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About the event


The Urban Forum: Future-Fit Cities aims to take account of the current situation and chart the way forward on how to build resilience and grow green from crises, including through tackling challenges of leadership and finance.



4 October

Registration, Opening, Welcome 

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Main


  • Archil Chikovani, Mayor of Batumi

  • Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure (Georgia) 

  • Tornike Rizhvadze, Chairman of Adjara Government

  • Gérald Audaz,  Team Leader for Economic Development, Connectivity and the Green Transition in Eastern Partnership countries, DG NEAR

  • Nicholas Cendrowicz, Head of Cooperation Section, Delegation of the European Union to Georgia

  • Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Georgia, RR a.i.

  • Georges Van Monfort, UNDP


Financial pathways for cities - How Can Urban Finance Become More Accessible to Cities to Support Urban Transitions and Transformations?

Format: panel discussion and Q&A

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Main


  • Gérald Audaz,  Team Leader for Economic Development, Connectivity and the Green Transition in Eastern Partnership countries, DG NEAR (moderator)

  • Asen Charliyski, Bankers without Boundaries

  • Neil Khor, Office of the Executive Director of UN-Habitat

  • Tea Melikadze, EBRD

  • Tülin Keyik, AFD

Description: What type of instruments and mechanisms are available for urban financing and where are you seeing progress in financing local development? What are the underlying success factors in these cases?

Coffee Break

Growing from shock: Using

crisis to pivot to greener

urban development models

Format: panel discussion and Q&A

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Main


  • Dan Hill, Strategic Designer 

  • Vitalli Lukov, Deputy Mayor of Mykolaiv City

  • Anatoli Topal, Mayor of Ceadir Lunga

  • Denis Gaiovy, Associate Director, EBRD

  • Anne Kahl, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (TBC)

Description: Pandemic, drought, floods, mega storms and wildfires, threats of a third world war — how rapidly we have become inured to the list of shocks. So much so that, from time to time, it is worth standing back to consider the sheer strangeness of our situation. Increased unpredictability, large scale transitions like energy and decarbonization, and the changing socio-economic & political environment in which countries find themselves, require discovering the path to development and while crisis, especially what some are calling polycrises, threaten development gains – they can also be used to build a foundation of working differently and cities are at the forefront of these changes.

Collaboration & Design: How should the cities of tomorrow be organized to drive development?

Format: panel discussion and Q&A

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Main


  • Charles Landry, Creative Bureaucracy Festival 

  • Gorka Espiau, ALC

  • Nina Čebokli, Transformative Governance Lead, Demos Helsinki

  • Archil Chikovani, Mayor of Batumi 

  • Tina Stoum, M4EG, UNDP (moderator)

Description: This session seeks to delve deep into the core principles, innovative approaches, and strategic collaborations that can guide our urban spaces towards a more green, smart, and sustainable existence. We will explore the crossroads of design and collaboration, and how these can be leveraged to craft the cities of tomorrow. 

Financing with the People and the Planet at the Centre: Civic Economy, Urban Commons, Community- and Nature-Based Solutions

Format: presentation/conversation

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: main


  • Torben Juul Andersen, Copenhagen Business School

  • Raj Kalia, Mission Lead, Capital and Investments, Dark Matter Labs

  • Eric Hubbard, Freetown City Council / Urban Biodiversity Hub

  • Gabriel von Roda, Founder, Cashdillo

  • Eka Urushadze, Executive Director at Centre of Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (TBC)

Description: the session aims to explore, if there are emerging ways to imagine and grow a different local economy in our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and villages to build more sustainable routes to shared prosperity.

How to leverage crowdfunding for urban development

Format: presentation/conversation

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: main


  • Hajdana Rukavina and Burcu Mavis

  • Tadamon/AltFin Lab

  • Artem Vashchylenko, Сenter of Business Support, Mykolaiv Portfolio

Description: How to leverage crowdfunding for urban development session aims to introduce participants to the concept of crowdfunding, explore the key elements essential for a successful campaign, and provide examples of how crowdfunding has been utilized for urban development in various municipalities.

Coffee break

M4EG Learning Reflection


Format: workshop

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Armazi

Speakers: UNDP

Description: This session is targeted for the deep demonstrator municipalities to reflect and capture their learning journey (Invitation only)

Urban Game Changers: tipping the system transformation

Format: panel discussion and Q&A

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Main


  • Danela Arsovska, Mayor of Skopje

  • Anna Pashynska, MetaLab Ukraine

  • Thomas Kösters, Deep Ecosystems

  • Adrian Brown, Center for Public Impact

  • Robyn Bennet, Creative Bureaucracy

  • Festival (moderator)

Description: The session "Urban Game Changers: tipping the System Transformation" delves into the transformative power of game-changing initiatives in urban development.

