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Former SPI members

The UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI) consists of globally selected independent scientists, regionally nominated independent scientists, policy makers (CST bureau members) and observers. For every term of the SPI the members are selected by the CST Bureau, following an open application process.
Former members of the SPI have contributed to previous reports, having served previous terms of the SPI.

Former SPI members

Elena María Abraham (member from 2014 – 2017)

Abraham SPIElena María Abraham is a Scientific Researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Director of the Argentine Institute for Research on Arid Lands (IADIZA) and Professor of Environmental Planning and Management at the Congress University, Argentina. She is working on developing methodological frameworks able to consolidate integrated, participative and multi-scale approaches to desertification assessment and on the generation of local development strategies to combat desertification in the Monte desert, Argentina. To date, she has published over 120 contributions to the knowledge of theoretical, methodological and application aspects related to the environment and human settlements in drylands.

Mariam Akhtar-Schuster

Akhtar Schuster SPI memberMariam Akhtar-Schuster is senior scientific advisor at the Project Management Agency in the German Aerospace Center (DLR-PT) in Berlin, Germany. A Geographer, Dr. Akhtar-Schuster holds a PhD from the Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences, University of Goettingen, Germany. Since 1988, she conducted field research on desertification/land degradation and drought in northeast and southern Africa. Key expertise includes morphodynamics and biodiversity in semiarid/arid regions; land use systems with special emphasis on mobile animal husbandry; science-policy communication on DLDD. She was co-founder and co-chair of the independent scientific network DesertNet International. She was member of the scientific steering committees that organized UNCCD´s 1st and 3rd scientific conferences (2009 and 2015). In 2012-2013 she chaired UNCCD´s ad hoc working group to further discuss the options for the provision of scientific advice to the Convention. Since 2014, she is co-chair of UNCCD’s science-policy interface (SPI), and in 2017 she was nominated by the IPCC as review editor for its special report on “climate change and land” (to be finalized by September 2019).

Nicole Bernex (member from 2014 – 2015)

Bernex SPINicole Bernex is Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. She holds a PhD in Geography and has over 40 years of experience in Latin American, African and Asian countries. Dr. Bernex has published a large number of books, scientific articles in journals, annals of congresses and media. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of Peru and a focal point for water issues in the IANAS. She is also Vice-Chair of the Lima Geographic Society and visiting Professor in different universities of USA, Spain, France, Canada and Norway. She has been a consultant to the World Bank, UNDP, FAO and a number of large mining companies. She is very involved in the socio-economic aspects of land degradation and desertification. She is a member of the Technical Committee of GWP and has played a pivotal role in promoting integrated water management processes in Peru.

Martial Bernoux (member from 2014 – 2017)

Bernoux SPIMartial Bernoux is a soil scientist at the French Research Institute for the Development (IRD) within Research Unit Eco&Sols, being co-responsible of the team “Carbon and Global Changes”. Member of the French Scientific Committee on Desertification (CSFD), he has particular interest in the evaluation of the role of soils in agro-ecosystems, in the global change context, focusing on soil carbon temporal and spatial dynamics from local to national scales, mainly in inter-tropical and Mediterranean regions. He also contributed to IPCC meetings and publications such as the IPCC Good Practice Guidance for LULUCF (2003). He is also acting, as FAO consultant for the development of the EX-Ante Carbon-balance tool (EX-ACT) to provide ex-ante estimates of the mitigation impact of rural development projects in order to put forward synergies between food security, soils and land conservation and climate policies. Author of more than two hundred scientific papers and book chapters.

Foued Chehat (member from 2016 – 2017)

Chehat SPIFoued Chehat is Director of the National Institute of Agronomic Research of Algeria (INRAA) since 2010. He is also National Director of the Diversification of Economy Program (DIVECO 1), included in the support program of the European Union to Algeria, and Head of the project "Support of the European Union to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for the development of the Observatory of Agricultural Commodities and Food Processing within the INRAA”. From 1979 to 2010 he was Professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique of Algiers (ENSA, former National Institute of Agronomy, INA).


