The Steering Group consists of representatives of the German Ministry of Environment, the German Environment Agency, the Governments of France and Sweden, the European Commission, UN Environment and the project team. The Steering Group guides the project as a whole in strategic matters, provides advice on progress and key deliverables, supports the development of a long-term strategy, and the positioning of the Forum in relevant global ocean governance processes.
Ann-France Didier is Special Adviser for Regional and Local Governance and Co-ordinator for SDG14, Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France. Anne-France was in charge of the “Plan Bleu” in 2006, one of the regional activity centers and part of the UN EP/MAP system for the Barcelona Convention. From March 2013 to January 2016, she was the director of the DREAL (regional direction of the Ministry in charge of Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development) in Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur and, from February 1998 to September 2004, she was the Director of the DIREN (regional Direction of the French Ministry of Environment) successively in the West indian Ocean (Reunion Island) and South France (Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur). She also managed the transition to a sustainable development, teaching a programme and the e-learning of the french technical high school ENTE in Aix en Provence during 8 years.
Raphaël Goulet is Head of Unit for International Ocean Governance, Law of the Sea and Arctic policy in the Directorate General for maritime affairs and fisheries of the European Commission since 2020. Before that, he headed the unit for public interest services in the Directorate General for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs. Between 1996 and 2016, he held various positions in the Directorate General for regional and urban policy in charge of regional development programmes (ERDF) in Germany, pre-accession infrastructure projects (ISPA) in Latvia. He became Assistant to the Director General in 2002, and headed then different units for strategic planning and inter-institutional relations, for information, communication and international relations, and for Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany and the Netherlands. Raphaël Goulet graduated from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris and from the Free University (political science and economics) in Berlin.
Jacob Hagberg is Scientific officer at the Swedish Ministry for Environment and Energy where he is the Swedish Head of Delegation at the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helcom), coordinates the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and handles issues related to environmental effects of fisheries. He is also Swedish Commissioner at the International Whaling Commission. Jacob has a background in marine ecology and fisheries research and has previously worked at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and as international fisheries policy expert at the South East Asian Fisheries Commission (SEAFDEC) in Bangkok. He has also been involved in the UN Ocean Conference on SDG14 and the GPA process of UNEP and was engaged in the last revision of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.
Heike Imhoff is Head of Division „Protection of the Marine Environment“ in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. She is the German EU Marine Director, bearing responsibility, i.a., for the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive as well as for regional vo-operation under OSPAR and HELCOM. For several years she has served as the German Head of Delegation to the Helsinki-Commission (HELCOM). At the global level Ms. Imhoff has been involved in the UNICPOLOS Process, the Rio+20 Conference, the UN Ocean Conference on SDG 14 and the Our Ocean Conferences. During the German G7 and G20 presidencies she has been leading the German G7 and G20- activities on ‘Marine Litter’.
Manuela Krakau is Scientific Officer at the German Environment Agency. She is involved in two sections, „Protection of Marine Environments“ and „Protection of the Polar Regions“, within the division „Environmental Health and Protection of Ecosystems“. Her interests lie in marine biodiversity aspects with focus on alien species in context of MSFD and HELCOM, and she also handles issues relating to effects of climate change and ocean acidification. She has a background in marine science and molecular ecology and brings along experience with environmental assessments of human activities, e.g. maritime tourism. Since 2017, Mrs. Krakau gives professional support of the PROG-MRF project for the SDG14 implementation of the German commitment to advance Regional Ocean Governance (#OceanAction18439).
Marijana Mance is Policy Officer in DG Environment of the European Commission, working on International Ocean Governance and ocean-related Agenda 2030. Her specific focus is regional level and cooperation with Regional Seas Conventions as well as interaction of regional and global levels. She is a part of the EU negotiating team on sustainable development and oceans issues. Before that, she worked as a Head of Multilateral Affairs – Global Issues Division of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia and a Director for Sustainable Development and International Relations in the Croatian Ministry of Environment. From 2011 to 2013 she was Croatian chief negotiator for the Rio+20 conference and a Head of HR Delegation at the meetings of parties of a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
Takehiro Nakamura is Chief, Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Unit, Ecosystems Division, United Nations Environment Programme. He has been promoting adoption of an ecosystem approach at local, national and regional levels, particularly to aquatic systems, including regional seas. He has been instrumental in building and reinforcing regional seas programmes and their operations. He was a senior officer leading the team of experts for the UN Environment Programme’s portfolio of Global Environment Facility International Waters projects. Recently he has expended his area of work to include exploring issues related to marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, particularly the application of area-based management tools in these areas. He holds a Doctor of Global Environmental Studies from Kyoto University.
Ingo Narberhaus is deputy Head of Division “Protection of the Marine Environment” in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Among other things, he acts as the German Head of Delegation to the OSPAR Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Northeast-Atlantic and he oversees the DE activities in the EU-level ‘Common Implementation Process’ for the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and its implementation in Germany. At the global level, Ingo Narberhaus is involved in the development of a deep sea mining regime through the International Seabed Authority, in the SDG14 follow-up process (UN Ocean conferences), he serves as National Focal Point for the UN Regular Process (World Ocean Assessments) and is supervising for BMU the PROG-MRF project.
Stefanie Schmidt is International Relations Officer in the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) of the European Commission. She has overall responsibility for the follow-up and further development of the EU’s international ocean governance agenda and is involved in the EU’s response to the 2030 Agenda and engagement in the Our Ocean conferences. In previous positions at DG MARE, she was responsible for the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in different regions, scientific advice coordination and a member of the task force for the 2014 CFP reform. As senior research associate at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam during a sabbatical, she co-authored several policy briefs, reports and studies on the role of oceans in the 2030 Agenda and regional ocean governance. She also worked in the marine programme of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Germany. Stefanie Schmidt studied natural sciences, environmental conservation and policy at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg and the University of Washington in Seattle. She holds a Master degree in Tropical Aquatic Ecosystems and Resource Management from the University of Bremen as scholar of the German Academic Exchange Service.