13:00 - 14:00
13:30 - 14:15
Closed session with mayors
14:00 - 16:30
Parallel sessions as follows:
14:00 - 15:00
  • Innovation ecosystems at the local level

Format: panel discussion

Languages: English

Room: main


  1. Colin Donohue, Startup Grind Batumi

  2. Avtandil Kasradze, Head of GITA

  3. EU4Digital

  4. Anna Pashynska, MetaLab Ukraine

  5. Rodica Negru, Local Team Leader,

  6. EU4Moldova, Startup City Cahul project

  7. Thibault Charlet, Programme Manager, Digital and Local Economic Development, DG NEAR Unit C1, (Moderator)

    Description: The panel discussion will delve into the multifaceted dimensions of unlocking, boosting, and nurturing innovation ecosystems. Distinguished panellists will bring their wealth of insights and experiences from startups, private sector and government to the forefront to shed light on the role of innovation and digital ecosystems as an enabler for local economic development. 

14:00 - 15:00

  • Systemic approaches to green cities 

Format: roundtable conversation

Languages/Translations: Georgian, Russian, English, Azerbaijani

Room: Lazica


  1. Nicolae Tudoreanu, Mayor of Fstelita, Moldova

  2. Giacomo Pinaffo, FDC Messina

  3. Györgyi Gálik, Dark Matter Labs

  4. Ioseb Kakhaleishvili, Mayor, Municipality of Kutaisi, Georgia

  5. James Vener, UNDP Climate Promise (Moderator)

Description: The conversations features representatives from Fondazione Messina, Covenant of Mayors, City of Kutaisi, and Denmark as they delve into systemic approaches to green cities within their respective contexts. These approaches encompass bottom-up transformations, demonstration projects, portfolio strategies, and green city campaigns, offering valuable insights into the future of urban sustainability. 

15:30 - 16:30
  • Creative industries and culture as the driver for urban rejuvenation 

Format: panel discussion 

Languages/Translations: Georgian, Armenian, English

Room: Main


  1. Viorica Cerbușca, Artcor Moldova

  2. Mamuka Tsotseria, Mayor of Zugdidi, Georgia

  3. Emma Baghdasaryan, Portfolio Lead,Gyumri Municipality

  4. Ines Radic, Sarajevo Film Festival representative

  5. João Sigora, Demos Helsinki (Moderator)


Our panellists from Artcor, Zugdidi Municipality and Gyumri Municipality will delve into the intricate relationship between creativity, design, and economic growth discussing  
- the role of creative spaces, communities and entrepreneurship in the development of the ecosystem 
- the value and importance of the creative economy in driving economic growth 
- the impact of the creative economy on the liveability and vibrancy of a city  

- the opportunities that festivals and events offer cities in bringing together communities and creative expression

15:30 - 16:30

  • Securing resilient urban systems to manage complex risks/crisis in an urban environment

Format: panel discussion / fireside chat

Languages/Translations: Ukrainian, English, Russian

Room: Lazica


  1. Jakup Huseini, Municipality of Brvenica, North Macedonia, Polog Region

  2. Yurii Bova, Mayor of Trostianets 

  3. Alexander Schevchenko, Restart Ukraine

  4. Pasquale Capizzi, Arup (Moderator)



This session focuses on investigating the tactics, technologies, and cooperative methods necessary to strengthen and improve the resilience of urban systems in the midst of complex challenges. It highlights cities that are actively putting resilience strategies into action while managing crises, underscoring the crucial and transformative impact of collaboration in building resilient systems and fostering positive societal progress in times of crisis.

14:00 - 16:30

  • Driving urban transformation through collaboration and decentralized decision-making

Format: workshop

Languages/Translations: Georgian, English, Russian

Room: Egrisi


ALC & Bilbao Metropolitan Institute


This session will share the most significant learnings of the Bilbao transformation and specific tools to amplify the existing city innovation capabilities when the city is under extreme socio-economic conditions and external support is limited or non existent.

14:30 - 16:30
  • Use of technology in reimagining cities Workshop with generative AI – rethinking cities

Format: workshop

Languages/Translations:  Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Romanian, Ukrainian, English.

