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Luc Gnacadja

Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Born in Benin, Mr. Gnacadja is an architect by profession, having graduated from the African School of Architecture and Urbanism in Lome. He was also the successful CEO of a consultancy firm and an accomplished manager, honing his skills at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and the World Bank Training Institute.

Before taking up his position as UNCCD Executive Secretary, Mr. Gnacadja served as Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development of Benin from 1999 to 2005. He gained first-hand knowledge of the UNCCD process over a number of years in his capacity as Head of Delegation to the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD.

Mr. Gnacadja was also Head of Delegation to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. His pronounced leadership qualities enabled him at the national level to initiate and build synergies between the Rio Conventions, in conjunction with the National Commission on Sustainable Development.

He has served as Chairman of several international ministerial Conferences, meetings and workshops related to the environment, urban and regional development, and sustainable development, including the African Ministers Conference on Environment and the Commission on Sustainable Development.

In March 2003 Mr. Gnacadja was honoured with the "2002 Green Award" in Washington by the World Bank.


Kevin Grose

Kevin Grose is the Coordinator of Communications and Knowledge Management for the Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. Here in Durban, he is the COP Media Coordinator responsible for communications and media for COP 17. In this role, he works closely with the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Department of Environmental Affairs. Kevin also lead information management, outreach and communications efforts at the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Switzerland and the United Nations Environment Programme in Kenya.


Dennis Garrity

Dennis Garrity was Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2001 to September 2011.

Dr. Garrity is a systems agronomist and research leader whose career has been focused on the development of small-scale farming systems in the tropics. He is Distinguished Board Research Fellow and former Director General of the World Agroforestry Center, the global leader in advancing the science and practice of trees on farms.

He has recently been designated UNCCD Drylands Ambassador. He is involved in a global effort to reconsider the future of agriculture in the 21st Century by examining unconventional ways of creating more productive and environmentally sound farming systems, and has championed the concept of Evergreen Agriculture.

Dr Garrity also chairs the Steering Committee for Landcare International, a global effort that supports a wide-ranging effort to strengthen community-based natural resource management. Previously,

Dr.Garrity served as Regional Coordinator of the Southeast Asia Programme of the World Agroforestry Centre, based in Bogor, Indonesia, and earlier served as agronomist and head of the Agroecology Unit at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. Dr.Garrity has a BSc degree in agriculture from Ohio State University, an MSc in agronomy from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, and a PhD in crop physiology from the University of Nebraska.


Hon. Rejoice Mabudafhasi

Date of Birth: 23 May 1943
Current Positions
• Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of the Republic of South Africa since 11 May 2009.
• Member of National Executive Council (NEC) of African National Congress (ANC) since December 2007.
• Chairperson of the Mvula Trust Board since 1997.
• Co-Chair of the Global Network of Women Ministers and Leaders of Environment since 2004.

Career/Positions/Memberships/Other Activities
• Teacher at Tshilidzi School, Soweto (1962 - 1963).
• Librarian at the University of the North (1965 - 1994).
• Secretary: United Democratic Front N.Transvaal(UDF) (1983 - 1986).
• Member and organiser of the Federation of Transvaal Women (FEDTRAW) (1983 - 1986).
• Founder Member and National Organiser of the National Education Co-ordination Committee (1985 - 1986).
• Organised rural women on various self-help projects such as gardening, etc (1985 - 1986).
• Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission (1990 - 1992).
• National Treasurer of the National Education Health and Allied Union (NEHAWU) and COSATU affiliate (1992 - 1994).
• Member of the Council of the University of the North (1992 - 1994).
• Member of the International Committee on Business Partners for Development of Water and Sanitation (1998 - 1999).
• Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism of the Republic of South Africa (17 June 1999 - 10 May 2009.


His Excelleny Kgalema Mothlante

Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa

Date of Birth: 19 July 1949
Current Positions
• Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa since 10 May 2009.
• Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC) since December 2007.
• Member of Parliament since July 2008.
• Secretary-General of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) since 1992.
• Trade Unionist of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Career/Memberships/Positions/Other Activities
• Recruited into Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and formed part of a unit responsible for recruiting comrades for military training in the 1970s.
• He was arrested and detained for 11 months in 1976.
• While many of the members of the Unit left the country, he remained in the country to establish machinery for and participated in smuggling MK cadres in and out of the country.
• Found guilty of three charges under Terrorism Act and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in Robben Island prison in 1977.
• After his release in 1987, he was responsible for strengthening the Union Movement.
• Education Officer of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)and responsible for training of Shop-Stewards (1987).
• Was instrumental in negotiating a deal for mineworkers which saw the increase in wages. This deal helped avert mass retrechment in the sector.
• Involved in the establishment of the Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC).
• Involved in establishment of the JB Marks Educational Trust, which provides bursaries to mineworkers and their dependants.
• Involved in establishment of the Trade Union School called "The Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre".
• Involved in establishment of Mineworkers Development Agency which is responsible for developmental needs of ex-mineworkers and their dependants and the community as a whole.
• Served on the Miners' International Federation, and involved in the exchange programmes with the United Mineworkers of Australia.
• Responsible for re-establishing the legal structures of African National Congress (ANC) in the PWV region and elected its first Chairperson (1990).
• Chairperson for the Strike Support Committee.
• Secretary-General of the ANC (1997 - 2007).
• Former Minister in the Presidency (12 July - 25 September 2008).
• Vice President of the Republic of South Africa since 25 September 2008.



