Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for the UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference is composed of 12 experts with experience in economic assessment of land degradation, sustainable land management and resilience of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. The SAC main responsibilities entail: Making a contribution for reshaping the operations of the CST; strengthening CST capacity to process scientific, technical and socio-economic information; and supervising the White Paper elaboration process.

Jonathan Davies is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee. He is the Coordinator of the Global Drylands Initiative at IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Jonathan Davies is the coordinator of the Global Drylands Initiative within IUCN's Ecosystem Management Program. He has a background in tropical agriculture, sustainable development and economic anthropology. He has worked in developing countries since 1995, with more than half of this time spent in Eastern Africa. He worked initially in the field of humanitarian emergencies and later in sustainable development and conservation, establishing IUCN's drylands program and also the World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism. He has published work in the fields of sustainable pastoralism, ecosystem economics, rangeland ecology, climate change resilience and linking policy and practice.

Nana Bolashvili is the Director of the Institute of Geography at Tbilisi State University in Georgia.

She has a PhD in Geography and more than twenty years of experience in the investigation of water resources. She is the Vice-president of the Geographical Society of Georgia and she is a member of the Board of Georgian Scientist Experts to Combat Desertification. As an experienced specialist, she has participated in several scientific projects, e.g. in 2008 she received a grant from the Sustainable Development Project Implementation Agency (SDPA) and the World Bank (WB) for the implementation of a project on interpretation, exposition and orientation signs in the Tusheti protected areas. She is author, co-author and editor of over 100 papers, books and scientific reports.

Joachim von Braun is Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), and Professor for Economic and Technological Change at the University of Bonn in Germany.

His research addresses international development economics topics, economics of natural resources, poverty, science and technology, food policy, and trade. He was Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, DC (USA) from 2002 to 2009. From 2000 to 2003, he was President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE). He is member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

Hamid Custovic is Professor in Sustainable Land Management and Rural Ecology at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He is head of the master programme of Sustainable Land Management and Rural Planning and President of Soil Science Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Further he has participated in several international research project over the past five years: EU FP6 - RECOAL, INCO-WBC-1-5091730 2008, EU FP6 RURAL VITALITY OF B&H - CEEC Agri Policy, Project no 513705 (2007), EU FP7 - CEUBIOM, EU FP7 BalkanGeoNet (B.GN) (2012). He was Head of the CLC2006 project for Bosnia and Herzegovina (2008), financed by the EU (EEA) and he organized the Conference "Soil Protection Activities and Soil Quality Monitoring" in South Eastern Europe.

Patrik Klintenberg is the research and training coordinator at the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia.

His research focuses on biophysical and socio-economic aspects of DLDD, monitoring extent and effects of environmental change on regional to local scales. He is supervising both Namibian and international students conducting their Internships and these studies. He is coordinating the ECAP project, funded by the Finnish Embassy in Windhoek, aiming to increase capacity of Local Authorities and rural communities in southern Namibia in order to manage their water supply, sanitation and solid waste. He is also coordinating DRFN's activities in "The Future Okavango" project (TFO) evaluating and valorizing existing ecosystem services and land uses within a socio-economic context with the goal to discover potentials for improved land management. The UNCCD PRAIS Regional Centre for support to National Focal Points in southern Africa, is another project Patrik Klintenberg is coordinating.

César Morales Estupiñán is an agronomist engineer specialized in Agricultural Economics at the University of Chile.

Currently he is the Coordinator of Regional Project (GM/ECLAC) about "the economic value of desertification/land degradation in Latin American Countries considering Climate Change scenarios". From 1988 to 2005 he was the coordinator of Regional Project ECLAC / GTZ "Indicators of socio-economic impact of desertification and land degradation" in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, later extended to Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. The project main product was to construct an information system of indicators of socio-economic impacts of desertification and land degradation to facilitate decision making to the economic and political authorities. He is a professor in the Master Program in Rural Development Academy of Christian Humanism University and Agricultural Research Group (GIA) in Chile, in the Master of Latin American economic development at the International University of Andaluci­a, La Rabida and in the Master of Rural Development at the National University of Costa Rica.

