Oslo Governance Centre

About us

Our team

Arvinn Gadgil, Director

Arvinn has been engaged in governance and development policy for almost 20 years. Before joining UNDP he was Policy Director for International Development Policy in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Recently he has focused on issues such as domestic resource mobilization, addressing illicit financial flows, anti-corruption, fiscal stability, and global economic governance. He has also led a system-wide development policy analysis network to improve Norwegian development policy engagements.

Arvinn has been Senior Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council and has held a number of board positions in academic institutions, civil society organizations and inter-governmental institutions. He held the roles of State Secretary, Deputy Minister and Junior Minister for international development, climate and environment over a period of six years in Norway. Trained as a career diplomat, he has also worked in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.  

Arvinn holds degrees in development studies, economics and international studies from the UK and Norway.  He is a Norwegian citizen, and an overseas citizen of India.

Simon Alexis Finley, Research Advisor

Simon has over fifteen years’ experience working on research, policy and programme development in governance and conflict prevention. In 2014 Simon joined UNDPs Bangkok Regional Hub and developed its approach on Preventing Violent Extremism in Asia. The innovative approach saw the creation of #ExtremeLives, an online video series bringing the stories of communities affected by violent extremism to a global audience with over 20 million online views. Prior to this Simon was UNDP’s Electoral Advisor for Asia and the Pacific, worked with the World Bank’s Conflict and Development Programme in Indonesia, and was a researcher for the Australian National University on regulatory governance. He has worked in over 20 countries and has a Ph.D. in Identity-Based Conflict from the Australian National University.

Niamh Hanafin, Senior Advisor, Information Integrity

joined UNDP in 2020 in response to growing calls from country offices for support and guidance on COVID19 disinformation.  Prior to UNDP, Niamh spent 8 years with Search for Common Ground, leading multi-million-dollar peacebuilding portfolios in Africa and Asia and also worked for Save the Children Norway, BBC Media Action, UNICEF and Health Unlimited, among others, designing and managing innovative communications programming promoting children, youth, and women's rights. She has over 20 years' experience in communication for social change, specialising in journalism, television and radio production. Niamh holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Dublin City University and a Masters in Communication for Development from Malmo University. She speaks English, French, and Portuguese.  She has lived in Cambodia, Laos, Mozambique, Angola and Madagascar and worked in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and CAR. 

Aparna Basnyat, Senior Research and Policy Advisor, SDG16

Aparna has over 15 years of experience working on rule of law, human rights, and governance policy and programming at country, regional and global levels. She has supported UNDP country offices in the Asia Pacific and the Arab States regions, most recently as the Policy and Programme Specialist with the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights Team in the Crisis Bureau where she focussed on engagement on access to justice and SDG 16. She has advised on country programming on rule of law across different development settings, supported inter-agency cooperation and partnerships with civil society on access to justice as well as led research and policy development on justice and human rights. Aparna holds a Masters in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Tufts University.

Mariana Neves, Governance Statistics Specialist

Mariana has previously worked for the National Statistics Office of Cabo Verde, where she coordinated Governance, Peace and Security Statistics at the national, regional and global level. In this capacity, she was the coordinator of the Group Praia on Governance Statistics. She represented her country in the negotiations and design of the Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. From 2016, Mariana worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the reform of crime and criminal justice statistics systems in Uganda and Kenya, having also worked in the assessment of Trafficking Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Statistics in Eastern Africa. Mariana holds a Post-Graduate Degree in Data Analysis for Social Science

Julia Kercher, Senior Expert

Julia joins the Oslo Governance Centre as the Senior Expert on Governance and Peacebuilding (SDG 16) with a focus on monitoring of SDG 16, interlinkages of SDG 16 with other SDGs, and mechanisms for inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement. Julia first worked for UNDP from 2006-2012, then on the SDGs’ predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Between her two assignments with UNDP, Julia was with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights where she coordinated the High Commissioner’s input to the negotiations of the 2030 Agenda, and, most recently, the German Institute for Human Rights on implementing the SDGs in Germany. Julia started her career working for NGOs such as Amnesty International, CARE International and Transparency International. She holds a law degree and a Masters degree in "Development Practice" from Oxford Brookes University.

Aseem Andrews, Policy Specialist - Knowledge Management

Aseem Andrews brings to the Organization a diverse background of about 15 years, in development, knowledge management, research, innovation and crisis prevention and recovery. From 2010, Aseem worked as the New York based Knowledge Management Specialist for UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR). Just prior to joining UNDP/BCPR, he worked with the National Disaster Management Authority of the Government of India. Before this, Aseem was involved in Disaster Risk Management and Capacity building functions in the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Namibia for three years after having worked as a Drought and Development Network Manager for the UNDP Drylands Development Center (DDC) in Nairobi. Also in Nairobi, Aseem served in the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), providing support to the Regional Disaster Response for Central and East Africa regions and the Inter-Agency Working Group for Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Planning. Aseem has also worked as the Executive Officer for Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi, from 2002 – 2004. Aseem holds a MBA from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

Ulrika Jonsson, Programme Analyst, SDG 16 

Ulrika joined the Oslo Governance Centre for her third JPO year working as a programme analyst in the area of SDG 16, supporting the implementation, coordination and reporting of the indicators falling under UNDP custodianship, including support and guidance on measurement of the goal. She also supports development of a monitoring methodology of goal 16 as well as guidance in the area of data innovations. Prior to this, Ulrika was a JPO at the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub working in the Governance and Peacebuilding team leading the work on SDG 16 coordination and country office support and for accelerating the nationalization and monitoring processes of the goal in the ECIS region. A major area of her work related to strengthening the leaving no one behind principles, including integrating human rights-based approaches to SDG 16 data. Prior to joining UNDP, she worked with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in Nairobi, Mogadishu and Stockholm as a programme manager in peacebuilding and reconciliation as well as supported Sweden’s work in the women, peace and security agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ulrika’s main areas of work include: SDG 16, inclusive governance, gender equality, and conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She can be reached at ulrika.jonsson@undp.org

Torni Iren Johansen, Administrative Assistant

Torni Iren Johansen is as Administrative Assistant at the Oslo Governance Centre. Torni has more than 30 years of experience in administrative work. She has previously worked for the Norwegian Defence and has served abroad in a military capacity on several occasions. Torni also worked for 4 years at NATO HQ as an executive assistant before working for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2001. While with DPKO she was posted to Kosovo, Lebanon and Haiti, working mostly with the Board of Inquiry. Torni moved to UNDP and the Oslo Governance Centre in 2008. 

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