Room: Armazi


Urbanist AI
15:00 - 15:30
Coffee break
  • Introducing the new generation local economic development plans - Pathways for Economic Growth (P4EG) 

Format: workshop

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Main

Speakers: ARUP

Description: Soft launch under the Urban Learning Center. Group discussions on relevance, bottleneck and what works

  • Developing cities as a collective endeavor: Agility with a purpose 

Format: roundtable

Languages: English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian 

Room: Armazi

Speakers: Charles Landry & Robyn Bennett, Creative Bureacracy Festival

Description: This session provides a foundation for understanding the dynamics of change in urban governance. It underscores the significance of adaptability and innovation for city leaders and explores the concept of being 'strategically principled and tactically flexible' with real-world examples.

  • Financing for Urban Transformation Workshop

Format: workshop

Languages: English

Room: Egrisi

Speakers: CHÔRA

Description: This session invites participants to make sense of how structural finance can be mobilised for the sustainable (green) transitions of cities, and to bring their experience to the formation of collective learning that can be leveraged for cities' financing strategies.

  • Gaming the System: Development of Horizon 3 ideas to accelerate development 

Format: workshop

Languages: English

Room: Lazica

Speakers: CPI



Closing – networking and learning 

Our speakers



Batumi. Georgia

Archil Chikovani

Archil Chikovani has been serving as Mayor of Batumi since July 16, 2020. Previously, he worked in the government of autonomous republic of Adjara and the Ministries of Defense and Internal Affairs of Georgia.


Archil holds a Master of Laws degree from Tbilisi State University. He speaks Georgian, Russian and English.

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Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia

Anna Chernyshova

Anna Chernyshova is a highly qualified UNDP manager with over 16 years of programme and operations experience.


Before joining the UNDP team in Georgia, she served as Country Manager a.i. for the UN Joint Presence Office in the Solomon Islands.


Throughout her career with UNDP, Anna Chernyshova has managed programmes on combatting human and drug trafficking, border management, mitigating the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and fighting HIV, TB and malaria with support from the Global Fund.


Before joining UNDP, Anna Chernyshova was Programme Manager at the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus. She managed an EU-funded Programme on Human Rights, Democratization and Elections.


Anna Chernyshova has a law degree from the Belarus Academy of Management and an MBA degree from the European University Viadrina in Germany.

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Urbanist CoFounder

SPIN Unit and UrbanistAI

Damiano Cerrone

Damiano Cerrone is an urbanist, researcher and educator. He cofounded SPIN Unit, an urban research and innovation practice; and UrbanistAI, a participatory design platform to reimagine the future of our cities.


His practice focuses on urban research and policy design for the public sector.


Cerrone is also affiliated with and teaches at several academic institution in Finland and abroad.

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Sector lead for Sustainable Urban Finance, member of the Operations & Strategy Group of the Bankers without Boundaries

Asen Charliyski

Asen brings diverse experience in project and corporate finance and financial markets from working over a decade in the City of London.


Over the past few years Asen has been involved in fund management of publicly funded and privately financed energy efficiency facilities and is now mentoring several European cities and start-ups in their financing strategy towards sustainable development.

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Senior Banker


Tea Melikadze

Tea Melikadze has more than 15 years of experience of working in the infrastructure and energy sectors, for both the public and private sectors. She is an Associate Director in EBRD’s Sustainable Infrastructure Group, with specific responsibility for the Caucasus region. She is in charge of project development and portfolio management for various infrastructure sub-sectors, including transport, water, wastewater, and waste management.  

Tea was one of the originators of the EBRD Green Cities, which offers more than € 5 billion of EBRD and donor support to cities in the EBRD region to address their most pressing environmental challenges through targeted investment, policy actions and capacity building. Launched in 2016, to date over 55 cities joined EBRD Green Cities, committed toward their transition to green, low-carbon and resilient futures.Tea holds a BSc in Economics and MSc in Business. 

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Programme manager

CPI Europe

Beatriz Cano Buchholz

Beatriz joined CPI in March 2020 and leads a range of complex projects with local governments, philanthropies and multilateral agencies across Europe. She focuses on government innovation - supporting public officials to deliver greater impact by adopting collaborative approaches centered on co-creation with residents, system-thinking, experimentation and collective learning.


She's worked on multiple programs in the area of city innovation including the Digital Innovation Initiative for Bloomberg Philanthropies, with and more recently with UNDP, where she led the Urban Imaginaries program, a program delivered with UNDP to support cities across Eastern Europe and Central Asia to reimagine their city by experimenting with residents.


