Global Soil Partnership

Secretariat: meet our team!

The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Secretariat is the coordination and facilitation body in charge of enabling the implementation of the GSP actions through its regional partnerships and networks. The GSP is hosted by FAO in view of its global mandate.

For any queries on the GSP, please write to [email protected]. For further information, you may directly contact the members of our team presented below.

Ronald Vargas

Secretary of the Global Soil Partnership, Land and Water Officer

Ronald is a soil scientist with over 20 years of working experience in natural resources management with a focus on sustainable soil management for food security and ecosystem services. He joined FAO in 2011 as a Land and Water Officer and is the Secretary of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) since its establishment in 2012. He has supervised the implementation of the GSP and its regional soil partnerships and the establishment of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils. He leads the technical and scientific cooperation within and among regions, coordinates and facilitates the establishment of joint actions between governments, research institutions and NGOs for the achievement of soil-related SDGs. He promoted the UN International Year of Soils in 2015 and managed the publications of a wide range of soil related publications, including flagship publications such as the revised World Soil Charter, the Status of the World’s Soil Resources Report, the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management, the International Code of Conduct for the sustainable use and management of fertilizers and the Protocol for the assessment of Sustainable Soil Management. Since its official endorsement by the UN General Assembly in 2014, he coordinates the World Soil Day annual campaigns and preparation of audience-specific technical and communication material. Since 2017, he also coordinated the successful organization of 4 science-policy symposia focussing on global soil threats: the Global symposium on soil organic carbon (2017), the Global symposium on soil pollution (2018), the Global symposium on soil erosion (2019) and the Global symposium on soil biodiversity (2021). 

[email protected]

Edmundo Barrios

Soil Health Agricultural Officer

Edmundo is a soil ecologist with over 20 years of experience in research for development in Latin America and Africa working with the CGIAR (CIAT, ICRAF). He provides the GSP Secretariat with technical/policy advice on soil health and ecosystem management supporting agroecological transitions towards sustainable food and agricultural systems, is member of the scientific board of the ‘Technical manual on soil management for organic carbon sequestration and maintenance’, and of ‘The Status of Knowledge of Soil Biodiversity:  Status, Challenges and Potentialities’ Report, and contributes to the organization of the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity.

[email protected]

Yuxin Tong

International consultant and Associate Professional Officer (APO)

Yuxin is a soil researcher from China who joined FAO in 2018 to coordinate the activities of the International Network of Black Soil (INBS) for the GSP Secretariat. Before joining FAO, he worked at the Institute of Soil Fertilizer and Environment Resources of the Heilongjiang Academy of Agriculture Science in Northeast China for nine years. His research focused on the environmental effects of crop conversion in the black soil region. He holds a Ph.D. in Plant Nutrition from the China

[email protected]

Isabelle Verbeke

Land and Water officer (Soil Communication)

Isabelle is a communication expert with over 10 years of experience in knowledge sharing and information management in relation to sustainable soil management. She joined the GSP secretariat in 2012 and is responsible for the GSP’s overall communication strategy and the coordination of communication campaigns (International Year of Soils, World Soil Day and technical Symposia). She is also responsible for the website maintenance and publication workflow. Prior to joining the GSP, she was working on various FAO projects such as LADA, Kagera TAMP, and was project coordinator for Agro-MAPS.  

[email protected]

Matteo Sala

Consultant (Art Director/Graphic Designer)

Matteo is a graphic designer with more than 20 years of working experience in the field of communication, design and content management for various clients, including FAO. In 2015, he started working for the FAO Land and Water division as a graphic and web designer. He handled many publications and multimedia material in relation to soils and is the art coordinator for the annual World Soil Day campaign, scientific symposia, communication campaigns, and for all GSP activities and products.

[email protected]

Giulia Stanco

International Consultant (Soil Communication)

Giulia is a communication specialist with over 5 years of experience in communication, knowledge and information systems in the field of rural development and natural resources management. She joined the GSP Secretariat in 2016 to assist with the development of creative campaigns and digital content management related to World Soil Day and scientific symposia. Prior to joining FAO, she worked with Urban Vision, CEB Bank and for the Ministry of the Interior. Giulia holds a M.A. in International Relations and Web and a BSc. in Political Science/Economics from LUISS.

[email protected]

Giusy Emiliano

Consultant (Art Curator)

Giusy is an independent art curator. She works with artists who have made a mark on ‘arte povera’ in Italy. Since 2015, she has furthered her studies on the connection between art and science and she engages herself in the creation of international events and art exhibitions/ installations to bring the public closer to environmental issues through contemporary art.

[email protected]

Julia Mousquer

Intern (Communication)

Julia is an intern who assists the GSP team in communications and design related tasks. She is passionate about soil, agroecology and sustainability, and has worked at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and the World Food Programme. Currently, she studies Design at the University of Brasilia. 

[email protected]

Sangkyung Lee

Intern (Soil Organic Carbon and RECSOIL)

Sangkyung is a Soil Laboratories and Sustainable Soil Management intern at GSP. He supports the Global Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) implementation work plan and contributes to the development of socio-economic aspects of RECSOIL. He holds an MSc in Environmental Governance from The University of Manchester.

