Landscape Leaders Advisory Group
Adamou Ali Zoubeirou
Addax Company, gum Arabic restoration in Sahel landscapes, Niger
I am a graduate of Niger’s National School of Administration and Magistracy, specializing in domestic and state taxation. After completing my degree, I performed my national civic service duty at the Ministry of Economy and Finance. In 2009, I took over general management of the Société Immobilière les DALLOLS SA. Being a very ambitious young man, I resigned after two years and created my own export company called ADDAX.COM.
Following a meeting in Paris with the company NEXIRA in 2012, I decided to specialize in the marketing and export of gum arabic. But I didn’t like what I saw when I visited the production area for the first time–thousands of hectares of degraded land, devastated nature and biodiversity under threat. Since that day, a connection was born between nature and me because I heard its call for help. I decided to turn the gum arabic industry into an accelerator for land restoration in the Sahel. Collaborating with the Ministry of the Environment, the Great Green Wall and SOS SAHEL INTERNATIONAL Niger, my initiatives will recover more than 50 hectares of degraded land.
Water and Environment Executive, Kiambu County, Kenya
I was raised on the periphery of Kenya’s Kikuyu Escarpment Forest. Seeing how this forest was undergoing rapid changes resulting from unsustainable human activities, and driven by my passion for nature, I established a community-based conservation forum called Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO). I have steered that organization over the last 20 years from humble beginnings into a professional grassroots association. KENVO now works with other community groups advocating for better environmental conservation and improving local livelihoods. With an M.S. in ecology and currently engaged in a Ph.D. program in environment and community development, I firmly believe that Kenya needs home-grown experts. That’s why I have chosen to remain within my community, working with them to look for local solutions to the area’s increasingly urgent conservation and livelihood issues.
Currently, I am the Kiambu County executive committee member for water, environment, energy and natural resources. I supervise the delivery of the department’s services across the county in that role. My expertise in environmental and natural resource management and community governance, training and facilitation comes from years of working for many environmental, natural resources management and rural development institutions.
Elvira Marín Irigaray
Coordinator, AlVeLal Altiplano Landscape Partnership, Spain
I was born in Granada, a city in Andalusia, in the south of Spain. Since I was a child, I have always had contact with nature and agriculture, thanks to my parents organizing excursions and holidays in different rural places. My grandparents were also organic almond farmers, and I spent a lot of time with them on their farms. Perhaps because of this family inspiration, I always felt connected to southern Spain’s rural landscapes and studied environmental science at the University of Almeria. Afterward, I pursued a master’s degree in water resources management in the Netherlands’s Hogeschool Zeeland and an international master’s degree in spatial planning and landscape.
I have worked on the Dominican Republic’s hydrological plan and as an advisor to municipalities in La Alpujarra, within Andalucia’s Sierra Nevada National Park. Since 2016, I have worked as the coordinator of the AlVelAl Association, which is developing a large-scale landscape restoration project in southeastern Spain’s steppe plateau. I am currently working on the strategic direction of the Aland Foundation, which aims to create a network of landscape restoration projects in the Iberian Peninsula.
Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo
Director, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (Biosphere Reserve), Mexico
Martha “Pati” Ruiz Corzo cofounded the Sierra Gorda Ecological Group (GESG) in 1987. The GESG obtained the decree as a federally protected area a decade later. Creating a site managed by civil society was unique in Mexico. Ruiz Corzo was named Federal Director of the Reserve, where she remained the head until 2009, when she returned to the helm at GESG.
The result has been the continuous operation of a grassroots environmental movement that has transformed the local population´s natural resource management practices. Her work has reoriented public spending and inter-agency cooperation to reach multiple stakeholders through the following programs: environmental education, the diversification of productive skills, solid waste management, regenerative practices in soils and forests, healthy food production, forest resource utilization, community tourism. She measures her success with the 55 microenterprises that now operate successfully in the area and the state’s public policy and private donors valuing forest services as a means of reducing carbon footprints.
Guilherme Fraga Dutra
Director, Marine Program, Conservation International-Brazil
I visited the Abrolhos region in Brazil’s Bahia State for the first time in 1992 as a tourist. My parents decided to move to the small town of Caravelas, which was the main port of entry to Abrolhos National Marine Park. In 1994, I started my undergraduate thesis on lizard ecology in the Abrolhos Islands. This work provided the necessary background for my master’s degree dissertation, in which I compared the population ecology of island and terrestrial lizards in the region. Conservation International started a new regional initiative in 1996 as I finished my biology coursework and invited me to work on the Abrolhos 2000 Project. Since then, I have held every position in CI’s field program – biologist, coordinator, manager and now director of CI-Brazil’s Land and Seascapes Program.
Throughout my career, I have dedicated my efforts to developing environmental, socioeconomic, political and institutional analyses in Abrolhos, aiming to create a comprehensive and sustainable marine protected areas (MPA) network in the region. In 2012, I was nominated as a Pew Fellow for Marine Conservation for my work advancing a project to expand the Abrolhos MPA network. The following year, I started the More Sustainable Fisheries initiative, which won the Google Social Impact Challenge for concentrating efforts to make Brazil’s small-scale fisheries more sustainable. In 2017, I began coordinating a review of the National Priorities for Coastal and Marine Conservation, a critical Brazilian environmental policy. I am concentrating my current efforts on making the Abrolhos Land and Seascape a model of coastal and marine conservation in Brazil by integrating regional economic chains such as tourism, fisheries and forest restoration into a sustainable development approach.