Prior to CPI, Beatriz worked for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the OECD. She holds a Master in International Development and speaks five languages fluently.

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Avtandil Kasradze

Avtandil Kasradze is a Chairman of GITA. Agency is assigned to coordinate and mediate an important role in the country in terms of innovation and technology development. Having more than 8 years of experience in the legal field, Avtandil in parallel with all the Agency activities has been committed to formalizing the legal framework of the Agency. He was Senior Adviser of the Legal Department at the Chancellery of the Government of Georgia in 2014 and for 2 years Avtandil was Senior Adviser of the Department of Legal Drafting at the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.

In addition to the experience in state entities, Avtandil has working experience in international organizations as well as in NGOs.


He was a Senior Legal Analyst Assistant at OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission. Avtandil’s responsibility in a non-governmental organization, Transparency International Georgia, was first Legal Analyst and later Election and Legal Expert.  In the beginning of his career, he was running an NGO Association for Democracy Development.

As for the international experience, Avtandil was a fellow in the Council of Europe (Venice Commission) in Strasbourg, France. For one year he was a research assistant at the Academic Department of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University Sweden.

Avtandil Kasradze has a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law from Lund University, Sweden, and Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Tbilisi State University, Georgia.

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Regional Orchestrator


Tina Stoum

Tina Stoum has a 15-year career in development, with a decade dedicated to the United Nations including roles within IOM, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, and UNDP. She's navigated diverse development landscapes, from judiciary xsystems and rule of law to migration, biodiversity, and women’s empowerment. She is passionate about international solidarity and making our societies greener and more inclusive. Tina's UNDP contributions span from Kenya and Turkey to China and the UN HQ in New York.

Currently, Tina spearheads the transformative EU & UNDP partnership "Mayors for Economic Growth Facility", focusing on urban transformation in the Eastern Partnership nations. Her educational background features an MA in Public International Law from Costa Rica and another MA in Culture Theory and Gender Studies from Norway.

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Trostyanets, Ukraine

Yuriy Bova

Yuriy Bova has been elected as the mayor of Trostyanets six times in a row (2005, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2020). He possesses extensive experience in local self-government.

Since March 2000, he has been the founder, chairman, and since 2005, the honorary president of the public organization "Union of Entrepreneurs of Trostyanets region."


Yuriy Bova is also the founder of the Trostyanets district charitable foundation "Dobrota". In 2016, he became the Vice President of the "Mayors Club." In 2019, he was elected as the president of the "Association of Open Cities" and also serves as the president of the Federation of athletics of Sumy region. Yuriy Bova is a member of the board of the "Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine Association."

During Yuriy Bova's tenure as mayor, the city has received 12 awards in the "Best practices of local self-government" competition held by the ministry of regional development, construction, and housing and communal services of Ukraine with the support of the Council of Europe since 2012.

Under his leadership, Trostyanets has implemented numerous projects in the fields of healthcare, education, culture, sports, and tourism.

Yuriy Bova also has experience in rebuilding damaged and destroyed community infrastructure resulting from Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine.

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Transformative Governance Lead

Nina Langerholc Cebokli

Nina Langerholc Cebokli is leading the Demos Helsinki’s Transformative Governance area. She was a Chief of Staff in the Ministry for Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, appointed as a representative for the Center of Government.


Nina has 15 years of experience from the public sector, business sector (from start-ups to corporate environment) and NGOs in the field of innovation management, change management, and system and organization design.


She has worked with a variety of teams in conceptualizing, planning, and implementing change on the team, organization, and system level.

Her unique understanding of the nature of functioning and mindset of different stakeholders and entities that exist in our society supports her work in creation of positive impact, energizing teams, design and roll-out of systemic solutions, and creation of new value arising from synergies, partnerships, and networks.


Her work is also focused on bridging the gaps between public and business sector through innovative approaches and projects, and implementation of novel approaches to large-scale change.

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Kutaisi, Georgia

Ioseb Khakhaleishvili

Over the years, he has been a member of and has also led several NGOs and international organizations, including the following: International Medical Corps, CARE International in Caucasus, Movement against Hunger (Action Contra el Hambre), Save the Children, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Local Democracy Agency Georgia (LDA).

Ioseb Khakhaleishvili has extensive experience working in the public sector, having held a management position in Imereti Regional Administration. He has been re-elected for a second term as the Mayor of Kutaisi City Municipality.

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First Deputy Mayor


Vitaliy Lukov

Vitalii Lukov has more than 13 years of practical working experience in municipalities of the Mykolaiv region, including as the Mayor of Voznesensk and the First Deputy Mayor of Mykolaiv.


