Panel Members

Mark Stafford Smith

Dr. Mark Stafford Smith is based in Canberra, Australia, and contributes to research on adaptation and sustainable development.  He has recently retired from CSIRO, Australia’s national research organisation, where he had been oversighting a highly interdisciplinary program of research on many aspects of adapting to climate change, as well as regularly interacting with national and international policy issues around sustainable development. He continues as a CSIRO Honorary Fellow, and in several international roles. 

Mark has over 30 years’ experience in drylands systems ecology, management and policy, including senior roles such as CEO of the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre in Alice Springs.  His significant international roles include being past vice-chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme’s Scientific Committee; co-chair of the Planet Under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solutions conference in 2012 on global environmental change in the lead up to Rio+20; and through 2013-17 Chair of the inaugural Science Committee for Future Earth, which helps to coordinate research towards global sustainability worldwide. He continues to publish, adding to over 200 peer-reviewed contributions to science, as well as many presentations and publications for less-specialized audiences.

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Rosina Bierbaum

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum’s experience extends from climate science into foreign relations and international development. She is a Professor and Dean Emerita at the University of Michigan with appointments in both the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the School of Public Health. She also served on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and is a lead author of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, and an Adaptation Fellow at the World Bank. Previously, Dr. Bierbaum served for two decades in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and ran the first Environmental Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She was selected by the World Bank to co-direct its prestigious World Development Report in 2010, which focused on climate change and development.

Dr. Bierbaum is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Ecological Society of America, and received the American Geophysical Union’s Waldo Smith award for “extraordinary service to Geosciences”, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Climate Protection Award”. She is also a board member for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Federation of American Scientists, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

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Saleem Ali

Saleem H. Ali is an environmental planner whose research and practice focuses on ways of resolving ecological conflicts through technical and social mechanisms, as well as exploring novel ways of peace-building between corporations, governments and communities. He holds the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professorship in Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware, and is also a Senior Fellow at Columbia University's Center on Sustainable Investment and Georgetown University's Center for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Studies.

Professor Ali has held the Chair in Sustainable Resources Development at the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute in Brisbane, Australia (where he retains professorial affiliation). Previously, he was Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources where he was founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security.

His books include Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future, (Yale Univ. Press); Environmental Diplomacy (with Lawrence Susskind, Oxford Univ. Press), Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (Univ. of Arizona Press) and Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan’s Madrassas (Oxford Univ. Press). He has also authored over one hundred other peer-reviewed publications and been the editor of acclaimed anthologies including “Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution” (MIT Press) and “Diplomacy on Ice: Energy and the Environment in the Arctic and Antarctic” (with R. Pincus, Yale Univ. Press). 

Corporate and government experience includes employment in General Electric’s Technical Leadership Program; a Baker Foundation Fellowship at Harvard Business School and a Research Internship at the UK House of Commons. Professor Ali was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011 and received an Emerging Explorer award from the National Geographic Society in 2010. He is a member of the United Nations International Resource Panel, The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, and serves on the board of the Diamonds and Development Initiative. He is also a series co-editor for the University of Chicago Press on Environmental Science, Law and Policy.

Professor Ali received his doctorate in Environmental Planning from MIT, a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University and Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Tufts University (summa cum laude). He is a citizen of Australia, Pakistan and the United States.

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Graciela Metternicht

Professor Metternicht has 24 years of research experience in environmental management and policy to address land degradation, and has worked at a range of prominent institutions around the world. Since 2012 Graciela is Professor of Environmental Geography at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney.

Previously (5 years) she was Senior Officer of Early Warning and Assessment at UN Environment working on integrated environmental assessments and early warning, providing independent scientific and technical advice to Ministries of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Professor Metternicht has expertise and leadership in global environmental issues and sustainable development, and applications of geospatial technologies to these issues, supported by peer-reviewed publications relevant to the GEF; experience in scientific research, in the application of results to real world issues in developing countries; experience of working in developing countries; and in the design and implementation of programs involving multilateral environmental agreements.

