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Independent experts nominated by country party

Mariam Akhtar-Schuster

First name
Last name
Nominating Country
Date of Nomination
Discipline of Expertise
Environmental sciences/ecology
Thematic Areas
Land degradation
Science policy analysis
Sustainable land management
Traditional knowldege
UN languages spoken


Geographical Focus
South Africa
Job function
Member of Steering Committee
Projekttrager im DLR-PT
Telephone number
49 030670557911
Work experience
Since 2010: Senior scientific officer providing science and strategic support to the German Government (BMU and BMBF) in matters related to land degradation/desertification, land tenure, food security, biodiversity, climate change, sustainable land management (UNCCD, CBD, IPBES, IPCC).
Long-term direct collaboration with UNCCD and its SPI, IPBES, IPCC, ITPS. Reviewer and participant of different UN-related expert groups and scientific committees. Since 2014: Head of the German IPBES Coordination Office.
Co-founder of DesertNet International (accredited CSO to UNCCD, IPBES, IPCC).
Advanced training in Geographic Information System (GIS) and Climate change modelling collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany.
Assessment of the mechanical parameters of soils for infrastructural development in central and eastern Europe and in the Middle East (contract work with a private sector company).
Since1989: Field research in Sudan, Namibia, South Africa, Brazil and research deskwork on Pakistan.
Highest Academic achievement and qualification
PhD: desertification and animal husbandry in the Sahel (1995, University of Goettingen, Germany) MSc: desertification and morpho dynamic processes (1990: University of Hannover, Germany)
Number of Publications
Publication titles
Over 35 peer-reviewed papers and chapter.
1. Allen, C., Metternicht, G., Verburg, P., Akhtar-Schuster, M., Inácio da Cunha, M., Sanchez, M. 2020. Delivering an enabling environment and multiple benefits for land degradation neutrality: Stakeholder perceptions and progress. In: Environmental Science and Policy 114, 109-118.
2. Metternicht, G., Akhtar-Schuster, M., Castillo, V. 2019. Implementing land degradation neutral-ity: From policy challenges to policy opportunities for national sustainable development. Science and Policy 100 (2019): 189-191. DOI: .
3. Chasek, P., Akhtar-Schuster, M., Orr, B.O., Luise, A., Ratsimba H.R., Safriel, U. 2019. Land degradation neutrality: The science-policy interface from the UNCCD to national implementation. Environmental Science and Policy 92, 182-190.
4. Akhtar-Schuster, M., Stringer, L.C., Erlewein, A., Metternicht, G., Minelli, S., Safriel, U., Som-mer, S., 2017. Unpacking the concept of land degradation neutrality and addressing its operation through the Rio Conventions. Journal of Environmental Management: 195, Part 1: 4-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.09.044
5. Thomas, R.J., Akhtar-Schuster, M., Stringer, L.C., Marques, M.J., Escadafal, R., Abraham, E., Enne, G., 2012. Fertile ground? Options for a science-policy platform for land, Environmental Science and Policy, 16: 122-135. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2011.11.002.
Other activities
1. Former Co-chair of the UNCCD-SPI (2014-2019)
2. Nominated review editor of chapter 3 ‘Desertification’ of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land.
3. Elected Chair of the former UNCCD ad hoc Working Group to Further Discuss the Options for the Provision of Scientific Advice, Focusing on Desertifi-cation/Land Degradation and Drought Issues (AGSA).
4. Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) in preparation of UNCCD’s 3rd Scientific Conference on ‘climate change, land degrada-tion and desertification’
5. Former Co-chair of DesertNet International (CSO).
1995: University Award for the PhD
Organisation name
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit
Organisation street address

10178 Berlin
Organisation city
Organisation post code
Organisation country