Archived Webinar

GPSC Global Online Series. Launch Session: A Call for Action

"Building Back Better: Green, Healthy and Inclusive Cities"

The global online series titled 'Building Back Better: Green, Healthy and Inclusive Cities' is hosted by GPSC and presented in partnership with a wide range of the platform’s partners to support cities integrating initiatives into their pandemic recovery efforts. The series brings together the perspectives of cities, multilateral development banks, UN agencies, knowledge partners, and think tanks.

This launch session features World Bank and Global Environment Facility leadership setting the stage for the webinar series discussion, along with mayors reflecting on their cities’ varied experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their intended path toward a green recovery.

About the Presenters

Luiz Álvaro Salles

Deputy Mayor, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Luiz Álvaro Salles, Deputy Mayor of Sao Paulo graduated in Business Administration from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM) and completed his post-graduation in Strategic and Economic Business Management from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). In 2003, he joined the Press Official of the State of São Paulo where he was responsible for the Marketing area until 2011. In 2012, he joined the team of the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL), assuming the Management of Institutional Projects. In the years 2012 and 2014, he was also the Executive Manager of the São Paulo International Book Biennial and in 2015, he took over CBL's International Relations Management and became responsible for the Brazilian Publishers project, a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber and Apex-Brasil.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Mayor, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, has a commitment to transform the city of Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. The 3-year ‘Transform Freetown’ plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from tackling environmental degradation to facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector. She is a finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management. She is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College. 

Jan Vapaavuori

Mayor, Helsinki, Finland

Jan Vapaavuori is responsible for the strategy of the city that aims to set Helsinki as the “most functional city in the world” with a special focus on sustainable growth, digitalization, global problem solving, creativity and the best possible conditions for happy everyday city life. The strategy also defined Helsinki as a test-bed for start-ups and smart city development projects resulting in an increased global relevance for the city. He graduated with a Master of Law from the University of Helsinki and holds an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Hanken School of Economics.

Mari Pangestu

Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnership​s, World Bank

With over three decades of experience in academia, the government and in a think tank, Mari’s expertise as a strategic policymaker and thought leader is essential in furthering a unified approach with partners to meet common development goals. Meaningful stakeholder engagement, particularly with civil society, has been a key facet of Mari’s varied career. Mari obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from the Australian National University, and her doctorate in economics from the University of California at Davis.

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez

Chief Executive Officer, GEF, World Bank

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez is the CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, the largest multilateral trust fund supporting environmental action in developing countries, and the main financing mechanism for multiple United Nations environmental conventions. During his three terms as Minister of Environment and Energy in Costa Rica, he was a pioneer in the development of Payment for Ecosystem Services initiatives and strategies for forest restoration, ocean conservation, and de-carbonization. He is an internationally recognized expert on environmental policy, multilateral environmental negotiations, and financing for nature. Rodriguez has a legal degree from the Law School of the University of Costa Rica, and a master’s degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Juergen Voegele

Vice President, Sustainable Development, World Bank 

Juergen Voegele, oversees the work of Global Practices and thematic groups that bring together the best expertise from across the World Bank Group and from partners, to help countries tackle their most complex challenges in the area of sustainable development. The practices under his responsibility include Agriculture and Food; Climate Change; Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy; Environmental and Social Framework Implementation Unit; Social Development; Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land; and Water. He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and a Master’s in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. 

Sameh Wahba

Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank

The Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, which also covers territorial development, geospatial and results-based-financing issues, has a portfolio of close to $30 billion in commitments in investment projects, program-for-results, and development policy lending, and about 450 staff. He holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in urban planning from Harvard University, and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University. 

Questions Submitted


- Nov 21, 2022

Mahaman Mourtala

- Sep 15, 2021


- Aug 19, 2021


- May 28, 2021


- Jan 12, 2021


- Oct 30, 2020

Jared Troy

- Oct 29, 2020
Good stuff. Thank you.

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Oct 28, 2020
Great discussion

Mohammad Nadir

- Oct 27, 2020
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