Introductions of the speakers

Faustine Bas-Defossez
is the Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Manager in the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) where she has notably been working for the past seven years on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its reform. Before joining the EEB in early 2010 she worked for the European Commission, in the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development on the European Food Aid program for the most deprived. She holds a master degree in European Union law from the University of Lille, France and a master degree of EU Politics from the Institute of Political Sciences in Strasbourg, France.

Gwyn Jones
is the Director of the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism, a network dedicated to the well-being of HNV farming. Now back living in his native Wales, Gwyn worked for 20 years in Scotland, mostly as an agricultural advisor in the Highlands and Islands. He has a particular interest in common land and its challenges.

Harry Liiv is the Deputy Secretary General at the Ministry of Environment of Estonia. He is responsible to manage and coordinate water management, marine environmental issues at governmental level, participate at EU and other international meetings, particularly the ones concerning water and waste issues. He is currently acting as head of Estonian delegation to ECE Committee of Environmental Policy (CEP) as well as to the EU Water Directors level, and member of the Bureau of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. He was the HELCOM Chairman in 2014-2016. In 1994, he drafted the ECE/UNEP Guidelines on integrated environmental management in countries in transition.

Henriette Christensen is the Senior Policy Advisor at the Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN-E).

Inés Jordana. With background studies in Environmental Sciences, Territorial Planning and Rural Development, Ines started her professional career monitoring and evaluating the Biosphere Reserves and National Parks Networks in Spain. In search of truly sustainable development models, she obtained a Masters Degree in Project Planning for Rural Development and Sustainable Management in the Technical University of Madrid and, for the last 10 years, she has worked in the design, monitoring and implementation of Rural Development policy- mainly
establishing or taking part in the teams of the Spanish, Romanian and European Rural Development Networks. In 2016 Inés moved back from Brussels to Madrid, her home town in Spain, to combine consultancy work with leading the Agriculture and Food Department in the Spanish Ornithological Society, member of BirdLife International.

Jaanus Elts is a animal ecologist and last 15 years his main fields of interest have been ecology and protection questions of birds in agricultural landscape. Inter alia he has compiled four farmland birds draft action plans.

Jabier Ruiz has studied forestry, interactions between farming and environmental conservation and did his PhD on livestock grazing for the prevention of wildfires in Mediterranean forests. He has worked on international projects focusing on pastoralism, land tenure and nature conservation, and monitored the latest CAP reform and its implementation. Currently Jabier is the Senior Policy Officer in the area of Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems for WWF.

Juhan Särgava is a founder and manager of organically operating dairy farm and dairy industrie named Saidafarm OÜ (since 1992).  He was also a founder member of Estonian Biodynamic Association and Responsible Member of the Board in Avalons Foundation, Netherlands. He has been the President of the Central Union of Estonian Farmers and he has been a Member of the Board in Farmers Federation of Harju County since 2006. Juhan won the Baltic Sea Farmer of the year 2013 and on the same year his farm was awarded as Environment Friendly Enterprise. From the year 2017 he is the member of the advisory board of Estonian Minister of Rural Affairs. 

Kaja Lotman has been instrumental in development of Estonian nature conservation system, especially promotion of participatory approach and cooperation networks. She has been vice-director of Matsalu nature reserve (later national park), director of the Hiiu-Lääne region of the State Nature Conservation Centre and later of the Hiiu-Saare-Lääne region of the Environmental Board. Currently nature conservation advisor at the Environmental Board. In the framework of the international work of the Environmental Board has been the president of the Nordic-Baltic Section of the Europarc Federation, and is currently a vice-president and member of the council of the Federation, as well as a member of its Commission on Sustainable Agriculture in Protected Areas. As a recognition of her achievements in nature conservation she has been awarded the Cross of White Star by the President, as well as Elisabeth Jidhe memorial award by the WWF (the latter together with Aleksei Lotman).

Kaul Nurm  is currently member of the board in Estonian Farmers Federation. He has graduated Estonian University of Life Sciences in hydrotechnical engineering. Kaul has worked 26 years for family farms, of which 24 years as a Director General of the Estonian Farmers Federation. During 2005-2015 he was a Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), of which the last 2,5 years he was the Vice President of the agriculture, rural development and environmental sections. As the Member of the EESC he was the rapporteur for the own-initiative opinion on “Land grabbing – a wake-up call for Europe and an imminent threat to family farming”.

