is the Director of Biodiversity at the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment. She is an ecologist and a national speaker at many multilateral biodiversity-related conventions. She holds a Master’s in Ecology, specialising in insect studies. As a Scuba diver, she spends her time surrounded by nature volunteering and assisting with different studies and awareness-raising activities.

Hiba has many years of experience working in the hospitality industry and the Government of the UAE. She was awarded the His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for the best youth in the federal government of the UAE for her contribution and determination to conserve biodiversity.

HE Ahmed Abdulmuttaleb Baharoon

Ahmed Baharoon has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and is the Executive Director of Environmental Information Science & Outreach Management sector (EISOM) at the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD).

For over a decade, he has managed environmental data & information, science, outreach, and education within EAD. Ahmed leads a team of professionals identifying environmental research knowledge gaps, managing extensive data collected by EAD’s field scientists, and developing and disseminating a range of scientifically credible environmental information products to stakeholders, enabling them to make better-informed decisions.

He is currently leading the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Environmental Research Network (ADERN) which is the first formal network bringing academics and researchers together to focus on addressing the environmental research priorities of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

In addition to his role as Executive Director, he is also Acting Director of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), responsible for a wide range of international scientific collaborations, including studies on Blue Carbon, Climate Change, biodiversity and The President of EAD Human Recourses Committee.

Before his appointment as Executive Director, Ahmed was the Head of Communications at the Emirates Falconers Club, Abu Dhabi, where he was involved in initiatives on falcon migration, breeding, and traditional hunting activities.

He is a Board Member of Arabian Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences (ACCESS), New York University Abu Dhabi.

PANELISTS

Ashok Adicéam

Ashok Adicéam works at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs with Ambassador Olivier Poivre d'Arvor where he is in charge of international mobilization for the Ocean stakeholders since October 2021.

He was the Ambassador's Deputy for the organization of the One Ocean Summit (Brest, February 2022), he was then entrusted with the mission of prefiguring the Ocean Conference (Nice, June 2025).

For half of his career, he has been in office as director of French Institutes abroad (United States, United Kingdom, India, Nigeria) and for the other half, at the head of private philanthropic foundations where he pursued his engagement for culture on four continents, especially in the cities of Shanghai, New Delhi and Venice.

Since thirty years, as director of leading international organisations and organizer of world-class public events, he strives to implement sustainable transformative policies and actions in the fields of education, culture, science and arts.

He is a member of the organizing committee of the Barcelona Conference on the Decade of the Ocean (April 2024), the Forum on Blue Economy and Finance in Monaco (chaired by Pascal Lamy, in June 2025) and the Summit of Coastal Cities and Regions on the Rise of the Oceans (chaired by Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice).

Marina Antonopoulou

Marina Antonopoulou is the Senior Director of Climate Change and Nature Conservation at Emirates Nature-WWF.

She leads a multi-disciplinary team of experts and oversees a diverse portfolio of projects that includes corporate engagement on climate action, place-based biodiversity conservation that brings multiple socio-economic benefits, as well as working with local communities and entrepreneurs to build bankable nature-based solutions.

With over 18 years of experience in nature conservation and sustainability Marina has led the development of strategic plans for Emirates Nature-WWF, provided expert advice to UAE climate and biodiversity policies and plans, as well as successfully rolled out priority conservation projects.

She has forged strong partnerships with key stakeholders in the UAE and the wider region including public and private sector, academia and NGOs. Marina is also an active member of WWF’s global Sustainable Blue Economy and Ocean-Climate Working Groups.

Previously, Marina led the implementation of environmental impact assessments and sustainability strategies for numerous private development projects in the MENA region working for private consultancy firms.

She holds an Environmental Science Masters’ Degree with the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow; an Executive Certificate in Sustainable Finance with the London Institute of Banking and Finance and ADGMA; and a Diploma in International Oceans Law and Policy with the Rhodes Academy of University of Virginia.

Stéphanie Ockenden

Stephanie is Deputy Head of the Secretariat for the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, based at the World Resources Institute.

In this role, Stephanie spearheads the activities of the ‘Ocean Panel’ - a unique global initiative of now 18 serving world leaders, representing 50% of global coastlines and 45% of the world’s EEZ, who are collectively working to build momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy.

A key focus for the Ocean Panel is to promote knowledge-based decision making and solutions for the ocean that benefit people, nature and the economy.

Stephanie is a passionate environmental professional and strategic analytical leader with over 18 years of experience in roles across the UK Civil Service and internationally.

Building on her degrees in Economics and Development, Stephanie thrives on working at the policy to evidence interface, with skills in policy, strategy and negotiations, across domestic and international environmental policy, including on ocean, climate change, and environmental finance.

Admiral Christophe Prazuck

Admiral (2S) Christophe Prazuck is the current Director of the Ocean Institute at Sorbonne University Alliance in Paris.