Jean-Luc Chotte

Chotte SPIJean-Luc Chotte is a senior scientist at IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), France. His research topic deals with the impact of climate and land use changes on soil organic matter dynamics (stocks and fluxes). The objective of his research is to unravel the soil functioning and explore ways to sustain ecology intensification to achieve food security, to combat land degradation and propose science-based evidences to reinforce the role of soils in mitigating/adapting to climate changes. He has been involved in many international projects (see his web site To date he has published about 100 publications in the fields of Soil Sciences and Soil Ecology. Since 2011 he is the Director of join Unit “Functional Ecology & biogeochemistry of soils & agro-ecosystems”. Since 2015 he has been nominated Deputy Director of one of the 5 Scientific Department at IRD. He is the focal point for IRD in the 4P1000 initiative. Jean-Luc Chotte is a member of Académie d’Agriculture de France. 

Annette Cowie

CowieAnnette Cowie has a background in soil science and plant nutrition, with particular interest in sustainable resource management. She is Principal Research Scientist, Climate in NSW Department of Primary Industries. Annette is also Task Leader of the International Energy Agency Bioenergy research group Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems, and Land Degradation advisor on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility. Her current research focuses on sustainability assessment and greenhouse gas accounting in agriculture and forestry; investigating key aspects of soil carbon dynamics and biochar processes; and life cycle assessment of forestry, bioenergy and biochar systems.

Hamid Čustović (member from 2014 – 2017)

Custovic SPIHamid Čustović is professor and Vice Dean for International Cooperation at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Sarajevo where he has been since 1994. He also currently serves as Head of the Postgraduate study "Sustainable Land Management and Rural Planning". Prof. Custovic is a President of the Soil Science Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is also a member of several international associations and committees, including in the European Soil Bureau Network (ESBN) of the Joint Research Center and the Committee of Science and Technology (CST Bureau of UNCCD) for South and Eastern Europe. Prof. Custovic has extensive experience working as a project manager/team leader, consultant/expert for soil, agriculture and environmental in several international research projects. He is author and co-author of several books and number of research papers. He has presented numerous keynote seminars, including the prestigious Alps-Adria Scientific Workshops and international Symposium and Congress of Soil Science.

Mihail Daradur (member from 2014 – 2017)

DaradurMihail Daradur has a background in Geography and works as climatologist at the State Hydrometeorological Service of the Republic of Moldova. He started his research and teaching career at the Hydro-meteorological Research Center of the Russian Federation and at the Academy of Sciences of Moldova. He has extensive experience in climate change/variability/extremes and in climate risk assessment and management. Current research interests focus on climate change/variability and drought related risks which bridge to other areas of geographical sciences (hydrology, geomorphology, soils) and to the general areas of geographic information science. The scientific approach is based on understanding of the system nature and complex challenge of these issues that suggests an interdisciplinary approach and scientific inputs to designing response plans that are highly dependent on human behavior in a changing climate. The overall goal of his scientific, expert and teaching activity is a more effective use of the actual and modelled climate/drought and related risks data in aligning with design information and facilitating decision making process.

Joris de Vente (member from 2014 – 2017)

De Vente SPIJoris de Vente is a researcher of the Soil Erosion and Conservation Research group, Spanish National Research Council (CEBAS-CSIC). His research advances interdisciplinary topics related to the impacts of changes in land use, land management and climate on soil and water resources and related ecosystem services from local to regional scales. As he strongly believes in implementation of academic research, he participated in various applied research projects looking for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) solutions to DLDD in collaboration with stakeholders. Working for the Spanish National Research Council in Murcia (CEBAS-CSIC), he currently researches the potential of SLM for climate change adaptation and mitigation and protect ecosystem services in semiarid agro-ecosystems of Africa and southern-Europe. He participated in over 22 (inter)national research projects and is (co)author of over 35 high-impact scientific papers. Through these experiences, he learned that meticulous trans-disciplinary science, well‐designed stakeholder engagement, and tailor-made dissemination of results are required to effectively protect ecosystem services. This combination is the source of inspiration for his present research.

Karma Dema Dorji (member from 2014 – 2017)

Dema Dorji SPIKarma Dema Dorji serves as the Porgramme Director of the National Soil Services Centre in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in Bhutan. She is responsible for looking after the overall functioning of the Centre which is mandated to look into the sustainable aspects of soil and land management in order to contribute to the important priorities of the country i.e. to achieve food security and protection of the country’s pristine environment. As the Head of the Agency which is the country’s focal Agency for UNCCD, Ms. Dorji oversees the fulfillment of the Convention’s requirements by the Centre, which include the development of the National Action Program to combat land degradation and the National Reporting. Ms. Dorji holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) degree in soil science from the University of Reading, UK and a Bachelor’s degree (BSc. Hons.) in Agricultural Science from the University of Western Australia, Perth.

