Staff and guests were on hand to celebrate the expansion of NIRAS's operations in the Asia-Pacific with the opening of the most recent addition to our regional presence.
NIRAS Asia Manila, Inc., NIRAS’s new office in the Philippines, was officially inaugurated on 17 January 2019. Attending the inauguration were NIRAS colleagues from around the world as well as representatives from the Asian Development Bank and the Swedish Embassy in the Philippines, USAID programme officers, and other development partners working in the Philippines and Asia.
Tor Lundström, NIRAS International Development Consulting Director, and Antti Inkinen, Country Director for Finland and interim Asia-Pacific Director, led the cutting of the ribbon while a local pastor oversaw the dedication and candle-lighting ceremony. Inkinen shared the importance of the office in the broader context of NIRAS's operations, given that it houses members of the EU Framework Contract (FWC) Unit and Tender Specialist Unit (TSU), both of which work with colleagues across multiple time zones. The Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Mr Harald Fries, joined the celebration and welcomed NIRAS as a Nordic company to the Philippines. He looks forward to cooperating with us in the future, specifically in the areas of gender and human rights, goals common to both the Swedish government and NIRAS.
Sweden's Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Mr Harald Fries, in conversation with NIRAS representatives
Focusing on the future in the Asia-Pacific
In his welcoming speech, Lundström said that the decision to open a fully staffed office in the region makes strategic sense, given the anticipated growth of and the development challenges facing the region. By 2030, four of the ten largest economies are forecasted to be Asian, and development actors have prioritised a number of countries in the area for particular support. He also noted the clear advantage of the young and dynamic workforce that Manila has to offer, allowing the office to support and collaborate with other country offices in the region. He concluded by sharing his hopes that the new office will open up new opportunities for NIRAS in the Asia-Pacific region.
It’s really great to see this place for the first time … This represents not only the teams that actually are the core of our work, but something that you can feel at home at and proud to be part of.
The launch was held during the week-long NIRAS Asia-Pacific Meeting attended by representatives from head (Denmark, Finland, Africa) and country offices (Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, and Viet Nam). One outcome of the meeting was the development of a regional business plan highlighting priority sectors, markets, pipelines, and the way forward.
Interim Philippines Country Manager Slobodan Novkovic thanked and welcomed everyone who took the time to join NIRAS in the celebration. The socials followed after. NIRAS Asia Manila, Inc. was officially registered as a limited company in December 2018. It currently has a staff of 15, of which nine are working in the FWC unit, four in the TSU, and one each as a Finance and Admin Manager and a Country Manager.