He was Chief of the French Navy from 2016 to 2020, from 2012 to 2016 Vice-admiral and HR director for the French navy and Rear-admiral chief of the French naval special forces in Lorient from 2010 to 2012.

Admiral Christophe Prazuck has a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the NPGS in Monterey (USA).

Prof Tarik Meziane

Tarik Meziane is a professor at the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) in Paris France.

He is the director of BOREA’s research center (95 researchers, engineers and technicians) dedicated to study aquatic organisms and ecosystems.

BOREA is sponsored by several French institutions including MNHN, CNRS and Sorbonne University.

He has a strong experience in food web ecology of wetlands and in OM qualitative characterization of different habitats (coastal, tropical, polar, rivers and lakes). More recently he launched several studies on blue carbon cycle mainly in mangrove ecosystems.

Prof Jean-Luc Jung

JLJ is a full professor at the French “Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle”. He is head of the Dinard’s marine station. He studies the diversity of mobile marine (mega) fauna using molecular approaches, with a particular but not exclusive focus on mammals.

He contributes to the development and use of molecular tools for species identification and recognition, and uses molecular ecology and population genetics approaches to characterize intraspecific genetic groups, to explain their origin(s) and identify their possible variations, particularly those induced by behaviors and knowledge specific to certain social groups and/or by environmental changes.

The primary aim of his work is fundamental understanding. In addition, when applied to marine conservation, it is also of great interest in terms of knowledge and monitoring of biodiversity, particularly with regard to the impact of environmental changes of anthropogenic origin on marine fauna.

For several years, he has been optimizing taxonomic assignments of animal species based on molecular data ("DNA barcode" approaches in particular), and contributing to the implementation of approaches for studying the diversity of mobile marine fauna based on environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses.

Since 2019, in collaboration with the OFB, he has led campaigns to analyze marine macrofauna using eDNA in marine protected areas in the Iroise Sea and the French West Indies.

Prof Olivier Adam

Olivier Adam is a full professor at Sorbonne University, Paris (France). Expert in bioacoustics, he studies sounds emitted by cetaceans to describe their populations and their societies.

He is currently working on 3 scientific projects: interactions between mothers and calves in humpback whales, social behaviors in sperm whales and analysis of underwater soundscapes (link).

He is the author of more than 60 scientific articles. He is the co-organizer of international conferences, including the DCLDE workshop (link) and the HWWC congress (link).

During 2021-22, he organized 3 webinars, on the noise pollution in the oceans (link), on the blue economy (link), and about the ethics for the Oceans (link).

He is involved in scientific mediation, with interviews in newspapers, tv, radio (link) and exhibitions. He was the curator of the whale exhibition, named Baleinopolis, that held at the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris, France (link), of the photo exhibition called L’Océan c’est Vivant ! that was shown in Paris in 2022 and member of the scientific committee of the exhibition Musicanimale at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2022-23 (link).

Hervé Claustre

Hervé Claustre is a senior CNRS research scientist whose main research activities rely on the development interdisciplinary approaches at the frontiers of marine biology, chemistry and optics for the study and understanding of biogeochemical processes responsible of the variability of stocks and fluxes of matter in the upper ocean.

For more than 15 years, a large part of his effort is dedicated to developing new observational techniques based on robots, especially profiling floats.

In this context, he is co-chairing the international BGC-Argo program and has been awarded two prestigious European Research Council grants dedicated to advance technology and science related to BGC-Argo.

Hervé Claustre has authored or co-authored > 190 publications.

Dr Beatriz Garcia

Beatriz Garcia holds a degree in Law from the University of Brasilia (Brazil) and a Ph.D. in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (Switzerland).

She worked in the Climate Change and Sustainable Development branch of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, managing climate and biodiversity projects.

She held positions as an advisor at government agencies in Brazil and organizations, such as the German Technical Cooperation, the Earth Council Geneva, and United Nations’ agencies.

She was a project manager for Forests Alive Carbon & Climate Solutions, a Sydney-based company specializing in carbon markets.

Beatriz is the author of the book 'The Amazon from an International Law Perspective' published by Cambridge University Press. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, including Oxford’s Journal of Environmental Law, Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law, Ecosystem Services, as well as book chapters and technical reports for UN agencies and environmental NGOs.

She has developed a comparative law study on biosphere reserve zonation in the Asia Pacific region funded by UNESCO (2018-2019).

Beatriz has been part of a multi-stakeholder research project on tropical primary forests and climate change led by Griffith Climate Action Beacon.

In 2023, Beatriz has co-authored a report, with the Brazilian Law firm Hernandez Lerner & Miranda, funded by the Climate and Land Use Alliance, on collective-use areas and the voluntary carbon market in the Brazilian Amazon.

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