Farah A. Ebraheem (member from 2016 – 2017)

EbraheemFarah A. Ebraheem is Director of the Coastal and Desertification Monitoring Department of the Kuwait Environment Public Authority (KEPA) and Head of the National Committee to Combat Desertification. With a Bachelor of Science degree from Kuwait University in the field of geology, she is responsible for following up the execution of provisions of national laws and international agreements relevant to desertification and for the preparation of technical reports about the status of land use, desertification/ land degradation and soil.


Jorge Luis Garcia (member from 2016 – 2017)

GarciaJorge Luis Garcia is deputy manager for Assessment and Monitoring of Soil and Desertification at the National Forestry Commission of Mexico (CONAFOR) since 2009. Prior to this, he served as deputy director of Watershed Conservation at the Directorate General of Forest and Soil Management of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). Mr. Garcia has extensive experience in international negotiations within the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD. He is technical manager of CONAFOR for the National System to Combat Desertification and Degradation of Natural Resources (SINADES). He has driven the continuous development of the national action programme to combat desertification and promoted the creation of 12 coordination state bodies to combat desertification and drought. He has also coordinated the preparation of the last four national reports of Mexico for the UNCCD.

María Angélica Fernández García (CST Bureau member)

GarciaMaría Angélica Fernández García is an environmental engineer at the El Bosque University in Bogotá, Colombia; she is a specialist in Environmental Education and Management. She has over seven years of professional experience in research and management of soil degraded by erosion, salinization and desertification and sustainable soil management. María Angelica was part of the technical team for the formulation of the Policy for the Sustainable Management of Soils, in the preparation of the National Study of erosion and in the Protocols for the identification and evaluation of salinization and desertification. She has worked in entities such as the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies - IDEAM, has led the issue of soils in the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia and is currently representative of the Latin American region in the Bureau of Science Committee and Technology of the UNCCD.

Carl Kojo Fiati (CST Bureau member)

Fiati SPICarl Kojo Fiati is the Director of Natural Resources at the Environmental Protection Agency, under Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. He provides technical guidance and oversight for assessment and mitigation of environmental risks associated with the development and exploitation of natural resources. His major efforts have been directed towards improving environmental quality governance and leveraging science, technology and traditional knowledge for developing solutions to problems of natural capital degradation and restoration of ecosystem resilience. He is currently coordinating the development and integration of innovative market-based offsets schemes into Ghana’s Environmental Impact Assessment System that would incentivize private sector-lead investment to address land degradation and loss of biological diversity. As head of natural resources programmes for the UNCCD national focal institution, Mr. Fiati has contributed to the formulation of policies and action plans related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements, including preparation and revision of the National Action Plans to combat desertification drought. Mr. Fiati holds an MPhil. in Oceanography and Fisheries from the University of Ghana;  BSc(Hons) in Biology  with specialization in plant water relations from the University of Cape Coast,  and Certificate in Environmental Biosafety from the Institute of International Agriculture, Michigan State University. 

Alan Grainger (member from 2014 – 2017)

Grainger SPIAlan Grainger is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Leeds. He has conducted research into desertification since he attended the UN Conference on Desertification in 1977. He is the author of two books and various journal papers on desertification, and his specialist research areas include: global monitoring, indicator systems, spatio-temporal processes, social resilience to climatic variation, interactions between formal and informal institutions, and science-policy communication. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Land Degradation and Development since 2005, and was Rapporteur for the Ad Hoc Working Group on Science-Policy Advice (AGSA) between 2012 and 2013.

Oleg Guchgeldiyev (member from 2014 – 2015)

Guchgeldiyev SPIOleg Guchgeldiyev has an MSc in Public Economic Management from the University of Birmingham, an Engineering degree from the Russian State University of Oil and Gas and has foregone extensive training on environmental and management issues at universities of Colorado and Geneva.  He has more than 15 years of experience in environmental sector of Turkmenistan, Central Asia and Caspian region.  Besides national studies, he has significant experience in implementing various assignments related to Caspian Sea environment and in Central Asia.  It includes the preparation of environmental investment portfolio and pollution monitoring in the Caspian Sea, biodiversity conservation and local community development.  He contributed to Caspian State of Environment, Trans-diagnostic Analysis and other publications.  His primary scientific interests include environmental economics and environmental impact assessment.  He is working on developing a methodology and adapting practices for ecosystem valuation into protected areas management, for national development planning and in relations with social economic layers.

