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Keynote Dr. Samantha Stratton-Short (UNOPS)

Keynote Dr. Samantha Stratton-Short (UNOPS)

Head of Strategic Initiatives, Infrastructure and Project Management · UNOPS

Connecting, Protecting and Providing for a Sustainable Future

Despite progress on sustainable development that leaves no one behind, inequalities between peoples remain high.  Progress on sustainable development is threatened by numerous crises: health, such as the COVID-19 pandemic; energy shortages; instability and conflict; and the climate change crisis.  

Infrastructure plays a central role in the achievement of global agendas to ensure sustainable, resilient and inclusive development.  It influences up to 92% of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and is an important pathway to delivering on the Paris Agreement.  The way infrastructure is planned, delivered and managed can, however, transpire either as a risk or as an opportunity for global development. Because infrastructure is built to last and is generally expensive, it can lock in development patterns for decades. It is therefore critical to get it right.


Samantha has over 20 years’ international experience managing programmes and advising with governments, foundations, international finance institutions, NGOs and donors.  She is originally an architect with a PhD in sustainable development from Cambridge and a career in sustainability and resilience of urban infrastructure. Prior to UNOPS, Samantha led Arup’s International Development in Asia, based in the Philippines, focused primarily on climate resilience and urbanization.