First Round of SLOCAT-VREF Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport

In the first year of SLOCAT-VREF Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport programme from May to December 2019 the following 6 participants have been selected through a competitive programme:

Edna Odhiambo

Edna lectures on Climate Change and Land Use Law at the University of Nairobi. She is a climate change lawyer with expertise in climate policy, climate finance and clean energy. Her work focuses primarily on developing regulatory frameworks to promote climate action in cities especially in transportation. She has recent publications and several international presentations on climate governance and sustainable cities. Edna is a Fulbright scholar with a masters in Environment and Natural Resources Law from the University of Oregon and is currently in the early phases of pursuing a doctorate on sustainable mobility regulatory frameworks for African megacities.

Final product: Non-Motorized Transport in Nairobi


Hirotaka Koike

Hirotaka is a policy researcher at the City Taskforce of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). He coordinates initiatives of the Voluntary Local Reviews and the VLR Lab and, through this initiative, creates peer-learning mechanism and frameworks of local SDGs implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). He has intensively engaged in UN policy processes with the thematic focus on integrated territorial development, inclusive governance, and inequality. Prior to the current position, he was at the UN Major Group for Children and Youth as the Organising Partner (2017-8) and Global Focal Point for Habitat III (2016-18) among other roles.

Final product: An Introductory Guide to Advocacy for the Transport Sector in the Context of the SDGs


Seema Singh

Seema is a PhD Candidate in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University, USA. Her dissertation work aims to examine gender and urban transport linkages in India with the key intent of mainstreaming gender concerns in urban planning and policy making in developing country context. She is also interested in exploring the role new innovative forms of mobility services (like Uber) can play in closing the existing gap. Prior to beginning her PhD, Seema worked for over four years as a Research Associate at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a global policy think tank working on issues of sustainable urban development and urban transport globally. Seema also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Chandigarh College of Architecture, and a Masters in Infrastructure Planning from CEPT University, Ahmedabad (India).

Final product: Barriers to Women’s Physical Mobility – Case of Panchkula, India


Thomas van Laake

Thomas is a geographer and urbanist with Dutch roots, and specific interest in sustainable urban development in Latin America. He studied human geography (Utrecht) and urbanization and development (LSE), culminating in a master’s thesis research project in Ecuador. Over the past years, he has been based in Bogotá, working at Despacio, a Colombian non-profit research center focusing on sustainable mobility. Here, he has developed interests and skills working on urban cycling, tactical urbanism, road safety, and mass transit.

Final Product: Sustainable Transport for Human Development, Human Transport for Sustainable development


Xiomara Acevedo Navarro

Xiomara (Xiomy) is an Internationalist and a committed leader for environmental and climate justice in Colombia and around the world. Since age 15, she has been developing and creating spaces for community solutions to climate change in Barranquilla, Colombia. In 2012, she founded Barranquilla+20 a youth led collective organization that educate and empower children and youth as climate mobilizers. She also volunteered in Paraguay and works in Nariño, Colombia in climate change projects, policy and actions.

Final product: Gender, Mobility and Transport


Zahira Abounoas

Zahira is PhD student originally from Morocco. With a background in transport engineering, Zahira chose to be more specialized in Road Safety. She got a Master’s degree in Road Safety Management from the faculty of engineering of Saint Joseph University in Lebanon. Currently, she is preparing a PhD related to Road Safety Information Systems in the Arab region. Earlier, Zahira worked as a consultant in the fields of roads audit and data systems. She also got the opportunity to be familiarized with the international environment by integrating for internships many regional and international entities such as United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA), International Federation of Automobile (FIA), and the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport Development and Networks (IFSTTAR).

Final product: Transport in the Arab Region


Activities by the first round of SLOCAT-VREF Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport

Engagement at high-level events, building bridges with other communities 


Knowledge-driven policy advocacy


For more information on the programme, please visit the main page on the Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport or reach out to Nikola Medimorec (