Board of Trustees
DR tony RIBBINK
Dr Ribbink is the founding trustee of Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) and is currently the CEO and the director of the African Marine Waste Network, currently SST’s primary project. Dr Ribbink developed and led the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme, taking it to the NEPAD Flagship Status before assuming leadership for SST. Prior to leading the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Project, Dr Ribbink managed the World Bank-supervised Lake Malawi/Niassa SADC/GEF Biodiversity Conservation Programme, where he was responsible for the development of a scientific, socio-economic and conservation strategy for Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania in managing the lake and its catchment. Prior to that Dr Ribbink was Deputy Director and then Acting Director of the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity
DR FREDERICK OOSTHUIZEN
Her passion for entrepreneurship and SMMEs has been the defining feature of her 16-year legacy in the development arena which includes business incubation, ecosystems development, and innovation, ICT for development and skills & education support initiatives. Patricia is a thought leader in this arena having contributed to various national and provisional policy formulation and strategy development for SMME Development.
Executive Secretary of the UN Environment – Abidjan Convention
Abou Bamba is the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West, Central and Southern African Region. Abou Bamba holds an undergraduate degree in Port and Maritime Administration, a Master’s of Science in Economics and Management (maj: integrated oceans management) from the University Quebec at Rimouski, Canada, a degree in Sustainable Management of the Environment at the University of California at Berkeley, United States, and several certificates in political economy of the environment from the World Bank Economic Development Institute, Washington D.C. He sits on several international and regional committees on environmental related issues and has an interest for blue economy in the Africa region.
Regional Programme Coordinator, Southern Africa UNEP
Ms. Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, Head of the UN Environment Programme Office in South Africa, is an Economist/Urban and Regional Planner with over twenty-five years of progressive work experience in international sustainable development. During the last 21 years, Cecilia has worked with United Nations, building on her leadership and managerial capacity in programme development, management and inter agency cooperation.
CEO at PET Recycling Company
Currently the CEO of PETCO, Cheri Scholtz has been involved with the organisation since its incorporation in 2004, and has seen it grow from a small industry-based initiative to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development and extended producer responsibility, to a leading example in its field globally. Cheri represents the PET sector on the Board of Packaging South Africa together with colleagues from all the packaging streams including glass, paper, cans, cartons and other polymers and she has served on the Plastics|SA Sustainability Council as its first Chair. Cheri also represents the PET industry at the European Recycling and Recovery Organisation (EPRO) of which PETCO is an affiliate member, at the Global Alliance for Recycling and Sustainable Development (GARSD) and most recently on the Global Product Stewardship Council Advisory Group.
Sustainability Director, Plastics|SA
Douw Steyn joined the Plastics Federation of SA, as an Environmental Officer in June 1997, after working for the Population Development Program (PDP) in Kwazulu Natal for 12 years, where he was responsible for Population Education, Environment and Industry liaison. Douw is an active member of various waste management and environmental organisations such as the Global Plastics Alliance, UN Ad Hoc Expert Group on Marine and Micro Plastics, the Electronic Waste Association of SA, Chairman of the National Recycling Forum SA (till 2018) and founder member of various organisations and campaigns such as the Marine and Coastal Educators Forum, the International Coastal Clean-up SA, Clean-up and Recycle SA Week and Recycling Day SA.
Assistant Director at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute
Jared has a PhD in Marine Science and brings into the team more than 20 years of experience in research and management in coastal and marine ecosystems; wildlife management; climate change; and policy development, implementation and organizational development. He has intensive experience in programme design and implementation across governmental and non-governmental organizations where he has held various senior management positions. Jared is a recipient of the Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences Award (Belgium) and International Fellow of the Year by the Society for Wetlands Scientists.
