Pre-Conference Events

Global Commodities Forum

13 - 15 September 2021 - Location: FRANGIPANI AUDITORIUM

Our world is facing unprecedented challenges that transcend national boundaries. The vital signs of our planet are showing severe strain, with climate change at the forefront. At the same time, millions still lack access to electricity, water supply and good sanitation, mostly in the rural areas of the developing world, while the demand for food is projected to increase by 60 per cent as the world population approaches 10 billion by 2050. Significant transitions will be required to build a long-term sustainable future and help to overcome poverty and other social and economic inequities.

The COVID-19 crisis can seriously compromise the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and other long-term development objectives, and clearly points to the necessity to accelerate such transitions. As a result, responding effectively to the crisis and meeting development needs will be a challenge for many Commodity Dependent Developing Countries (CDDCs).



Day 1

Agriculture and Water


Opening Remarks


Session 1: Food security and smart agriculture: the role of technology and services




Virtual Coffee Break


Session 2: Sustainable solutions to address water challenges



Day 2

Energy transition


Session 3: The future of oil and gas-dependent countries in an era of energy transition




Virtual Coffee Break


Session 4:  Greening mining for a green energy transition



Day 3

High-level roundtable

9:00 –9:15

Opening Remarks and Introductions

9:15 –10:15

Roundtable discussion: Strengthening Resilience in Commodity Dependent Countries




Closing Remarks

Session 1: Food security and smart agriculture: the role of technology and services

Arnaud Petit

Arnaud Petit was appointed Executive Director of the International Grains Council (IGC) in February 2018.  IGC is an intergovernmental organisation based in London, offering independent analysis on grains, oilseeds and rice markets to its member governments to promote international trade in grains. It also provides information to non-government subscribers.

From 2005-2017 Mr. Petit worked at the European Farmers and agri-cooperatives Union (Copa-Cogeca), as Director for Commodities and Trade. He was also a Member of the Executive Committee of the European Technology Platform “Plants for the future” (2009-2017) and a Member of the Experts Group on EU-US trade negotiations at the European Commission (2014-2017). From 2000 -2005 he served as Policy Advisor for European Affairs at the National Chamber for Agriculture in Paris, and Deputy Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (2000-2005).

He holds an M.A. in Agricultural Economics from the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, Montpellier, France.

Ena Harvey

Ena Harvey currently serves as the Barbados Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and is also IICA’s Lead Specialist in Agrotourism, providing support for the development and implementation of regional and hemispheric programmes to promote agrotourism linkages and rural tourism in the Caribbean and Latin America.

A graduate of the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Tropical Agriculture, and the University of Guelph, Canada in Agricultural Engineering, and with specialized training and certification in HACCP Food Safety systems and World Class Benchmarking for SMEs, Ena Harvey has over 30 years’ experience in the Agri-Food sector.  Her career spans 5 years at CARIRI as a Food Technologist providing technical assistance to agribusinesses in Trinidad & Tobago, after which she worked as a private consultant to several regional and international agencies on projects covering trade and agro-industrial development, export competitiveness, food safety, food security, and agro-tourism linkages.  Her work has taken her to over 20 Caribbean countries, as well as Latin America, Mauritius, Morocco, and the South Pacific.

Ena possesses a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about the food culture and heritage of the Caribbean.  She has delivered several presentations and training sessions on agrotourism at regional and international conferences, and was instrumental in the development of a Food Tourism Strategy for the Caribbean and the launch of a Chefs for Development Platform for SIDS.


Keeley Holder was appointed Chief Agriculture Officer in Barbados’ Ministry of Agriculture in February of 2021.   Ms. Holder, holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Computer Science from The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Crop Production and Water Management from Galillee Institute, Israel. She is the first female and youngest-ever Chief Agricultural Officer.  On being appointed to her post, she stated that she is “… pleased to be in a position to lead agriculture into a new future. We can only grow from strength to strength, working in partnership and unity as we fight COVID-19, and ensure food and nutrition security for all.”

Ms. Holder has a wide background in agriculture including experience in both the private and public sectors.  She is a former Chief Executive Officer of HydroGrow Farm and Go Bananas Inc., served as a member of the National Agricultural Advisory Commission of Barbados and has also held the position of Vice-President of the National Union of Farmers, from 2012 to 2018.  Additionally, she served as 1st Vice-President of the Barbados Agricultural Society and President of the Barbados Fruit and Vegetable Growers.   Her Caribbean regional experience includes working as a consultant with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) for the Caribbean region between 2015 and 2018.

Session 2: Sustainable solutions to address water challenges

Dr Adrian Cashman

Dr Adrian Cashman has over 40 years of experience in the water sector. He has been working as an international consultant based in Barbados on projects across the Caribbean including: updating of Jamaica’s Water Sector Policy and Implementation Plan; Developing Green Climate Fund Concept Notes and Supporting Studies for Dominica, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; support to the Barbados Water Authority; preparing and updating the Regional Strategic Action Implementation Plan for Water; working for the FAO on their Country Programme Frameworks and supporting the development of Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger and Malnutrition. 

Prior to setting up his consultancy in 2018, he spent 12 years with the University of the West Indies and served as the Director of the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES).  Before joining CERMES, Dr Cashman worked in the water sector in the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa.  The projects he worked on included: the development of the financial analysis methodology incorporated into a Whole Life Costing approach to the management of water supply and wastewater assets; and the UK’s Coastal and River Flooding Foresight study of the cost of future flooding. 

