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Third UNCCD Photo Contest Jury

As the submission deadline winds down, the UNCCD is pleased to present its eminent panel of seven judges of the Third Photo Contest. Pictures of the photos already submitted can be viewed on the web portal.

The jury of the photo contest is made up of the following distinguished journalists:


Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Born in 1946, Yann Arthus-Bertrand has been interested in the wilderness and animal world throughout his lifetime. Using a camera, he started to create a record of his observations and eventually discover his gift: testifying through images. In 1991 Arthus-Bertrand became a photojournalist and founded Altitude, the leading aerial photography agency in the world. In 2005, Arthus-Bertrand created the association GoodPlanet, an international NGO working towards sustainable development Inspired by the link between humankind, wildlife and nature, he partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to focus his vocation on a long-term documentary photography series: The Earth From Above, Wild Animals, Horses, and 365 Days. For Rio + 20, Yann directed the film "Planet Ocean" with Michael Pitiot.

John D. Liu

As a television producer and cameraman in the 1980s and 1990s, working for CBS News, RAI, ZDF and other international television networks, John D. Liu covered the rise of China, International terrorism and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1995 John’s life changed when he was assigned by the World Bank to document rehabilitation of China’s Loess Plateau in the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River. Since seeing and documenting the historical degradation of the cradle of Chinese civilization and the subsequent successful restoration efforts he has devoted his life to understanding and documenting functional and dysfunctional ecosystems on a planetary scale. Through films such as “Lessons of the Loess Plateau”, “Hope in a Changing Climate”, “Green Gold”, “Forests of Hope”, “Emerging in a Changing Climate” and many others John has helped to move the cause of ecological restoration forward throughout the world. John has received fellowships to continue his research from the University of the West of England (UWE) 2002-2005, has named the Rothamsted International Fellow for the Communication of Science in 2006, was awarded an Assistant Research Professorship at George Mason University in 2009, has been IUCN Senior Research Fellow and Ambassador for Ecosystem Restoration since 2010, and is currently a visiting fellow at the Critical Zone Hydrology Group at the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences at the Vrije University of Amsterdam. More information is available at and

Petra Haffter

Petra Haffter is an award winning film and TV writer/director/producer of more than 100 movies, TV-series, documentaries, music videos and stage plays). All her films have been broadcasted and distributed. Among them:The Colors of the Deserts, In his Saddle,The Egyptian Book of the Dead,In Search of America, Tracking Agatha,Crashkids, A Demon in my View, and the Kiss of the Tiger.When not shooting films Petra is writing / photographing for magazines and newspapers and teaching film UCLA, USC, NYFA and Dffb, Berlin. Guest lectures in South Korea, Ghana and Mexico. Petra was born in Germany and moved to the US in 1997. Among her awards: 2013 Special Artist Award for Multi-cultural understanding and collaboration. 2012 Best Camera forThe colors of the deserts, 2004 Star of the AZ Munich for Tracking Agatha,Certificate of Appreciation from the LA City Council for her film about the city, Golden Bear for Red Kisses, Special Jury Prize for her thriller A demon im my view  starring Anthony Perkins

George Steinmetz

Born in Beverly Hills in 1957, George graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Geophysics. He began his career in photography after hitchhiking through Africa for 28 months. George has won numerous awards for photography during his 35-year career, including two first prizes in science and technology from World Press Photo. Since 1986, George has completed 31 major photo essays for National Geographic and 25 stories for GEO magazine in Germany. He has also won awards and citations from Pictures of the Year, Overseas Press Club and Life Magazine's Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards. His current passion is photographing the world's deserts while piloting a motorized paraglider. George lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with his wife, Wall Street Journal editor Lisa Bannon, their daughter, Nell, and twin sons John and Nicholas.

Michael Martin

Michael Martin has become a specialist in photographing and writing about deserts. Born in Munich in 1963, he had already discovered his love of deserts by the age of seventeen. Over two decades he has undertaken e ighty journeys through the deserts of Africa, published 15 books of photographs up to now and held over 1,000 slide presentations, including one at the Royal Geographical Society in London. In 1999 he began work on his latest project Deserts of the Earth

Andy Rouse

Andy Rouse is an inspirational wildlife photographer who is well known around the world .He is famed for his ability to capture moments from the lives of animals and birds in the wild from a different view point and often from his trade-mark stance, that of being “up close and personal” to some of the most fascinating and often potentially dangerous animals. Andy’s images have been acknowledged as being some of the best in the world for many years. He has consistently won awards in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and to date has won 7 awards in the past 5 years and a total of 12 altogether. He has also been runner up in the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and had several winners in the Nature’s Best competition too. Andy also serves as Ambassador for 21st Century Tiger and raised funds for both Gorilla and Tiger conservation via sales of his books.

John Gichigi

Kenyan-born John Gichigi, known as John G within the sports photography is one of the world’s premier action photographer. Originally listed as student of architecture at Westminster University he discovered his passion for photography and switched his courses to photography.  During the mind 1970-s John worked for the photo agency Allsport. He now shoots for worldwide giant Getty Images. He covered most sports events including Ten Olympic Games. John served as IOC Photographer for eight Olympics and worked with all major sponsors such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok. His work is  published in most major publications and magazines.

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