Alexander Müller

Assistant Director General, FAO

Alexander Müller is the Assistant Director-General of the Natural Resources Management and Environment Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. From 2001 to 2005, he was State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture. From 1995 to 2001, he was a member of German parliament and chaired the Caucus of the Green Party. He was also a member of the Committee of Environmental Affairs, the Finance Committee and the Committee for New Media. From 1992 to 1995, he was the State Secretary for the Hessian Ministry of Youth, Family and Health Affairs in Wiesbaden, Germany. Alexander holds a master of social sciences focusing on sociology and political sciences from the Philipps Universitat, Marburg, Germany.



Uriel Safriel

Uriel Safriel is a Professor of Ecology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Head of the Center of International Conventions of the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Israel. A former Director of the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Safriel also acted as Lead Author in several IPCC assessment reports and in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report and it Desertification Synthesis.



Graham von Maltitz

Senior Researcher, Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific Industrial Research Pretoria

Mr von Maltitz is a systems ecologist and rural development specialist, employed by the CSIR South Africa since 1989. He obtained his MSc from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1990 and is currently registered for a PhD through the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Mr von Maltitz has specialised in large integrated multi-disciplinary projects involving the interface between humans and natural resource management. He has worked extensively in the savanna, forest and grassland biomes of southern Africa, focusing particularly on natural resource use within the communal areas.



Jesper Hornberg

Adviser, AECF REACT Funding Window

Jesper is a renewable energy entrepreneur and a consultant providing services to the development sector in business development, renewable energy and investments. He has been an entrepreneur, investment strategist, and a development cooperation strategist with SIDA. He received his MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland with a Distinction in Leadership. He also holds an undergraduate degree from University of Westminster in Business Studies. Hornberg is involved in the renewable energy programme of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), a US$130m private sector fund, backed by some of the biggest names in development finance and hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AECF is designed to stimulate investment by the private sector in new and innovative business ideas with potential for wider social benefit, by reducing the financial risks related to pursuing those ideas. 

Elwyn Grainger-Jones

Elwyn joined the International Fund for Agricultural Development in September of 2009 to set up and lead IFAD's Environment and Climate Division.

He started his career as an Overseas Development Institute fellow in Guyana in 1993, having studied economics at the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick.

He then joined DFID, holding various positions, including working on South East Asia and leading the trade policy team. Elwyn then spent three years with the World Bank as their trade representative in Geneva and subsequently worked in EBRD to develop its poverty impact assessments before returning to DFID to establish and lead its Climate and Environment Department. 



Professor Michael Kidd

Michael is a Professor of Law, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Specialising in environmental law, water law and administrative law. Currently he is the vice-chair of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. Author of 'Environmental Law' (2nd edition 2011), one of the leading South African textbooks in the field. Faculty of Law, KwaZulu Natal (IUCN representative)



Ms Mpume Ntlokwana
LandCare programme, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, South Africa 

Mr Noel Oettlé

Noel Oettlé serves as Rural Programme Manager for the Environmental Monitoring Group and Managing Director for Avontuur Sustainable Agriculture.

In addition he serves on the Boards of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation and Fairtrade Africa, the Steering Committees of the Arid Zone Ecology Forum and The Adaptation Network, and on the Regional Council of ICCO. Between 2006 and 2008 he served on the Advisory Board of Climate Change Adaptation for Africa (CCAA).

Noel is based in the village of Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape. He attended school and university in Cape Town, and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Development from the University of London. He previously served as Director of the Farmer Support Group at the University of KwaZulu Natal, at which time he served on the South African LandCare Steering Committee.

Noel’s work focuses on facilitating learning processes to enable marginalised rural people to improve the quality of their lives by enhancing their livelihoods through the sustainable use of natural resources, local institutional development and improved market access. Practically this has included providing support to small-scale producers to conserve biodiversity in their production systems, adapt their land use practices to current and anticipated climate variability, establish co-operatives and enter global markets with organic and Fairtrade certified products. He is member of the project team for SynBioSys Fynbos, an innovative information system for natural resource management in the fynbos biome of South Africa (


Dr James Gambiza

J Gambiza was Head of the Rangeland Research Unit at Matopos Research Station in Zimbabwe (from 1987 to 1992). From 1992 to 1996 he was the Director of Makoholi Research Station in Zimbabwe.

J Gambiza is a Senior Lecturer at Rhodes University in the Department of Environmental Science. He joined Rhodes University in 2003 from the University of Zimbabwe were he had been a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences for seven years.