Marko Gorban is the Deputy Secretary General for Agricultural and Rural Life Policies of the Ministry of Rural Affairs since 1 June 2016 and he manages the work of the Trade and Agro-Food Department, the Rural Life Department, and the Agricultural Market Organisation Department. Marko Gorban graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Tartu in 2003 in the field of political science. He has worked at the Ministry of Rural Affairs (formerly the Ministry of Agriculture) as the Head of Department of Rural Development, as the Deputy Head of the same department, Head of the Rural Policy Bureau and senior specialist of the Bureau of EU Coordination.

Mikhail Durkin currently works as Executive Secretary of the Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB), grass-root environmental NGOs’ network across the Baltic Sea Region. In this capacity he is responsible for coordination of CCB’s joint activities on protection of the Baltic environment, including lobbying at regional and EU level, campaigning, public awareness and capacity building.
Before joining CCB in 2015, Mikhail served the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission or HELCOM) as Professional Secretary, primarily dealing with land-based pollution sources.
He has started his career in environmental field as an officer for implementation of international conventions, oil spill response and waste management with regional environmental and maritime authorities in Kaliningrad, Russia. Mikhail holds a M.Sc. degree in Environmental Management and Policy from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Sweden, as well as M.Sc. in Aquatic Biological Resources and Aquaculture from Kaliningrad State Technical University.

Ottilia Thoreson is the Acting Programme Director of the WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme which unites nine coastal Baltic Sea countries to protect the Baltic marine ecosystem and to ensure its sustainability. Ottilia has a background in marine environmental protection and has been working with Baltic conservation issues for more than 10 years, specializing in fisheries, eutrophication, sustainable agriculture, maritime policy and ocean governance.

Roomet Sõrmus is the Chairman of the Board in the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce since 2008. He has also worked as an advisor on agriculture and fisheries in EU Secretariat of the Estonian Government Office. He holds a masters degree in International Agricultural Science from Humboldt University of Berlin and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics and Entrepreneurship in former Estonian Agricultural University. He is the Member of the European Economic and Social Committee since 2015. Last 13 years he has actively participated in shaping the EU's common agricultural policy.

Sofia Björnsson works at the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) in the field of the Common Agriculture Policy as the Expert of Agricultural Policy and Rural Development. Among other things this means a lot of travelling to Brussels for meetings and lobbying. She is also the chairperson of the work group for rural development in Copa and Cogeca and the member of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Sönke Beckmann studied agricultural sciences with the focus on environmental conservation and rural development and has worked in agriculture and nature conservation administration officer since 1987. He was delegated from the Ministry to the NGO „Landcare Germany“ to promote the public goods bonus method for the CAP post 2020. Sönke`s field of work is nature conservation, agriculture and rural developement with references to the regional, national and EU-level.


Lennart Gladh  is a biologist and geographer, educated at Stockholm University. Before studies had various environmental jobs, e.g. a fisherman at a trawler in the Baltic Sea. After graduation started to work in the Nature Department of the Board Administration of Västmanland, Sweden with the main focus on biodiversity, especially management of nature reserves. Lennart left for WWF and did projects in Matsalu, all Baltic states, Russia and Karelia. He represented WWF as the head of delegation in Helcom for 9 years and in the board of CCB for 3 years. He was the member of the WWF EPO Agri/CAP team as well as the freshwater team. Now he is working with WWF with the focus on Agriculture/CAP and hydropower fields. Lennart has been awarded Estonian national order of honor - the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana for his contribution to conservation of Estonian nature and sustainable rural development in 2004.

Aleksei Lotman has been active in environmental field for over quarter of a century, and significant part of this has also been connected to agriculture. Aleksei has been involved in producing both management Plans for Matsalu (the first one was the first ever modern protected area management plan in Estonia and the second is the one valid today), starting the modern way of protection of semi-natural habitats (traditional meadows and pastures) based on cooperation with the farmers, first as a national scheme and then as part of agri-environmental scheme, working with agricultural policy and its environmental impacts, and designing NATURA 2000 in Lääne and Rapla counties. Aleksei has worked for the Tartu nature protection board, Matsalu nature reserve (later national park) and State Nature Conservation Centre, and has been member of the Riigikogu, the Parliament of Estonia, acting as Deputy Chairman of the Rural Affairs Committee as well as Chairman of the Committee for Environment, Agriculture, and Local and Regional Affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He is now employed at the Estonian Fund for Nature where he is in charge of marine environment protection and agri-environmental issues. Has been awarded (together with Kaja Lotman) Elisabeth Jidhe memorial award by the WWF in 2003.