As for today the area of his responsibilities includes economic development, provision of administrative services, management of municipal facilities, emergency response to the current war situation, organization of defense and mobilization work of the territory, implementation of financial politics and budgeting, and housing issues in the Mykolayiv community.


He has significant experience in attracting investments from national and international partners for the community development and improvement of well-being of its residents. 


During wartime he works closely with the international organizations and twin cities abroad to rebuild the war-affected Mykolaiv.


He is a member of the Mykolaiv City Team for the development and implementation of the  Portfolio "Deep Blue Transition for Mykolaiv".


    Co-Founder and Board Head METALAB NGO

    Anna Pashynska

    Anna Pashynska is a co-founder and curator of an Urban Laboratory "MetaLab", Urban Biennale "City Scanning Session" and makerspace "Pole" in Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine). Anna leads on a wide range of projects, specializing in spatial research and design, product design, community-led public space projects, and institutional planning.


    Anna was studying at the technical universities of Lviv (Ukraine) and Vienna (Austria), she was a part of the first Studio by CANactions School For Urban Studies, developing Urban Constitution for Ivano-Frankivsk. She has more than 10 years of experience in urbanism, architecture, and design in Ukraine and Austria.


    Anna and the team work on a city development laboratory Metalab supporting a socially equal, spatially comfortable, culturally rich, environmentally responsible, economically balanced city (environment).

    In order to reach these goals, Metalab aims to create a supportive environment, a field for experiments, where the social and spatial potential of the city can be developed and tested in practice.


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    Zugdidi Municipality, Georgia

    Mamuka Tsotseria

    Mamuka Tsotseria currently serves as the Mayor of Zugdidi Municipality, having been elected in October 2021. He was born on January 10, 1974, and pursued higher education at Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, where he completed his studies in Macroeconomics from 1996 to 2001. He holds a MA degree in International Relations from the Georgia Diplomatic Academy, which he earned in 1997.

    Mamuka Tsotseria's career has been marked by a series of impactful roles. Before becoming mayor, he held the position of Chairman of Zugdidi Municipality City Council from 2017 to 2021, demonstrating exemplary leadership skills. In addition to his political roles, Mamuka Tsotseria established and directed the Georgia Trade-Industrial Chamber, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to economic growth.


    He also made significant contributions to the Tbilisi City Hall Property Management Agency, where he worked as an Economic Advisor and Head of the Investment Projects and Marketing Department.

    Mamuka Tsotseria's diverse experience has shaped him into a dedicated public servant with a keen understanding of economics and governance.

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    CHÔRA's Climate Change domain lead

    Emma Presutti

    Emma leads CHÔRA's Climate Change domain and her recent focus has been developing CHÔRA's Climate Impact Investment proposition. Emma has led projects in the public and private spheres, and has sector experience in energy, resources, electricity and circular economy transition.


    She previously worked at Boston Consulting Group, where she was a key member of the Energy Practice and Climate-KIC Australia. Emma holds a Bachelor of Renewable Energy Engineering and Arts from the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

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    Project Manager

    AFD (Agence Française de Développement)

    Tülin Keyik

    Tülin has recently been appointed as Project Manager responsible for Transport, Urban development and non-sovereign sectors for Georgia and Azerbaïjan at the AFD South-Caucasus office in Tbilisi.


    She was previously based in Istanbul at AFD Turkey office where she was a Project manager in charge of municipal financing, managing major sustainable infrastructure projects in urban transportation and water & sanitation with important municipalities such as Istanbul, Izmir or Ankara. As an alumni of the College of Europe, Tülin also has a strong background in EU external action and especially in enlargement and neighborhood policies. 

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    Associate Director, Senior Banker, Sustainable Infrastructure Group


    Denis Gaiovy

    Denis Gaiovy is the lead EBRD Banker in charge of municipal and transport (railways)sectors operations in Ukraine, dealing with sectors policy dialogue as well as preparation and implementation of the EBRD funded investment projects in both municipal and transport sectors of Ukraine. Municipal Investment portfolio of the Bank in Ukraine exceeds EUR 0.8bn in 19 municipalities across Ukraine while Cumulative Transport Investment Portfolio is circa EUR 2.5bn. Since the start of the Russian war on Ukraine, under Denis’s leadership the Bank has committed urgently needed funding to support critical municipal and transport (railways) infrastructure to the total amount of circa EUR 350m (consisting of both loans and grants) with further EUR 250m under consideration.