Namiko Nagashiro

Namiko Nagashiro is specialist for Natural Resource, Desertification and Forestation for the Vice Ministry of Water Resource and Irrigation, Ministry of Environment and Water in Bolivia.

In the Vice Ministry of Water Resource, she is responsible for aspects of implementation of the UNCCD. She currently oversees the tri-national project funded by UNCCD Sustainable Forest Management in the Transboundary Gran Chaco Americano Ecosystem and is responsible for the Bolivia Land Degradation, a component of the GEF project Sustainable Management of Water Resources of the La Plata Basin. In addition, she provides guidance to activities of adaptation and mitigation to climate change in the National Watershed Plan. Prior to her current position, she was a member of the scientific committee of the symposium Biodiversity and Ecology in Bolivia. She has authored several technical and scientific reports and publications in the area of ecology-physiology of tropical forest species. Besides, she led the diagnoses of physical, biological and socioeconomic aspects of rural drylands and community plans for sustainable land use.

Laban Ayieko Ogallo is the Director of the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC). He is also a Professor of Meteorology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

Laban Ogallo is currently the Director of a regional Intergovernmental Climate Risk Reduction Centre in the Greater Horn of Africa known as IGAD Regional Climate Prediction and Application Center for IGAD (ICPAC). He has priority worked with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as well as with the Chief Executive of the Kenya National Council for Science and Technology. He is a member of many environment related professional bodies / advisory committees at a global, regional and national level.

Soojin Park is Professor in the Department of Geography at the Seoul National University in Korea.

He is professor at the Department of Geography at the Seoul National University. Before joining his current position, he graduated with a doctorate at Oxford University and worked for the Center for Development Research (ZEF, Bonn), for the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), and for the Department of Soil Science in Madison (Wisconsin, USA). His main research interests include predictive soil mapping with pedo-geomorphological processes, modeling land-use change processes using multi-agent systems, and mapping natural hazard and social vulnerability. He is currently holding a visiting professorship at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and serves as a scientific advisor for a wide range of national governments and agencies in Korea.

Mélanie Requier-Desjardins is economist of the environment; she is currently a professional trainer and researcher at CIHEAM-IAMM, UMR MOISA.

Since 1998 her research work is focused on dry areas socio-economics and environmental change from two main perspectives: firstly, the long term understanding of the interactions between different types of rules of access to natural resources and natural resources availability for enhancing rural development processes and secondly, the valuation of social and economic costs and benefits of desertification and of actions to combat desertification. Since 2004 she is a member of the French Scientific Committee on Desertification.


Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas is Assistant Director (Drylands) at UNU-INWEH based in Hamilton, Canada.

Richard Thomas has over 20 years of experience on managing and implementing research projects (including terms at two CGIAR centers) and directing research teams on natural resources management including soils, water and biodiversity. A significant portion of his work has been on strengthening managerial and institutional capacity through the development of networks of scientists from developed and developing countries - this includes projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia. He has previously worked at CIAT and ICARDA. His research interests are broad and include integrated natural resources management, science-policy bridging and knowledge management.

Dr. Vute Wangwacharakul is Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Kasetsart University.

He has been teaching since the 1980s and is Chairman of the Ph.D. Program on Agricultural and Resource Economics. Besides his academic work, he has extensive research experiences in natural resource and environmental management and policies in Thailand and the region. He also served as consultant for national and multilateral agencies such as ADB, World Bank and UNDP on natural resource and environmental management and policies including land, water and climate change. He has been involved in the climate change process since the early 1990s. He is a former member of the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communication of Parties not included in Annex-I, United Nations Framework of Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He also served as a member of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer under the UNFCCC during 2001-2004. He is the main author of the initial and the second National Communication of Thailand.