Klaus Kellner (member from 2014 – 2017)

KellnerKlaus Kellner is a C2 rated researcher by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa, in the field “Conservation and Management of Ecosystems and Biodiversity”, specializing in land degradation, desertification and restoration ecology. He lectures and supervises under- and post-graduate students at the School of Biological Sciences, North West University, Potchefstroom campus, South Africa. He was the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Committee on Science and Technology for the UNCCD till October 2011, also representing the African continent in the CST Bureau. He was the Co-chair for the Advisory Group for the Provision of Scientific Advice (AGSA) on DLDD issues for the UNCCD. He is the Science and Technology Correspondent and on the Roster of Experts for South Africa. He is the leader of many Research Projects that are funded by National and International organisations regarding DLDD in Southern Africa.

Caroline King-Okumu

Caroline King-Okumu

Caroline’s expertise includes work on institutional, policy and economic aspects of global environmental challenges. She has led a series of large applied projects and portfolios on land and water issues, including a Knowledge Management Initiative at the Global Environment Facility and several complex international projects in fragile areas of Africa and Asia with UN, CGIAR and other international partners. Her independent scientific and technical work is often interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary with a focus on land, water and climate-related issues in the global drylands, especially in Africa. She works with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology on international development issues and business cases for the environment.

German Kust (CST Bureau member)

Kust SPIGerman Kust, from 2017, is principal researcher in the Institute of Geography of Russian Academy of sciences, head of the Scientific and Expert Centre for Desertification, Land Degradation and Droughts. He works on desertification/land degradation problems since 1988, as researcher and professor in soil science and environmental ecology at the Soil Science Faculty of the Moscow Lomonosov state university, then as Executive director, Head of the laboratory of soil resources and ecological projecting, at the Institute of Environmental Soil Science, and as a Head of the Department of Soil Erosion and Conservation in Moscow Lomonosov state university. His professional interests include sustainable management of natural resources, environmental land management, soil science, environmental and agricultural ecology, environmental education, biodiversity conservation, environmental services, remote sensing.  He has also been working as independent consultant/expert for several international organizations including the World Bank, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNCCD, GEF.  In 1996, he gained the Doctor of Biology (Doctor habilitatus) degree in "Desertification and soil evolution in dry areas” and in 1988 a Ph.D. degree in “Soil alkalinity phenomenon and its diagnostics”. He gives/gave courses on: Soil evolution, Environmental doctrine, Remote sensing application in environmental sciences, Global mechanism of environmental/ natural resources management, Methodology of soil systematics, Theory and practice of landscape designing, GIS technologies in environmental sciences, and others.

Matthias Magunda (member from 2014 – 2015)

MagundaMatthias Magunda holds a doctorate in Soil and Water Management from the University of Minnesota – USA and several other qualifications.  He has over thirty years research experience in soil erosion /land degradation and water management, ecosystems/watershed management and climate change. During the same period he has lectured at Makerere University and supervised several graduate students. Matthias has published extensively in reputable journals and books. Matthias has been a Director / Chief Executive of a leading Agricultural Research Institute in Uganda for a long period and was responsible for providing guidance / oversight function for several research projects and provision of linkages with national, regional and international partners. He has served and still serves on a number of Boards of Directors for several leading organizations. Matthias was a member of the AGTE and is currently a member of the CST Bureau of the UNCCD.

Graciela Metternicht

MetternichtGraciela Metternicht is Professor of Environmental Geography in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales Australia (UNSW). She has over 20 years of experience in sustainability and environmental management to address land degradation.  Her work encompasses the fields of earth observation science, physical geography, environmental monitoring and management. She has a special interest in applications of geospatial technologies for the management and analysis of natural resources. Graciela’s past appointments include Regional Coordinator of Early Warning and Assessment of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Professor of Geospatial Systems and Environmental Management (University of South Australia); and as Professor of Spatial Sciences (Curtin University of Technology). She is Deputy Chair of the Australian Academy of Sciences National Committee of Geographical Sciences; co-chair of the Dryland Ecosystems Specialist Group of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, and member of the Global Land Programme Scientific Steering Committee. Metternicht holds a PhD in Geography (summa cum laude) from the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Barron Joseph Orr (member from 2014 – 2017)

OrrBarron Joseph Orr is a Professor in the Office of Arid Lands Studies in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona where he has been on faculty since 2001. He is also Arizona’s NASA Geospatial Extension Specialist, tasked with bridging the gap between Earth systems science and technology and its use by the general public. This is made possible by a cross-disciplinary career path encompassing international business, international development and academia (anthropology, ecology, remote sensing & spatial analysis), all contributing to our understanding of and response to change in coupled human - environmental systems. His current research focuses on the diffusion of innovation, knowledge transfer, technology adoption and the integration of local and scientific knowledge. He was recently named a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow hosted by the University of Alicante to develop solutions to bridge the society – society divide, particularly in global drylands.

