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.

Marianne Kettunen is a Senior Policy Advisor and Head of Partnerships at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS). Her role at TESS is to provide strategic leadership and policy advice on several thematic issues central to more sustainable trade, including biodiversity, natural resources and sustainable agriculture, and circular economy and climate change. She also leads the development and implementation of partnerships with stakeholders, including through the TESS International Advisory Network.

Marianne has over 15 years of experience on the science-policy interface for sustainable development in Europe and globally. During her career Marianne has worked on multiple climate, environment and trade policy agendas, cooperating with a range of international governmental and non-governmental organisations including UNEP, UNDP, UNCTAD, IUCN, the World Bank, the European Commission and  Parliament, national governments, and international think tanks and NGOs. She has led numerous multi-stakeholder projects and initiatives aimed at supporting sustainable policy- and decision-making in Europe and globally. She is an experienced speaker, convener and facilitator, and author of several topical policy-oriented publications on sustainable trade with links to circular economy, biodiversity and climate.

Marianne holds a MSc from the University of Turku, Finland, with focus on biodiversity research and development cooperation. Before joining TESS she was leading the Programme on Global Challenges and SDGs at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP).


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

He 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.


Michael Omumbwa is the Events and Communications Coordinator at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS). His background is predominantly in the field of Hospitality Management, having spent 10 years in the Middle East working for some of the finest hotels and resorts in the region. Prior to this engagement, Michael served as General Manager of an award-winning restaurant in Doha, Qatar. He brings forward a unique approach to work strongly focused on quality improvement.

Deepashree is a Programme and Research Associate at the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS). As a young professional in the development sector, she has worked with international organisations like Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) of the MENA region and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) New York office, and Government of Madhya Pradesh and Pratham Education Foundation in India.

Some of her past projects include: water governance analysis in Jordan and Lebanon; analysis of drinking water supplied by urban local bodies in Madhya Pradesh; evaluation of flagship programmes of Government of Madhya Pradesh, government teacher training and recruitment, and the importance of nutrition in early childhood in India. This work has included program planning and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, issue-based research, and capacity building.

Deepashree has an undergraduate degree in electronics and communication engineering, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Development Studies, with a specialization in Environment, Resources and Sustainability, at the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies in Geneva. Her masters thesis is focused on the “Debate around Net-Zero in India and Indian agriculture”.

As a young professional committed to contribute to a collective global agenda for creating more inclusive and sustainable societies, Purvi has worked as a versatile researcher and enabler for various projects in the fields of Economic Policy, Trade & Sustainable Development. 

Having worked with organisations such as the 4IP Group – Impact Investing & Financial Advisory Boutique, the Institute of Development Studies Jaipur, Foreign Policy Research Centre Delhi, and  the Directorate of Statistics & Economics – Government of Rajasthan, she has had a diverse range of experiences with projects ranging from impact investing & ESG principles to  the implementation of rural health policies in India. 

Purvi has an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Delhi and is currently pursuing a Masters in International Affairs, with a focus on Trade and International Finance and Environment, Resources and Sustainability, at the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies in Geneva. She is presently working on her Capstone Project with UNCTAD, titled ‘Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development: A Comparative Analysis on Policy Impact’.

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