Paulien has a master’s in environmental engineering from the university of KU Leuven, Belgium, and started her career as an intern at the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development in South-Korea. She has a special interest in climate change adaptation for the most vulnerable. She obtained her second master’s degree, the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree in Sustainable Territorial Development, which took her to universities in Padova (Italy), Leuven (Belgium), Paris (France) and Campo Grande (Brazil). In Brazil, she was a research intern with the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas in São Paulo. Her thesis research assessed public participation of small-scale farmers to advance the sustainability of Payments for Ecosystem Services, with a case study from the Cantareira region in São Paulo.
Paulien contributed to a publication on food hubs; participated as a volunteer at COP24 and as an observer at COP26; wrote and published articles on current events linked to sustainable development; and gave online lectures on her research, climate change, and the SDGs. Paulien is from Belgium and is based in Brasília. She loves talking in Portuguese, writing in English, dancing forró, taking photos, exploring the natural beauty of Brazil and playing the flute.