Rajendra Prasad Pandey (member from 2014 – 2017)

PandeyRajendra Prasad Pandey is currently working as Scientist in the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee in India. He holds a bachelor degree in Agricultural Engineering, a master degree in Soil and Water Engineering and a PhD degree in Hydrology. He started his career as Scientist in 1990 in the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee in India. He has authored and published 28 research papers in peer reviewed international journals, 16 papers in peer reviewed national journals and 6 chapters in edited books. He has authored and presented 58 research papers in conferences and symposium. He has completed 4 sponsored projects, 29 internally funded research projects and 5 consultancy projects. He is involved in conducting basic and applied research studies and contributed in developing methodologies, particularly for quantitative assessment of streamflow drought severity, assessment of vulnerability to drought using physiographic and climatic factors, a new climatic classification for regional drought characterization. Some of his important contributions are: (i) Development of relationships between climatic parameters and the average drought frequency, (ii) Revised classification of Standardizes Precipitation Index (SPI) and Effective drought Index (EDI) for their applicability in different climatic regions of India, (iii) new index for quantification of vulnerability to drought (iv) Developed stream flow drought severity index (DSI). He worked as “Secretary” of Indian water Resources Society during 2009-2011 and he is presently holding the position of “Secretary” of Indian Association of Hydrologists.

Vanina Pietragalla (member from 2014 – 2017)

PietragallaVanina Pietragalla, graduated in Agrarian Economy and Administration, she is a master degree candidate in Agribusiness and Food, School of Agriculture, University of Buenos Aires (UBA). She is a Technical Adviser to the Department of Land Conservation and Desertification of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina. Pietragalla is professor and researcher of Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Management, of the department of Economy, Development and Agrarian Planning of the School of Agriculture of the UBA. She is member of Steering Committee of the National Observatory on Land Degradation and Desertification and team member of the “Adaptation Fund project: Increasing Climate Resilience & Enhancing Sustainable Land Management in the Southwest of the Buenos Aires Province”, as well as the “Sustainable Land Use Management in the Drylands of North-west Argentina” project executed by the UNDP funded by GEF, among others. She is part of LADA Argentina team. Several publications on environmental economics; ecosystem services assessment and desertification.

Omer Raja (CST Bureau member)

RajaOmer Raja is working as Deputy Inspector General of Forests in the Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan. He has a PhD in Vegetation Ecology from the University of Aberdeen, UK and Masters Degree in Forestry from University of Peshawar, Pakistan. He has specifically worked on classification and efficiency of use of forage resources under Semi-Arid Conditions in the Hindukush, Karakoram and Himalayan Region of Pakistan. Besides that he has experience in management of forestry resources in both mountainous and sub-mountainous forests. Integrated management of water resources in dryland areas for forestry, rangeland and agriculture through “Sustainable Land Management” has also remained as one of the areas of interest for improving the transhumance grazing and agriculture systems prevalent in the area. He continuously remain involved in policy and planning for forestry and allied natural resources. Furthermore, he also looks after the implementation of provisions related to UNCCD, CMS and FRA. 

Uriel Safriel (member from 2014 – 2015)

SafrielUriel Safriel is a Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He has been trained in ecology, in the Hebrew University, Oxford University and the University of Michigan. He has been the Director of the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Israel, participated in IPCC and MA assessment processes, and is currently Chair of Israel UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere National Committee and a Co-Chair of Israel National Ecosystem Assessment Project.


    Tao Wang (member from 2014 – 2017)

    WangTao Wang works for the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) as the Director and Research Professor of the Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification. He holds a Ph.D. in Physical Geography in 1988 from the Institute of Desert Research, CAS. He was the Director General of the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS (2003-2012) and is the President of Lanzhou Branch of CAS (2011). Through the research for 30 years on the fields of aeolian desertification such as the key basic scientific issues, physical and biological process, monitoring and assessing, combating policy and strategy and approach, he has made significant contributions for understanding and combating the process of desertification in China. He is also involved in the board of many associations linked with desert and desertification research, training and development in the domestic and overseas.