Chi Tran Thi Quynh
Regional Director, Asia Landscapes, IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative
Chi Tran serves as the Regional Director for Asia Landscapes at IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative. In this role, she oversees work across 8 landscapes in 4 countries including India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Chi has more than 15 years of experience in the public sector leading initiatives in agriculture and rural development, corporate development policy, agribusiness, value chain and agro-commodities analysis, industry institutional organization, impact assessment and more. She also has proven experience in advocacy and policy advice in agribusiness. Over the years her work has helped her build strong working relationships with senior policymakers and institutions both across her region and around the world. She holds a graduate degree in development and economics.
CEO, Tech Matters
Jim Fruchterman is a leading social entrepreneur, a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. His life’s work is applying technology to benefit the 95% of humanity typically neglected by for-profit tech companies. Jim’s first social enterprise idea was a machine that recognizes letters and words and reads those words aloud to people who are blind. He founded Benetech, now Silicon Valley’s leading nonprofit technology company, to build these reading machines and empower people with disabilities to read independently. He continued by creating Bookshare, which is now the largest library globally for people who are blind or dyslexic. Jim was on the original drafting team for the Treaty of Marrakesh, the first pro-consumer intellectual property treaty passed by the United Nations.
In 2018, Jim founded Tech Matters, a new nonprofit tech-for-good organization. Tech Matters builds the technology for the social good movement, helping social and systems entrepreneurs use tech to achieve impact at scale. Its first two social enterprises are Aselo, a shared modern contact center for the child helpline movement, and Terraso, a platform to bring better tools and more funding to locally-led sustainability initiatives to respond to climate change. Jim received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied physics from CalTech.
Vice President, Marine and Lead for Sustainable Landscapes and Seascapes, Conservation International
Scott founded the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape program, which has been recognized by the United Nations as a global model for supporting nations in improving their regional marine management. He also was heavily involved in the creation of over 2.5 million hectares of marine protected areas in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador. He has co-published several research articles regarding ocean conservation and threatened marine life. Prior to joining Conservation International in 2003, Scott worked as a naturalist guide and divemaster in the Galapagos Marine Reserve and as a graduate student with teaching responsibilities at the University of Oxford. He earned his MSc at Oxford with honors in environmental change and management and his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University with magna cum laude honors in biology and English.
Willem H. Ferwerda
Ferwerda is involved as an advisor or board member with various international organizations in the fields of nature, biodiversity, agriculture, and sustainability. He is executive fellow at the Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University, and theme lead at the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management. In 2016, he was awarded first place in the Sustainable 100, the list of Dutch people with the most influence on the environment and sustainability. In 2019 Ferwerda received the Dutch sustainable landscape award. Ferwerda studied biology, tropical agriculture and environmental science at the Free University and University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands as well as the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia.
Director Landscapes and Communities, Rainforest Alliance
Millard was a business development manager for Oxfam Fair Trade for 14 years and Conservation International for 11 years supporting small-scale producers across Africa, Asia, and Latin America in the forest product, craft, agricultural, and tourism sectors to improve their competitiveness and open new markets.At the Rainforest Alliance, he has also worked with international companies to support their developing sustainable sourcing and investment strategies. He is a graduate in business administration. He has published three books and several articles in leading journals on small-scale business development and the evolving approaches to managing for sustainability. He is a graduate of Sussex University.
President and CEO, EcoAgriculture Partners
In 2011, Scherr co-founded the global network “Landscapes for People, Food and Nature,” and in 2019 launched and now chairs the global collaborative “1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People” to accelerate landscape regeneration worldwide. Sara serves on the Boards of Bioversity International-USA and Solutions from the Land and is a Fellow of the Evergreening Alliance. She also serves on numerous editorial and advisory boards, including those of Commonland and Food Tank, and is a member of the UN Food Systems Summit Action Track on Nature-Positive Production and co-lead for its Governance Action Area. Her research is widely published in scientific and policy literature. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in international economics and development from Cornell University and her B.A. in economics from Wellesley College.
Phemo Karen Kgomotso
Senior Technical Advisor – Sustainable Land Management and Restoration at UNDP Nature, Climate and Energy Team
Phemo Kgomotso is a Senior Technical Advisor at UNDP with a demonstrated history of working in the environment and sustainable development field. Based in Istanbul, Phemo has been part of a team of technical advisors at UNDP who support governments to develop and implement initiatives to address global environmental problems and to meet their commitments and obligations under the Rio Conventions. Her work has focused specifically on themes related to integrated landscape management and SLM and restoration, sustainable agriculture and food. She has extensive experience in natural resource management, program development, resource mobilization and project management and in the identification, design and implementation of innovative solutions for urgent environmental challenges.
Kgomotso holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex in development studies, an M.S. in water resources management and a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from the University of Botswana.