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Bureau of the Committee

At its annual session the Committee elects its members, who supervise the implementation of the programme of work between sessions. The current composition of the Bureau is:


Ms. Elena SZOLGAYOVA, Chair
Director General, DG Housing Policy and Urban Development 
Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development 
Námestie slobody 6 
810 05 Bratislava 15, Slovakia


Elena SZOLGAYOVÁ, an architect and urban planner with long-standing research experience, has been advising state and municipal housing policy makers since the early 1990s. In 1999 she joined the Ministry of Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic, where she has been acting as Director of the Housing Policy Department since 2004, and recently, at the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development. She has been involved in numerous UNECE and EC housing activities and Working groups targeted at housing and urban development and has contributed to numerous UNECE and research publications related to urban and housing issues.


Mr. Ali Musa JAFAROV 
Chief of the Cadastre Department 
State Land Surveying Institute
State Committee of Land and Cartography 
Baku, Azerbaijan


Ms. Alena RAKAVA
Deputy Head of Regional Planning and Urban Planning Department
Ministry of Architecture and Construction
Minsk, Belarus


Head of Industry and Trade
Société d'habitation du Québec
Québec, Canada

Mr. Vézina holds a degree in Economics from York University in Toronto and an MBA from Laval University in Quebec City.

He began his career as the founding president of Gamma Conseils, a consulting office specializing in Laval University MBA management. He then joined the public sector in 1991, working for the Bureau de l'efficacité énergétique du Québec (Quebec Energy Efficiency Agency) within the Ministry of Energy and Resources. In 1996, he joined the economic and business studies unit of the Department for the development of the forest products industry. He worked mainly on market development and on certain special files, notably one involving the softwood lumber dispute with the U.S. and another concerning wood use strategy. After a stint at the Quebec Ministry of Finances, he was in charge of coordination at the assistant deputy minister’s office of the Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade. 

Since 2013, Mr. Vézina has been head of the Export and Industry team at the Société d’habitation du Québec, where he devotes himself to projects focused on developing Quebec’s sustainable housing industry.


Czech Republic

Director of the European Affairs Department
Ministry of Regional Development
Staromestské námesti 6
110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic


Daniela GRABMÜLLEROVÁ, Director of the European Affairs Department of the Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic, is responsible for European and international affairs of the Ministry as well as the preparation of the policy aimed at economic, social and territorial cohesion in the Czech Republic in the programming period 2014-2020, including the negotiation of the new European legislation in this field. She chaired the UNECE Committee on Human Settlements and now she is a member of the Bureau of the Committee on Housing and Land Management. She was involved, as a twice elected independent candidate, in the Prague 1 Municipality Council. Her educational background includes an MBA degree from the Sheffield Hallam University and PhD from the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague.



Head of Division
Ministry of Housing, Urban Affairs and Rural Districts
Holmens Kanal 22
1060 Copenhagen, Denmark


Head of Spatial Planning and Construction Policy Department
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development
Tbilisi, Georgia

David Gigineishvili, Head of Spatial Planning and Policy Department of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, is responsible  for implementing, coordinating, managing and monitoring the policy in the field of spatial planning and construction activities in Georgia. These activities involve defining short, medium and long-term strategies of internal territorial development and spatial palnning.

David was born in Kyiv, Ukraine and now lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is MSc graduate of Engineering from the Faculty of Civil and Industrial Engineering of the Georgian Technical University.


Ms. Shulamith GERTEL
Urban and Regional Planner
Senior Planning Coordinator, Department of Urban Planning
Ministry of Construction and Housing
Kiryat Hamemshala
P.O.B. 18110
91180 East Jerusalem, Israel



Mr. Stefano SCALERA
Agenzia def Demanio
Rome, Italy


Chief Desk Officer of Housing Division
Construction and Housing Department
Ministry of Environment
Vilnius, Lithuania


Ms. Inger Vold ZAPFFE
Norwegian State Housing Bank
Snarøya, Norway


Ms. Maria José FESTAS
Senior Advisor
Directorate General of Territorial Development
Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy
Rua Artilharia Um, 107
1099-052 Lisboa, Portugal


Ms. Svetlana RISTIC
Chief of the Housing Department
Ministry of Construction and Urbanism of the Republic of Serbia
Kralja Milutina 10a
11000 Belgrade, Serbia


Svetlana RISTIĆ was born in 1960 in Nova Gradiška, Croatia and now lives in Belgrade, Serbia. She is a graduate of Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade. Since 1989, she has been working at the FRY and Serbian administration, in the field of environmental (national environmental reviews, sustainable development indicators, environmental legislation) and housing affairs (preparation of strategic document, housing legislation, etc). She is actively involved in housing reforms in Serbia; has participated in international cooperation in the area of environmental and housing issues; has published expert papers related to sustainable development, housing policy, and cultural heritage. She is the Chief of the Housing Department in the Ministry of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Serbia.


Mr. Abduvali KOMILOV
Agency for Construction and Architecture under the Government of Tajikistan 
Dushanbe, Tajikistan



Department of State Programmes and Housing Construction 
Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services 
Kyiv, Ukraine

Mr. Nepomnyashchii holds a PhD in Public Administration and has more than 20 years of experience in the field of housing. He also actively participates in the activities of the UNECE.

He is the Director of the Department of State Programmes and Housing Construction Development of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine. He is one of the authors of a public housing program and of a housing legislation. Alexander successfully combines scientific and administrative work.

United Kingdom

Chief Executive 
HM Land Registry for England and Wales 
Croydon, United Kingdom

Ed Lester is Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive of HM Land Registry for England and Wales.


An accountant, Ed worked in the oil and banking industries. He was a Treasurer and Head of Corporate Finance for the Finance House of HSBC before he became Chief Executive of Motability Finance in 1994, He worked at the Office of Government Commerce before joining the Student Loans Company as Chief Executive. He led this organization through a period of major transformation, taking it into the digital world and where it became an early model of the government’s ‘Digital by Default’ programme.


Head of Investment, International Cooperation and Strategic Planning Department
State Committee on Property Issues 
Baku, Azerbaijan

(ex officio)


Elshad KHANALIBAYLI has been Chair of the UNECE Working Party on Land Administration since March 2013. He is Head of Investment, International Cooperation and Strategic Planning Department of the State Committee on Property Issues, the Republic of Azerbaijan. He was educated in Baku, Moscow and London. He has been involved as Chair and/or Project Manager in a number of projects like the management and privatisation of large-sized state-owned enterprises, creation of digital cadastre database, development of Address Register Information System in Azerbaijan, and so on. He closely cooperates with both international organisations and national authorities of foreign states.

© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013