    Former SPI observers

    Jonathan Davies (representing IUCN as observer)

    Davies SPIDr. Jonathan Davies coordinates IUCN’s Global Dryland Initiative and is the focal point on desertification and land degradation. He has 25 years of experience in the fields of agricultural development and conservation, and specializes in the restoration and sustainable management of arid and semi-arid lands. His current work areas include: assessment of rangeland and grassland health; natural resource rights and governance; scaling up rangeland restoration to achieve LDN; policy implementation for sustainable rangelands management; and developing the links between agriculture and conservation in the drylands. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics and an M.Sc. in Tropical Livestock Production. 

    Nathalie van Haren (observer from 2014-2017)

    Nathalie van Haren (Both Ends)Nathalie van Haren is an agricultural engineer from Wageningen University, The Netherlands. She has been working for Both ENDS, a Dutch Civil Society Organisation since 2003. Both ENDS strengthens global civil society to gain decisive influence on the use of nature and the environment, thus contributing to societies that stay within our planetary boundaries and respect all human rights, including the rights to water, food and a safe living environment. Nathalie is actively involved with Drynet, a CSO network supporting local initiatives in drylands that was established in 2007. She was the first CSO observer to the UNCCD Science Policy Interface from 2014 till 2017. In the SPI, she was actively involved in the development of the Conceptual Framework on Land Degradation Neutrality.

    Jian Liu (representing UN Environment as observer)

    Liu SPIDr. Jian Liu is currently the Chief Scientist of UN Environment and Acting Director of the Science Division, UN Environment. Jian LIU has over 30 years of professional experience in science and policy, in the specific domains of ecosystems management, agriculture, environment and climate change at national, regional and global levels, in particular in developing countries. Jian holds a doctorate degree in Physical Geography from the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. He was the Director of UN Environment’s International Ecosystem Management Partnership, the first global centre on ecosystem management in the global south, which he established, as the founding director. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Chief of UN Environment’s Climate Change Adaptation Unit and the Deputy Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His earlier posts include Deputy Director General of the Bureau of Resources and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Director of the Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, and Manager of Environment Program of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

    Eduardo Mansur (representing FAO as observer)

    MansurMr. Eduardo Mansur, a national of Brazil, currently is Director, Land and Water Division, at the FAO’s Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry from the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil and an M.Sc. in Forest Economics from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Mr. Mansur started his career in 1981 as a Researcher (Silviculture) in a collaborative programme of the Federal University of Paraná and the Eduardo Mondlane University of Mozambique. He worked as Project Officer in Mozambique and Ecuador, and served from 1995 to 1996 as Regional Forest Conservation Officer for South America with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Mr. Mansur joined FAO in May 1997 as Chief Technical Adviser in the FAO Representation in Mozambique. In 2002, he transferred to FAO Headquarters in Rome as Project Co-ordinator and then served as Forestry Officer with the Forestry Economics and Policy Division (FOED). From 2007 to 2008 he worked as Senior Forestry Officer, Regional Office for Africa, Accra, Ghana. Between 2008 and early 2012 he was Assistant Director, Reforestation and Forest Management with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in Japan. In March 2012, Mr. Mansur returned to FAO HQ in Rome, as Director of the Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division with FAO Forestry Department. 

    Marioldy Sanchez Santivanez (CSO representative)

    Santivanez, SPIMarioldy Sanchez Santivanez is a Forest Engineer responsible of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of AIDER, a Peruvian NGO with 23 years of experience promoting and supporting sustainable drylands management in the north coast and Andes of Peru. Since 1992, AIDER develop capacities and give technical assistance to communities and governments at local level for addressing land degradation issues by developing initiatives of dryforests conservation and restauration, agroecology and sustainable cattle raising. Marioldy started her career working with local communities in dryforests, giving technical assistance for forest inventory and environmental education. She has been part of the technical teams of several projects and initiatives developed by AIDER in drylands, in charge of the participative monitoring and evaluation of progress toward the expected objectives, involving local communities and stakeholders. She has been involved in the process of implementation of the UNCCD since 2011, has attended several UNCCD meetings as an observer and is CSOs alternate observer to the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface. She coordinated the participation of AIDER in the UNFCCC COP 20 in Lima and currently coordinates the communication component of the International Network of ONGs Combating Desertification (RIOD) in Peru. Marioldy has led the participatory process of designing a dryforests conservation strategy for two local communities and currently coordinates the project titled “Improving capacities for dryforest management in the north coast of Peru" with the purpose of enhance the work of the national forest authority in the subnational level.