Björn Alfthan & Matthias Jurek – No time to waste for the mountains!

Björn Alfthan

NorwayEnvironment Program Director, Grid-Arendal Foundation

Björn works at GRID-Arendal, a Norwegian organisation which supports the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on environmental communications and outreach. He specialises in producing visual, communicative assessments and other products to communicate scientific information to policy makers, examples of which include the “Waste Outlook for Mountain Regions” and “Himalayan Climate and Water Atlas”. He has ongoing projects with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal, with the UNEP office in Vienna, and with other mountain knowledge centres. Björn is a keen ski randonneur and regularly spends time in the Aravis (Haute-Savoie, France).

Matthias Jurek

AustriaProgram Management Officer of UN Environment, Vienna

As Programme Management Officer of UN Environment, based in Vienna, Matthias manages a number of flagship projects and initiatives related to sustainable mountain development with a particular focus on climate change adaptation, ecosystem management, environmental governance and use of earth observation. Matthias, born in Vienna/Austria, graduated in law at the University of Vienna (Faculty of Law) and has specialized himself in international law and relations with a particular focus on environmental issues. Previously, he has been working with UN Environment’s collaborating centre GRID-Arendal, European Research and serving in the Legal Office of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs as well as has been working for various NGOs, think tanks (inter alia dealing with security and peace/conflict issues) and other institutions before that. Matthias is a passionate mountaineer and climber; and has also a strong passion for Arctic-related issues.