Session 3: The future of oil and gas-dependent countries in an era of energy transition

René Bautz

Chairman of the Global Gas Centre, René Bautz is also CEO of Gaznat SA, Chairman of Swiss Energy Trading (SET) and Gas&Com (Telecommunication), Board and Committee member of several companies and organizations within the gas industry: Fingaz, Swissgas, Swiss Gas Invest, Transitgas and Unigaz. He also acts at an international level in the frame of Eurogas, Green Gas Initiative.

In 2002, René Bautz joined Gaznat, starting his career in the company as Chief technical officer. He then served as Chief operating officer for two years before taking over as CEO of Gaznat.

René Bautz studied electrical engineering and holds a Master of Science degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He dedicated his entire professional career to the energy sector. René Bautz held the position of Managing director at the Société Electrique des Forces de l’Aubonne (SEFA) for 5 years. Prior to this, he served as Director of the Utility of the town of Bienne (ESB). During this period, between 1994 and 2002, he was also Board member and manager of several companies within the water and energy industries.

The first 10 years of his career were spent at the power company Electricité Neuchâteloise (ENSA) as Head of the studies and construction. René Bautz then joined Câbles Cortaillod (now Nexans Switzerland) as Head of the electric network and testing division.

Arash Duero

Arash Duero is Principal at Bingmann Pflüger International and Senior Fellow at the European Cluster for Climate, Energy and Resource Security at the Centre for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies, University of Bonn, Germany. He specializes in the political and economic dimensions of energy resources and is a Senior Fellow at the European Cluster for Climate, Energy and Resource Security at the Centre for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies, University of Bonn.

Arash is a Principal at Bingmann Pflüger International, one of Germany’s leading strategy consultancies specializing in energy, commodities and infrastructure. There, he heads its energy, commodities, and infrastructure operations and has for over a decade had the dual function of providing strategic and communications advice to both its Managing Partners as well as to a wide range of clients across multiple industries and functions. He also regularly serves as a Senior Expert at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, is an Advisor to the Global Gas Centre, is a Member of the Economic Council Germany and is a contributor to the Atlantik Brücke’s Working Group for Natural Resources and Critical Raw Materials.

Arash studied economics at Georgia Southern University and holds an advanced degree in Political Science with a focus on Macroeconomics and International Energy Policy from the Free University in Berlin, Germany.


Dr. Thackwray “Dax” Driver has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago since 2003. He has pioneered numerous new initiatives and activities for the Energy Chamber, including the Safe to Work programme and the Learning Centre.

He is the Immediate Past Chair of the Caribbean Chambers Network (CARICHAM).

He was previously the Chairman of the Trinidad & Tobago Economic Development Board and has been a Board member of the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries, the University of Trinidad and Tobago and T&T Natural Gas Liquids Ltd.  Prior to joining the Energy Chamber, he was the coordinator of Trinidad and Tobago’s Agricultural Sector Reform Programme.  

He has a Ph.D. in History from the University of London.

Session 4: Greening mining for a green energy transition

Nicky Black

Nicky Black is Director, Social and Economic Development Programme at the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which she joined in June 2017.  She is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership to ICMM’s work in this area, including the skills for the common future, community relations, security and human rights, tax and mineral resource governance.

Nicky has over 20 years’ experience working in sustainable development.  Before joining ICMM, Nicky spent seven years with the De Beers Group of Companies in London. Her last role with De Beers was as the Head of Social Performance, with responsibility for the company’s social management programme, sustainability reporting and communications, and working with the board and executive committee to set and align sustainability strategy.

Nicky holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, a Master’s degree in Political Sociology from McGill University in Canada, and a degree in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford in the UK.


Pascal Laffont

Pascal Laffont took up his duties as Chief Legal Counsel and Secretary to the Governing Board of the International Energy Agency in June 2012. His last post was in Doha, Qatar, where he served as a policy advisor on international energy issues to the Government of Qatar and the national oil company, Qatar Petroleum. In particular, he advised on issues arising during the negotiations of international agreements, and provided legal expertise on the impact of international treaties and agreements influencing the energy sector in Qatar.

Before that, he was in the office of the Secretary General, Energy Charter, Brussels, advising particularly on issues relating to non-members of and accession to the Energy Charter. Prior to joining the office of the Secretary General, he worked on the legal aspects of international energy trade under the Energy Charter Treaty. He started his professional life in private practice in the international projects department of a London City law firm. He qualified as a lawyer in France and England and is admitted to practise law in England and Hong Kong.

Pascal Laffont has a Masters in Public International Law from the London School of Oriental and African Studies and is a Senior Executive Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Michael Wurmser

As Deputy CEO and Founder of Norge Mining, Michael Wurmser advises on the finances and strategic direction of the company.

An astute economist and entrepreneur, he has worked for Citibank Zurich, and has held a prestigious array of senior positions at multinational financial institutions in New York and Frankfurt.

He’s previously been mandated by various governments, finance ministries and state banks to help settle sovereign debts. Over the years, Michael has advised on structure financing for companies in the natural resources, commodities and mining sectors in Russia, the Middle East and Mongolia.

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