Kitty van der Heijden directs the Europe office of the World Resources Institute (WRI), a research organization committed to the sustainable use of natural resources in more than 50 countries. In 2013, van der Heijden was elected the 3rd best civil servant of the Netherlands, and was awarded a national Ribbon of Honor for her efforts to raise public awareness on the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development. In 2014, she was elected as “Influencer of the Year” among civil servants, and listed as 20th in the top 100 most influential people in the Netherlands dealing with sustainability.
Van der Heijden studied Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Before joining WRI, she was the Ambassador for Sustainable Development and Director of the Department for Climate, Energy, Environment and Water in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was responsible for policy development on environmental global public goods and managing the sizeable aid budget of the Department. Van der Heijden also led the Netherlands delegation to the Rio+20 summit and was appointed the Dutch representative on the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. She has represented her government in a multitude of UN fora.