Brussels, Belgium
+32(0)2 230 30 70

Our Team

Meet the people behind the European Bureau for Conservation & Development

Image link
Despina Symons Pirovolidou

Despina Symons-Pirovolidou, of Greek origin, has been Director and founding Member of the European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD) since its establishment in 1989. At European level, Despina has been linking the conservation and the scientific communities as well as the private sector to the EU policy makers providing them with expert strategic advice for over twenty years. 

Furthermore, she has been working closely with several UN bodies such as FAO, CITES, CBD and others. Despina has been active in IUCN and more particularly in its Marine Programme and the European one. She is Member of the Executive Committee of the IUCN/SSC European Sustainable Use Specialist Group and Coordinator of its Fisheries Working Group. 

She is also the founding member and coordinator of the recently established Fisheries Expert Group (FEG) of the IUCN Commission of Ecosystem Management (CEM). Prior to joining EBCD, Despina worked on fisheries related issues in Madrid (Spain) where she represented the Spanish coastal fishermen to the EU and before that she worked in Canada as a free lance translator for the Secretary of State of Canada.

Image link
Deputy Director
Ilias Grampas

Ilias joined EBCD in March 2018, and is currently managing the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, while serving as Deputy Director at EBCD.

Prior to that, he was working in EU Affairs and Communication for a pharmaceutical association in Brussels, moreover as a Communications Executive in Greece. Well-experienced in developing and executing strategic advocacy & outreach, Ilias also holds an MSc in Crisis and Security Management from Leiden University, Netherlands, alongside a BA in International & EU Affairs from University of Macedonia, Greece.

Throughout the years, he has received The Good Lobby 3rd place Award as ‘Political Representative of the Year’ (2019), CV Magazine ‘Best Environmental NGO in Belgium’ Award (2019), The Webby Awards ‘People’s Voice Award for Green Website’ (2017), and International Public Relations Association Golden World Award for ‘Crisis Management’ (2016).

Image link
Finance and Administrative Manager
Dawlat Bik

Dawlat Bik joined EBCD in November 2022 and he works as Finance & Administrative Manager. His tasks at EBCD include Financial, Administrative, HR & Office management of EBCD and  Financial Management of Market Advisory Council.

Prior to that, he worked as AP & Treasury Accountant in TCR International. He has experience of working in financial management in Belgian government, private sector, and Non-profit Organisations as well.

He has master’s degree in International Financial Management from Groningen University in the Netherlands and bachelor’s degree in Commerce (Accountancy and Administration) from Delhi University in India. His interest for international organisations motivated him to get a diploma in United Nations and International understandings from the institute of the UN in India. Besides his native language of Persian, he speaks English, Dutch, Hindi, and Arabic; and he is currently learning French as well.

Image link
EU Affairs Manager
Regine Roncucci

Regine joined EBCD in August 2020 working as EU Affairs Manager for the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”.

Regine holds a master in Environmental Policy at Wageningen University & Research and a bachelor in Life Sciences from Paris Descartes University. Prior to EBCD, Regine worked as an intern in the communication department of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) in Rotterdam and at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as policy and partnership building intern in Brussels. 

Passionate of social and environmental justice, Regine developed a master thesis on Rights of Nature in Colombia and actively contributed to the development of environmental youth groups in the Netherlands. Regine is fluent in English, French and Italian and has intermediate working level of Spanish.

Image link
EU Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Advisor
Alexandra Philippe

Alexandra is EBCD Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Advisor. She joined EBCD in November 2021 after eight years at the European Parliament mostly as parliamentary assistant to the Chair of the Committee on Fisheries. During this time, she contributed to the parliamentary work on fisheries and participated in the negotiations on initiative and legislative texts related to this topics. She acquired an expertise in fisheries issues and in EU political affairs and processes.

Alexandra holds a Bachelor degree and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Université Libre de Bruxelles as well as a Master’s degree in European Affairs from the College of Europe in Natolin. She is fluent in French and English.

Image link
International Affairs Officer
Maximilian Schwarz

Max joined EBCD as International Affairs Officer in February 2024. Prior to this, he was a Blue Book Trainee with the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) at the European Commission. Here he worked on follow-up action to the Commission’s ‘fisheries and oceans’ package, as well as on files related to the Technical Measures Regulation and the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF). 

Max holds a Bachelor degree in Biology from Maastricht University. He spent a year abroad at the University of New South Wales where he specialised in marine ecology. He also has a Master degree in Aquaculture & Marine Resource Management from Wageningen University. Passionate about bridging the science-policy interface, Max’s study focus was on ocean governance which he explored through a thesis assessing how water quality data feeds into local decision-making frameworks on the island of Sint Eustatius.

He speaks fluent English and German and intermediate Dutch.