An expert in land degradation, ecological sustainable development, land use planning and natural resource management; she has the capacity to initiate and manage multi-stakeholder applied research that provide science-based evidence to policy and decision-making; and has provided independent and expert advice on matters related to land degradation, environmental management, with emphasis on assessment, surveillance and monitoring.

Since 2014 she has served as Science Policy Interface Member of the UNCCD, was appointed to the Science Advisory Committee of a GEF project on Land Degradation Monitoring, and advised on the preparation of the methodological framework for the FAO-IUCN Participatory Rangeland and Grassland Assessment (GEF-funded in five countries).

Since January 2018 serves on the Scientific Steering Committee of the Future Earth Global Land Programme, an international network of experts in land system science, and chairs the Biodiversity Conservation Advisory Panel of the State of New South Wales.

Co-leads the IUCN Dryland Ecosystem Specialist Group; was a member the Assessment Methodology Group of the 6th Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6), and coordinated the LAC chapter of the GEO-5.

Born in Santa Fe, Argentina, she is a native Spanish speaker. 

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Thomas E. Lovejoy

Dr. Thomas Lovejoy is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity” in 1980. He serves as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation.  In 2010 he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University.  He served as President of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment from 2002-2008 and was the Biodiversity Chair of the Center from 2008-2013. It was also during this time that Dr. Lovejoy served as the Chair of STAP, and he continues to inform the work of STAP in his role as Senior Adviser to the current Chair.

Dr. Lovejoy has been Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, U.S., and Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund–U.S. He conceived the idea for the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (a joint project between the Smithsonian and Brazil’s INPA), originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and is the founder of the public television series Nature. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Lovejoy served on science and environmental councils or committees under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. (biology) degrees from Yale University.

Dr. Lovejoy is the author of over 240 papers and 8 books and is an authority on biodiversity and sustainable forest management and on climate change and its impacts on living systems. He is particularly well-known for his extensively published work on Amazonian ecology, and he currently advises more than 100 international, governmental and non-governmental organizations and is the recipient of many awards and honors.

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Ferenc L. Toth

Dr. Ferenc L. Toth received his M.Sc. (1978) and PhD (1982) in economics from the Budapest University of Economics and a second doctorate (1994) in economics from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Toth worked as Senior Energy Economist and Unit Head at the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna, Austria between 2003 and 2015. Previously he worked as a senior scientist and project leader on climate change, sustainable development, energy, and environmental studies at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria and at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Potsdam, Germany. His current activities are also in the domains of climate change, sustainable development, energy-economy-environment linkages, and energy economics. Dr. Toth served as Coordinating Lead Author and Lead Author of several chapters in the Working Groups II and III of several Assessment Reports and Special Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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Blake Ratner

Dr. Blake Ratner is Executive Director, Collaborating for Resilience—a cross-regional initiative working to address environmental resource competition and strengthen governance and livelihood resilience in interconnected resource domains and landscapes. The initiative works with partners to build capacity for structured, multi-stakeholder dialogue to assess the roots of resource conflict and to foster innovations that build resilient local economies, sustain critical ecosystem services, and increase social and economic well-being.

Dr. Ratner is the immediate past Director General of WorldFish, the CGIAR research institute dedicated to strengthening livelihoods and increasing food and nutrition security through fisheries and aquaculture. As chief executive, Dr. Ratner launched a six-year strategy, leveraging science to pursue transformational shifts in policies, institutional capacities and investments in these sectors, emphasizing private entrepreneurship, gender equity, and climate resilience. CGIAR, the global partnership for a food secure future, combines the efforts of over 10,000 scientists and staff working in over 60 countries across the globe.

Dr. Ratner has published widely on rights, equity, and accountability in environmental decision-making, drawing on insights from action research to inform both policy and practice. As member of the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, he has responsibility as adviser on international waters, comprising both marine and freshwater systems, and works across focal areas on integrated approaches to achieve global environmental benefits and enhance environmental security.