J Gambiza is an ecologist with experience in rangeland ecology, fire ecology, ecological modeling, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. His current research areas include: evaluation of ecosystem services, management of rangelands, community based natural resource management, land degradation and biogas production systems. He offers short courses to the public on community-based natural resource management and land degradation.

J Gambiza is an Assistant Editor of the African Journal of Range and Forage Science and a Board member of the African Centre for Conservation Ecology.



Julie Clarke

Programme Manager, Development Bank of Southern Africa

Julie Clarke has 20 years experience in human and earth rights. She has studied in environmental management, water resource management and NGO management through Wits University in SA and London University Wye and Imperial College in the UK. She has been involved in lecturing in several academic institutions across SA and worked for the Johannesburg municipality in policy and planning departments. She has served on numerous NGO boards and National Steering Committees and task teams concerned with planning, sustainable development, environmental and rural poverty issues and has represented South Africa in negotiations concerning the Convention on Desertification and helped South Africa to develop and implement its National Action Programme to Combat Desertification and Poverty. She has specialized in environmental work for the Development Bank of Southern Africa primarily in rural dryland areas. Currently she is coordinating and managing the Drylands Fund on behalf of the Dept of Environmental Affairs and other key private sector and NGO stakeholders. She believes this COP can and must combine all global forces at a scale and pace that is unprecedented if we are to combat total irreversible and rampant environmental degradation of the earths life support systems as we know them.



Constance Neely

Constance L. Neely is a senior consultant on land, livestock, livelihoods and climate change with a focus on small-holder, pastoral and sylvopastoral systems.

She holds a Ph.D. in agroecology with an emphasis on carbon dynamics. She currently works for the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF, Nairobi) and for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, Rome) focused on holistic, development- and climate-smart multi-stakeholder approaches with an emphasis on integrated crop-livestock-tree systems and grasslands and climate change. She has also worked with the World Bank, IFAD, ILRI, the OECD and the Savory Institute.

Previously she served as VP for Advocacy at Heifer International, Director of Education for Holistic Management International, Deputy Director of the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management Collaborative Research Support Program (USAID), and as a Soil Conservationist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA).

Constance is a Certified International Facilitator and International Educator in Holistic Management. She is the past president of the International Farming Systems and co-chairs the Grasslands Carbon Working Group and Global Livestock Working Group. She is a co-founder of Kalani Organica Coffees and Teas in Seattle, Washington and Hallowed Hawk Farms in Georgia, USA.



Maxwell Mudhara

Management Project Coordinator, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Dr Mudhara holds a PhD in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. He worked for more than 10 years for the government of Zimbabwe as an Agricultural Economist in a multi-disciplinary team before becoming a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension.

He has served in the position of Director at the University of KwaZulu Natal's Farmer Support Group. This section 21 company has played a vital role in the university's community outreach, research and policy advocacy.

Dr Mudhara has developed expertise in the following areas of focus; impact assessment studies of rural development programmes, especially with respect to smallholder farming systems, assessment of food security effects of policies and programs such land tenure reform, inputs provision, access to markets, employment creation programs, extension support and infrastructure development.



Rattan Lal

Rattan Lal is a Professor of Soil Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. He is the Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

He researches carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems, soil dynamics and processes, and natural resources management with emphasis on food security and environmental quality in the United States, Africa, Latin America, and India. Currently his research is focused on carbon dynamics in relation to soil erosion, and soil quality as indicated by soil structure and productivity. Professor Lal is the recipient of prestigious Norman E. Borlaug Award (2005) and the von Liebig Award (2006) for his contributions and research in sustainable management of soil and natural resources. He has authored, reviewed and edited 1,200 journal articles and publications during his career, and has published in a variety of journals including Science and Soil & Tillage Research.


Klaus Kellner
Professor Kellner is the Science and Technology Correspondent (STC) for South Africa and on the Roster for experts for the UNCCD. He was the Chairman of the Bureau for the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) and a member of the Board for the UNCCD (COP Bureau) till October 2011, where he also represented the African Continent. As appointed by the Minister of Environment in SA, he was part of the South African delegation at three sessions for the UNCCD COP. Also, Prof Kellner was the president of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA), chairperson of the Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF) and still serves on the Advisory Board of selected international scientific journals and Rangeland Management Programmes in South Africa.
Prof Kellner is currently the leader of a number of national and international projects funded by the NRF, Agricultural Research Council (ARC), NW Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (NW-DARD), NW Parks Board, SANParks, UN agencies, Global Environment Facility (GEF), the European Commission (EC) and private organisations. He has done numerous evaluations for United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) regarding projects on Land Degradation and Sustainable Land Management (SLM), mainly in arid- and semi-arid regions at a global scale. He interacts with many scientists and has collaborative projects with institutions in Africa (Namibia & Botswana) Asia, Europe (especially Germany) and Australia. He is a re-elected C2 NRF rated scientists till 2016. His expertises lie in vegetation dynamics with the emphasis on SLM technologies, impacts of land degradation and desertification and the restoration of degraded rangelands in mainly arid and semi-arid ecosystems in Southern Africa, especially the Kalahari region.



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