    Over the recent years, Denis has been leading EBRD projects and project teams in the municipal and transport (railways) sector of Ukraine covering both sovereign and sub-sovereign projects, capital market transactions, municipal deals in subsectors of public transport, district heating, energy efficiency in public buildings, water and wastewater, solid waste management and urban roads.


      Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia

      Mzia Giorgobiani

      Mzia Giorgobiani has many-years experience of working in managerial positions in public sector.

      During her experience in the Ministry of Finance she went through different career stages from the position of the Advisor of Humanitarian and Technical Assistance Department to the Deputy Head of State and Foreign Funding Department, where she was coordinating development of cooperation strategy with international partners, as well as implementation of obligations under Association Agreement Between Georgia and EU; she worked at international finance institutions and in investments projects, funded by the partners of Georgian public sector, participated in annual and intermediate budget planning. At the early stage of her career, she worked at “Sakteleponmsheni” (JSC) as an accountant.

      Mrs. Mzia has the experience of working with international finance institutions.

      She was the participant of Voice Secondment Program in the World Bank. Her competences included analysis of experience of global projects of the Bank, awareness rising concerning activities, products and procedures of the World Bank. Prior to appointment in the position of Deputy Minister, he held the position of Deputy Head of Department of the State Debt and Foreign Funding of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia.


        City Advisor & Creative Bureaucracy Festival President

        Charles Landry

        Charles Landry is the inventor of the Creative Bureaucracy concept and co-founder of the Festival in Berlin. He wrote a  a series of nine short books including The Creative Bureaucracy; Psychology & the City,; The Digitized City: Influence & Impact; Cities of Ambition.

        Charles helps cities assess their potential afresh. He sees himself as a 'critical friend' to the cities he works with. He seeks to inspire, stimulate, challenge and facilitate. He combines a global perspective with an acute sense of what matters locally. He grounds ideas in practical projects.  

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        Director, Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies

        Gorka Espiau 

        Gorka Espiau Idoiaga (PhD) is the Director at the “Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies”, a University of the Basque Country and Columbia University (AC4) collaborative research initiative to share the Basque case of socio-economic transformation under extreme difficulties internationally.

        Espiau is also a founding partner of Social Innovation Laboratory Koop (SILK) and Scientific Director of  Work4Progress initiative powered by La Caixa Foundation.

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        International Programme &

        Partnerships Lead

        Creative Bureaucracy Festival

        Robyn Bennet

        Robyn Bennett oversees the festival’s international programme and collaborations with a growing global network of cities, governance organizations, academic institutions, and other actors focused on strengthening democracy.

        She has extensive experience in facilitating learning experiences, strategy processes, and other forms of exchange between transdisciplinary actors.

        With a focus on bridging diverse ideas and agendas, weaving strategic narratives, and nurturing networks, she is passionate about the enabling the relational change needed to accelerate systems change.

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        Project Manager, Financial Analyst
        Fondazione MeSSInA

        Giacomo Pinaffo

        Giacomo Pinaffo holds a degree in Business Economics and a Master's in Economics of Local Development.


        He has focused his entire career of study and work on the social economy sector and was project manager for the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks and its financial instrument, investing in several social enterprises throughout Europe.


        He was also Impact Manager at SEFEA IMPACT (Asset Management Company dedicated to impact investing strategies).

        Since the beginning of 2020 he joined the MeSSInA Foundation, where he currently manages international networking and projects.

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        Executive Director


        Adrian Brown

        Adrian is the Executive Director of the Centre for Public Impact which he helped to found in 2015. He is a regular commentator on public policy and government effectiveness and has 20 years experience working with governments, NGOs and social sector organisations around the world.


        Prior to CPI, Adrian was a Principal in the London office of the Boston Consulting Group where he specialised in a range of topics including commissioning strategies, organisational design, cost reduction and digital transformation. He is a global expert on impact investing and is the author of several influential reports on the topic including The First Billion, a forecast of social investment demand in the UK.


        Adrian previously held a range of positions in the UK government, including stints at the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, the Strategy Unit and as a policy adviser in the Prime Minister's Office.

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        Programme Manager, Global Development Initiative, Service Designer

        Javiera Godoy

        Javiera is a design leader and architect with over a decade of experience, specializing in strategy and service design, urban transformation, public innovation, and co-design for governments, changemakers, and global development organizations. These include Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), UNDP, UNWTO, CAF – Development Bank of Latin America,, along with central and local governments across Latin America. She serves as the Programme Manager at CPI's Global Development Initiative.


