TESS aims to be flexible and nimble. Focused on leveraging partnerships, TESS is run by a small core staff covering the following functions: strategic direction and program development; policy advice; program coordination; partnerships and donor relations; communications and event management.

Dr. Carolyn Deere Birkbeck is the Director of the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs, a partnership between the Graduate Institute and UNEP, housed at the Geneva Trade Platform.  She is also a Senior Researcher at the Institute’s Global Governance Centre, where she leads a research project on the political economy and regulation of the global plastics economy, supported by the Swiss Network of International Studies. She is an Associate Fellow of the Chatham House and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Global Economic Governance Programme.

Dr. Deere Birkbeck is the founder and Board Chair of Global Policy Reporting, a Geneva-based non-profit organisation dedicated to open access, independent and professional news reporting, which houses Health Policy Watch (launched in 2019) and Intellectual Property Watch for the prior 15 years. Before moving to academia, Dr. Deere Birkbeck served as an Assistant Director at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York where she was responsible for grantmaking on intellectual property, trade and sustainable development.  Previously, she worked in Washington, D.C. for the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and as the Manager of the Congressional Staff Forum on International Development at the Overseas Development Council. 

Carolyn has been a consultant to a range of non-governmental and international organisations, including UNEP, UNCTAD, Chatham House, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Commonwealth Secretariat, UNDP’s Office of the Human Development Report, the National Wildlife Federation, the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy, the Open Society Institute, the South Centre and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).

Carolyn is the author of Greening International Trade: Pathways Forward (TESS and partners, 2021), The Governance of WIPO: A Reference Guide (Edward Elgar Press, 2016) and Governing the World Intellectual Property Organization: The Power Politics of Institutional Crisis and Reform (forthcoming). She is also the editor of Making Global Trade Governance Work for Development: Perspectives and Priorities from Developing Countries (Cambridge University Press 2011), author of The Implementation Game: The TRIPS Agreement and the Global Politics of Intellectual Property Reform in Developing Countries (Oxford University Press 2009, paperback 2011), and the co-editor (with Dan Esty) of Greening the Americas: NAFTA’s Lessons for Hemispheric Trade (MIT Press 2002). She holds a DPhil in International Relations (University College, Oxford), an MA in International Relations (Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies) and a bachelors degree in political economy from the University of Sydney.

Christophe Bellmann is the Head of Policy Analysis and Strategy at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of International Trade (IIT) of the University of Adelaide, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, and a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (TRAPCA), Arusha, Tanzania. Since 2014 he also serves as adviser to the group of least developed countries (LDCs) and that of the ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) in WTO negotiations. His work focuses on trade and environment, climate change, clean energy and the circular economy; agriculture and food security; oceans and fisheries; trade, development and structural transformation; industrial policy; and multilateral and regional trade negotiations.

Prior to joining TESS, Mr. Bellmann was a Senior Policy Advisor at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the head of programmes and Senior Resident Research Associate at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). Over the course of his career, he has worked in different capacities for various international organizations including FAO, UNCTAD, the OECD, the WTO and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

He holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. Mr. Bellmann has published over 60 articles and papers and  edited 9 books on the trade and sustainable development interface. He is fluent in English, French and Spanish.


Mahesh Sugathan is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS), and an independent trade and sustainability expert. His research and analysis on trade and investment policies, negotiations and agreements relevant to sustainable development spans issues such as environmental technologies and services, plastic pollution and plastic substitutes, climate change, agriculture, biodiversity, and clean energy, to circular economy, product standards and labelling.

Mahesh has been a consultant for a range of international organisations including the World Bank, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the ACP Secretariat.

Fabrice Lehmann is Senior Editor and Publications Manager at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS). He also works as senior editorial and communications advisor to international organizations and institutions, including the International Trade Centre (ITC).  Fabrice has published many publications on sustainable development and international economic relations both as a writer and editor. He holds a Masters degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Fabrice enjoys reading contemporary literature as well as cycling, ski mountaineering, and trekking.

Oscar Haro is the Head of Operations at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs.  His role is to oversee and monitor the implementation of TESS’ processes and core activities, and also to support the TESS Director in the day to day management of TESS activities, as well as monitoring and evaluation.

Oscar joined us on 2 May 2022 from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies where he was responsible for coordinating all logistical and administrative aspects of the Executive Education programmes.

Prior to that, he worked for 18 years as Manager of IATA’s International Airline Training Fund, a non-profit organisation aimed at strengthening skills and capacities of aviation professionals in developing nations, with a particular focus on Africa, Asia and the South Pacific.

Oscar’s initial exposure to the field of trade and sustainable development goes back to the first 5 years of existence of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), where he worked as Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the Executive Director.

Oscar holds a translator degree from the University of Geneva (French, English, Spanish) and an MSc in European Business and Languages from the London South Bank University.

Zachary Alvarado is Communications and Publications Officer at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS). Before joining TESS, Zachary served as the External Communications Coordinator for Geneva Peace Week and interned at the U.S. Mission to Geneva under the multilateral economic and political affairs division.  He holds a Master’s in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) as well as a BA in International Affairs and Modern Foreign Languages: Spanish from James Madison University.

Eugene James joined TESS as Dialogues Manager. He brings over 10 years of combined work experience in project management, government relations, and research in the field of trade law and policy. Prior to joining TESS, he worked in a Geneva based trade advisory practice serving a diverse group of Ambassadors and Experts from developing and least developed country delegations in following issues before the WTO and providing advisory service on active negotiating files. He holds an LLM in International Trade and Commercial Law from the University of Essex, a Master in International Business from Grenoble Ecole de Management and Double Bachelor in International Relations and Management from Webster University. He is a Swiss national, of Indian origin. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, discovering new cultures, reading history and spending time with his family.

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