Conservation Strategist at SAAMBR
Judy is passionate about the oceans and nature and has focused her career on helping people to care for the oceans. Judy has worked for the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) since 1992. As Director of Education Judy and her team built the most diverse marine education team in Africa. Judy was the first woman aquarium Director in Africa as the Director of uShaka Sea World, through the amazing years of building and then moving from the old Durban aquarium to uShaka Sea World. After two years as the first female CEO of SAAMBR, Judy returned to her passion for conservation and education and now guides the conservation and communication work of the Association. Judy is responsible for all facets of communication and leads the Marine Social Science and Social Impact Research Initiatives. She is passionate about how a better understanding of human behavior can contribute towards conservation.
Chair of the advisory panel and CSIR principal researcher
Prof Linda Godfrey is a Principal Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Associate Professor at Northwest University in South Africa, and holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. With over 20-years of sector experience, she currently heads up the Waste Research Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap Implementation Unit on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation, a unit tasked with implementing South Africa’s 10-year Waste RDI Roadmap.
Specialist Advisor for Aquatic Science and Coastal Infrastructure Development at the National Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
Ms Nitasha Baijnath-Pillay holds a Master Degree in Environmental Management from the University of Stellenbosch. Ms Baijnath-Pillay Nitasha has a suite of professional experience (spanning over 15 years) in networking, lobbying, advocacy, capacity building, environmental quality, compliance and enforcement, project management and resource quality and conservation management. She has knowledge and experience in the water, air, waste and climate sectors in South Africa (including cleaner production and resource quality management) and policy development. Ms Baijnath-Pillay is currently the Specialist Advisor for Aquatic Science and Coastal Infrastructure Development at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries providing specialist input, advice and support in respect of aquaculture, coastal infrastructure development (including the coastal marine tourism sector) and small harbour development for the blue economy of the country.
Director of the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town.
Peter Ryan graduated from the University of Cape Town, researching the impacts of ingested plastic on seabirds (MSc) and the evolutionary ecology of buntings in the Tristan archipelago (PhD). After a post-doc at the University of California he was appointed academic Coordinator of the Masters Programme in Conservation Biology at the Fitztitute in 1993. Although he mostly works on seabirds and their conservation, he has wide-ranging interests in avian biology. He has studied plastic pollution in marine systems since 1984, and has published over 40 papers on marine plastics. He is chair of the WIOMSA Expect Group on Marine Plastics and a member of the UN’s GESAMP working group on marine plastics.
Prof Reza Che Daniels
Associate Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town
Reza Che Daniels is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town. He has also founded and run companies in the non-profit, manufacturing and consulting sectors and is a member of the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa. Reza continues to be involved in activities and initiatives that span a wide range of sectors, institutions and stakeholder groups. His interests are in development economics, environmental economics, applied econometrics and public policy. Reza has also served in advisory positions for several South African government projects, been a short-term consultant for the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, and has been an occasional editor for several local and international peer-reviewed journals. He is also a keen scuba diver, free diver and is slowly learning how to spear-fish. He hopes to one day dive in all of the five oceans of planet Earth. https://sites.google.com/site/rezachedaniels/
Founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Currently work for the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)
DR SYLVIA EARLE
Dr Earle is one of the strongest advocates for the oceans in the world: besides the fact that she’s been a marine biologist since the 1960s, she is also the founder of Mission Blue, which aims to establish marine protected areas – called Hope Spots – around the world. In 2014, she came to South Africa to launch our own six Hope Spots. Dr Earle travels around the world raising awareness of the importance of the marine world and its ecosystems. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998, was also named Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet in 1998, has been awarded 28 honourary doctoral degrees and has more than 100 awards among many other accolades. www.mission-blue.org
PROF DERRICK SWARTZ
Peter Van Kets
Peter is an extreme adventurer who has undertaken many challenging journeys: he’s rowed across the Atlantic, twice; travelled to the South Pole with motivational speaker Braam Malherbe; and most recently he pedaled from the Kunene River Mouth on the Angolan border across the Namibian desert to Walvis Bay. He is a motivational speaker, and also a passionate conservationist. www.petervankets.co.za