Dr. Ratner has been based in Southeast Asia for 13 years (Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia), and has led program implementation in China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia. Early in his career he led a regional program on mountains, forests, and watershed governance at the World Resources Institute, co-led an initiative on stakeholder engagement in lending programs and policy advisory services at the World Bank, and worked with social entrepreneurs in Guatemala and the Palestinian Occupied Territories. He is fluent in French, Spanish, and Khmer, and holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sociology and a Masters in Development Administration, both from Cornell University.

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Rosie Cooney

Dr. Cooney has eighteen years of experience working across the interface of research, policy and practice in governance, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, using a transdisciplinary perspective integrating insights from diverse disciplines and stakeholders.

Dr. Cooney leads the work (until December 2018) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, a joint initiative of the Species Survival Commission and the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy. This is a global network of over 300 leading experts in the sustainable use of wild resources and its contribution to livelihoods, focused on building and synthesising knowledge, developing authoritative guidance, and influencing practice and policy. She has worked for a number of leading international conservation organisations in collaboration with colleagues across the globe; acted as an independent consultant to governments, NGOs and the private sector; and carried out research and teaching at two leading Australian universities.

Her particular areas of expertise and interest are sustainable use of wild species; poaching and illegal wildlife trade; wildlife trade and CITES; biodiversity governance models; aligning rights and incentives in policy design for sustainability; indigenous and local community rights and livelihoods and their intersection with biodiversity conservation; institutions for management of common property resources; conservation conflicts; and dealing with uncertainty and the precautionary principle. She holds or has recently held a number of leadership positions at international level providing insight and advice or coordinating policy interventions and action on these issues.

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Jamidu Katima

Dr. Katima has been involved in chemicals management processes since the negotiations of the Stockholm Convention up to Minamata Convention and served as a Member of the GEF Technical Advisory Group on Sound Chemicals Management that prepared a proposal for the GEF Council on the inclusion of chemicals management as a GEF focal area.

Dr. Katima has led research groups, including on waste stabilization ponds and constructed wetlands, biofuels, and non-burn medical waste treatment technology. He has also worked on climate change, including as a Lead Author of Chapter 4 of the Third Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and as a member of the IPCC Task Force Bureau on Inventory representing Anglophone Africa. He was one of the IPCC experts that contributed to the assessment report that led to the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-awarded to the IPCC and Vice-President Al Gore. Dr. Katima has also participated in the preparation of the Guidance on Best Available Techniques (BAT) / Best Environmental Practices (BEP) for Mercury Emissions.

Dr. Katima also served the Vice-President of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS); co-chair of the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN); Africa Regional Focal Point for the Strategic Approach for International Chemicals Management (SAICM), and co-chair of SAICM’s Working Group responsible for the preparation of the Global Plan of Action.

Dr. Katima chaired the Steering Committee that prepared the Tanzanian National Profile and he is a Board Member and Treasurer of the South African Climate Action Network (SARCAN). He is also a member of the Health Care Without Harm.

Dr. Katima has been involved in the implementation of a number of chemicals and waste projects, including:

  • Demonstrating and promoting best techniques and practices for reducing health care waste to avoid environmental releases of dioxins and mercury (GEF funded)
  • Enabling activities to review and update the national implementation plan for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in the United Republic of Tanzania (GEF funded)
  • Study on impact of mercury use by artisanal gold miners in Tanzania: training of trainers on alternatives of mercury
  • Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices in artisanal and small-scale mining in Tanzania
  • Reducing mercury emissions from small scale gold refining facilities through application of fume hood water condenser system
  • Development of environmentally-friendly coal based hydrophobic material as a replacement of mercury in small scale gold mining in Tanzania
  • Law reform and capacity building for sound chemicals management in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya
  • Capacity assessment for the sound management of chemicals and national SAICM implementation (funded by the Swiss government).

He is a native Kiswahili speaker.

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