Keynote Speakers

Achim Steiner

Administrator, UNDP

Achim Steiner became UNDP Administrator on 19 June 2017 and will serve for a term of four years. The United Nations General Assembly confirmed his nomination on 19 April 2017, following his nomination by Secretary-General António Guterres.

Mr. Steiner is also the Vice-Chair of the UN Development Group, which unites the 32 UN funds, programmes, specialized agencies and other bodies that work to support sustainable development.

Over nearly three decades, Achim Steiner has been a global leader on sustainable development, climate resilience and international cooperation. He has worked tirelessly to champion sustainability, economic growth and equality for the vulnerable, and has been a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prior to joining UNDP, he was Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford. Mr Steiner has served across the United Nations system, looking at global challenges from both a humanitarian and a development perspective. He led the United Nations Environment Programme (2006-2016), helping governments invest in clean technologies and renewable energy. He was also Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi. Achim Steiner previously held other notable positions including Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams.

Achim Steiner has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and the United States. He graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (MA) from Worcester College, Oxford University and holds an MA from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Kanni Waignaraja

Director, UN Sustainable Development Group Office (UN SDGO)

Kanni took up her assignment as Director of UN Sustainable Development Group Office in January 2014. This team brings together 40 UN entities working on development, to ensure better coordinated efforts on data and advocacy, policy and programmes, partnerships and operations. The end goal is a UN that delivers together for sustainable development in the 170 plus countries in which it serves. Kanni has significant experience in leading global, regional and country development portfolios. She served as UN Representative in Zambia from 2010 to 2013. Prior to this, she served as the Policy Director of the Capacity Development Group of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York. She has also served as Deputy Representative in Viet Nam and Indonesia. Kanni has contributed to numerous papers, articles and conferences in areas of public policy, institutional reform, capacity development, leadership and human rights. Kanni holds a Master’s in Public Administration, from Princeton University.

Shalini Unnikrishnan

Partner & Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group

Shalini Unnikrishnan is a Partner & Managing Director who focuses on social impact projects at the intersection of private, public and social sectors. Shalini is a core member of the Social Impact, Global Advantage and Public Sector practices in BCG.
Shalini is part of the leadership team within BCG on the Corporate Social Value topic working at the intersection of private, public and social sectors to realize at scale social impact while creating business value.
• Led efforts with multiple companies with strategy, building social and business cases, portfolio optimization and partnership development across sectors – financial institutions, consumer goods, agriculture, water, technology
• Leading efforts with UN agencies, not for profits and governments on private sector acceleration and partnership
Shalini has a breadth of experience on global health and global development topics working across large foundations, UN agencies, governments and not for profits
Shalini has extensive experience on the ground within multiple types of organizations in developing countries. She has worked on numerous efforts in Africa and Asia. Notable among these are:
• Ebola response in West Africa: Managed BCG's support to the Ebola response strategy on the ground in West Africa at the peak of the crisis; supported the head of the UN response mission at the peak of the crisis, engaging with governments, experts, foundations and private sector in the affected countries
• Support to African Presidents through Prime Minister Tony Blair: As part of former Prime Minister Tony Blair's AGI teams, Shalini was embedded as a private sector development advisor in President Kagame's government in Rwanda, and as a day to day advisor strategy advisor to the President of Malawi Joyce Banda.
Shalini is a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a program created for select US leaders by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush. Shalini has published on topics of global health, private sector role in humanitarian crises, economic development, entrepreneurship and gender.
Before BCG, Shalini has led operations for a technology startup and worked with McKinsey and Company, the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, and Genentech.
Shalini holds a Masters in International Relations and Economics from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University and an MBA in Healthcare Management from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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