        In her previous role as a Service Design Lead at Unit, Javiera spearheaded Bloomberg's Mayors Challenge program. She collaborated with CPI, supporting city leaders from 10 Latin American cities in designing innovative solutions for responding to complex urban challenges and serving their communities. As a Lecturer and Knowledge Exchange Facilitator at the University of the Arts London, Javiera took a central role in driving the two-year program 'Co-design Your Place', funded by Erasmus+ EU. This initiative effectively established a network of over 100 young changemakers who were equipped with service design tools, enabling them to tackle urban transformation challenges across Europe.


        In addition to her work at CPI, Javiera serves as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of the Arts London and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where she mentors the next generation of changemakers.

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        DEEP Ecosystems

        Thomas Kösters

        Thomas is building ecosystems in Europe since more than 12 years. He has set up and run numerous international startup programs, including for Microsoft Ventures in Germany and EIT Digital in pre-seed stage in 20 countries in CEE and Southern Europe.


        As managing director of DEEP, he is co-creating a global community of innovation leaders and ecosystem builders.

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        Innovation designer, design strategist and environmental advocate

        Gyorgyi Galik

        Gyorgyi brings seventeen years of experience in innovation and service design, having worked in the public, private, and third sectors. Her specialisation spans behavioural and environmental sciences, with a strong understanding of human development, as well as the built and natural environment.


        She is currently the ‘City Transitions Mission’ Co-Lead at Dark Matter Labs. Previously Gyorgyi worked as the Head of Strategic Partnerships at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose as well as Design Council’s Lead Advisor of the Architecture and Built Environment Team and later as the interim Head of Social Innovation. Alongside her work, she also did a PhD in Innovation Design Engineering at the School of Design, Royal College of Art in London. Her research focused on design for sustainability, social psychology, collective action, and climate change.

        Gyorgyi's work highlights some of the misleading political, economic, and technological narratives that have been shaping our perception of sustainability and the climate crisis. In her talk, she will share a set of insights from social psychology and behavioural science that could help improve and sustain wider engagement around these complex matters. Gyorgyi will provide some practical ways to develop the necessary institutional capabilities and innovation in governance arrangements to enable and sustain collective action.  

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        Artcor Creative Industries Center

        Viorica Cerbusca

        Viorica Cerbusca is a visionary entrepreneur and a prominent figure in the Moldovan startup ecosystem. With an extensive background in entrepreneurship, business development, and advocacy, she has made significant contributions to the growth and empowerment of startups and small businesses in Moldova. 


        Viorica is the driving force behind the Artcor Creative Industries Center and the Founder & CEO of Yep!Moldova, a startup accelerator established in January 2018. Her leadership has been instrumental in nurturing early-stage startups and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in Moldova. Yep!Moldova's mission is to inspire and cultivate a new generation of entrepreneurs by promoting entrepreneurial learning and providing valuable tools to turn dreams into successful startups. 


        For two decades, Viorica has been the visionary founder of NIKA Generation, an organization dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and transforming innovative ideas into thriving businesses. NIKA Generation's approach focuses on accelerating the entrepreneurial ecosystem through Networking, Investments, Knowledge, and Advocacy (N-I-K-A).

        Viorica and her team are committed to promoting the concept of responsible business among SMEs, startups, government bodies, and the community.

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        Team Leader

        Innovation, UNDP Europe and Central Asia.

        Lejla Sadiku

        Lejla is the Team Leader for Innovation at UNDP Europe and Central Asia. She works on deploying system transformation frameworks to address complex development challenges.


        Her interests lie in how policy makers can embrace uncertainty and effectively deploy new approaches.


        Prior to UNDP, she worked with Norwegian development assistance and the World Bank in the area of human development.

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        Mission Lead

        Dm Capital

        Dark Matter Labs

        Raj Kalia

        Raj is Mission Lead of Dm Capital at Dark Matter Labs, and works across different sectors and cities to develop the financial instruments and mechanisms that are needed to build the novel infrastructures required for our cities in the 21st century. His work includes the valuation of analysis of natural capital.


        With 25+ years of international experience in senior capital markets and asset management roles at global banks, Raj managed over $8.0bn in structured finance securitisations and derivatives.


        He developed new markets and structured financing and indexed instruments for hedge fund strategies.


        At Deutsche Bank in New York and London, he helped build the bank's hedge fund financing / origination as European head of Structured Funds & Derivatives Group, in Frankfurt as head of FI Risk Advisory Group.


        At WestLB, he led the bank's balance sheet hedge fund investment group and CLO securitisations.

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        Ceadîr-Lunga, Moldova

        Anatolii Topal

        Anatolii Topal, the Mayor of Ceadîr-Lunga, is a visionary leader at the forefront of driving sustainable urban development in Moldova. His unwavering commitment to transitioning his city to renewable energy sources and fostering energy independence has been exemplified through his pioneering role in the Portfolio Project.


        Mayor Topal's leadership is characterized by his embrace of innovative strategies to tackle complex challenges. His advocacy for a portfolio approach to urban sustainability has transformed Ceadîr-Lunga into a beacon of green energy adoption and efficiency. Under his guidance, the municipality has harnessed the power of multifaceted initiatives, demonstrating the capacity to address a myriad of urban sustainability issues concurrently.


        An advocate for partnerships and resource mobilization, Mayor Topal has forged collaborations with organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU). These partnerships have enabled the municipality to access critical funding and expertise, further augmenting their capacity to drive change.

        Furthermore, Anatolii Topal's leadership has ushered in a transformative shift in mindsets within Ceadîr-Lunga. His dedication to community engagement and participatory decision-making has empowered citizens and organizations to actively participate in the city's sustainable energy transition. Through his vision and guidance, the city has embarked on a journey of shared ownership, elevated awareness, and sustainable behavior change.

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        Expert in the field of infrastructure and urban development

        Emma Baghdasaryan

        Emma Baghdasaryan manages the planning, scoping and early stages of implementation of all Gyumri portfolio projects together with both state and international (USAID, TUF) organizations, acting as the main contact person for the local authorities and the organizations implementing the city development program.


        She has led a team of urban planners, architects and designers in “Kumayri Revival” historical restoration project. Coordinator of the main activities of investment projects in Gyumri, of restoration and operation of green zones.

        Emma has experience in resource management and flexibility in working with local self-governance bodies, which gives her the opportunity to involve new partners.


        Emma previously worked in the Shirak Regional Government as an assistant to the Regional governor and coordinated the fields of urban development, culture and tourism.


          Visualisation lead


          Cara Stewart

          Positioning herself at the intersections of systems innovation and visual design, Cara brings a deep interest in the role of space, visual abstraction, and representation to inform strategic and trans-contextual design efforts.


          She has designed and facilitated workshops and led the conceptualisation and development process of CHÔRA’s Sensemaking Kit.


          As CHÔRA’s visualisation lead, Cara designs and contributes to developing multi-dimensional social system models and user-friendly collaboration tools to facilitate projects and programs across the tourism, cities and development space.

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          Sarajevo Film Festival

          Ines Radić

          Ines Radić was student of production at Academy of Performing Arts – Sarajevo. Troughout her education she produced 5 student films. She just finished her documentary graduation film ”MLADA”.


          Ines was a member of the Association of Students of Academy of Performing Arts, where she worked as line producer of the student theater festival – POSTFEST. From 2020 to 2021 she worked on podcast POSTCAST. For the third year in a row she has been working at Ponta Lopud festival as coordinator for the DOP Masterclass.


          From 2020 to the end of 2022 she worked as the manager of the Cineplexx Mostar. Ines is currently working as a producer on the series ”OJUŽILO” with director Bobo Jelčić.

          In 2018, Ines worked at the Sarajevo Film Festival as an assistant in Avant Premiere programme and project Sunny Side of the Federation. From 2020 to 2022 Ines was coordinator of the Sarajevo Film Festival in Mostar. She is currently project manager of Sarajevo city of film – UNESCO project and she works on various projects related to Obala Art Centar as Open Air Programme Coordinator and Location Manager during the festival.

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          Hilton Batumi,
          40 Rustaveli Ave, Batumi 6010


          Useful city tips



          There are several options to get from the Batumi International Airport (BUS) to the meeting venue.



          ❖ Piazza Batumi 

          Batumi Botanical Garden 

          and more

          ❖ Mtirala National Park


          General information

          Time, wheather, currency, etc.






          The Mayors for Economic Growth Facility (M4EG), a joint initiative of the EU & UNDP, supports local authorities and communities to develop new growth trajectories. The regional network of local authorities has increased to more than 400 diverse members with a clear interest to engage and be frontrunners in new solution pathways. Over 120 local authorities applied to join the Portfolio Journey, that supports cities in achieving their vision, and over 180 local authorities in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine requested support for urban response and renewal. 

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