[email protected]

Carolina Olivera Sanchez

International Consultant (Soil Management)

Carolina is an agronomist with over 20 years of experience on soils in the field and in laboratory. She works with the GSP Secretariat as a facilitator for the Latin American and Caribbean Soil Partnership, and as a support in the field for Pillar 1 on sustainable soil management. Prior to joining the GSP, she worked as a consultant on soil fertility management in the livestock, viticulture and horticulture sectors and on development projects for international cooperation agencies. She holds a M.Sc. in Agronomy from Paris VI University.

[email protected]

Lucrezia Caon

Land and Water officer (Soil Management)

Lucrezia is a soil scientist specialised in soil and land management, land tenure and soil governance. She joined the GSP Secretariat in 2014, where she coordinates the implementation of global activities on encouraging investments, technical cooperation, policy, education and extension in soil. She also serves as regional facilitator for Asia, the Near East and North Africa, and the Pacific Soil Partnership. Lucrezia is also the programme coordinator of the Global Soil Laboratory Network. She holds a M.Sc. in International Land and Water Management from the Wageningen University, Netherlands.

[email protected]

Yusuf Yigini

Land and Water officer (Soil Information)

Yusuf is a soil scientist specialised in soil mapping and spatial data modelling with more than 15 years of research and policy experience. He joined the GSP Secretariat in 2017. At the secretariat, he coordinates Pillar 4 (Data and Information) and Pillar 5 (Harmonisation) activities, including the Global Soil Information System (GloSIS), SoilSTAT, GSP Global Data Products, and capacity development in member countries. Prior to his current assignment, he has worked at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission as Technical, Scientific Project Officer for 6 years, and more than 7 years in Turkey as a researcher. He holds a Ph.D., M.Sc., and BSc. degrees in Soil Science.

[email protected]

Christian Thine Omuto

International Consultant (Soil Information)

Christian is a soil information expert with over 12 years of experience in soil information management and soil mapping. He supports the GSP Secretariat on country soil information systems, capacity development and scientific visibility. Since 2012, he works as a FAO GIS and soil information consultant assisting countries to develop their national soil information baseline and data repository. Prior to joining FAO, he was a professor of soil and water engineering at the University of Nairobi. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in soil engineering from the University of Nairobi.

[email protected]

Yi Peng

International Consultant (Soil Spectroscopy and Soil Information)

Yi is a soil scientist specialized in soil spectroscopy and geo-spatial modelling with more than 10 years of research and project development experience. He started working with FAO in 2018, mainly supporting the development of soil information systems. Since 2021, he joined the GSP Secretariat to assist the development of a global soil spectral library under The Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN), and support Pillar 4 activities under the Global Soil Information System (GLOSIS). He holds a Ph.D. degree in soil science from Aarhus University, Denmark.

[email protected]

Julie Itey

Intern (Soil Information and Law)

Julie is a soil scientist, legal and political intern supporting the GSP’s line of work related to the assessment, modelling and mapping of SOC sequestration potential as well as the implementation of other Pillar 4 activities. She holds the 2-years French preparatory courses for Grandes Ecoles diploma and a BSc in international relations and security studies from the University of Montreal with regional specialisations from Leiden University and the Australian National University. She recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh in international environmental and climate change law (LLM) and is completing a M.Sc in soil science and ecosystem services. 

[email protected]

Rosa Minerva Cuevas Corona

International Consultant (Soil Laboratories)

Rosa is a soil scientist with extensive experience on soil organic carbon (SOC). She joined the GSP Secretariat in 2018 and coordinates projects related to carbon sequestration potential, SOC monitoring system and management. She serves as regional facilitator for the Latin America and the Caribbean Soil Partnership and the Latin American Soil Laboratory Network. Before joining FAO, she worked for UNDP and CONAFOR. She also coordinated the CONACyT National Network of Laboratories. She holds a M.Sc. in Soil Sciences from UNAM’s Institute of Ecology.

[email protected]

Vinisa Santillan Saynes

International Consultant (Soil Fertility/Nitrogen)

Vinisa is a biologist specialized in  carbon and nitrogen cycling in the plant-soil-atmosphere system of agricultural lands forestry systems. She joined the GSP to support the activities in Pillar 1 (Soil Management) associated with CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation in agriculture. She is also supporting the implementation of The international Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers. She holds a PhD. in Soil Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. 

[email protected]

Maria Konyushkova

International Consultant (Soil Salinity)

Maria is a soil salinity expert with almost 20-year experience in the field work and research in arid and salt-affected regions of Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and China. She joined the GSP Secretariat in 2021 to lead the work of the GSP in the topic of soil salinity. Prior to joining FAO, she worked as a soil scientist in the department of salt-affected soils of Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute and as a soil expert in the Eurasian Center for Food Security. She was an active actor in the work of the subregional Eurasian Soil Partnership and an expert from Europe in the FAO Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils. She holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Soil Science.

[email protected]

Giulia Scialdone


Giulia is a communications intern working in the GSP producing communication material for GLOSOLAN and assists her team with operationalizing designated tasks and activities. She holds a bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and is currently obtaining an MSc. in Marketing & Digital Communication from LUMSA University.

[email protected]

Natalia Rodriguez Eugenio

Land and Water officer (Soil Pollution)

Natalia is a soil scientist who joined the GSP Secretariat in 2017 to organize the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution. She coordinates the implementation of soil pollution activities/ projects, provides technical support on the project cycle and is the regional facilitator for the Eurasian Soil Partnership. Prior to joining FAO, she worked as a soil expert in QC/QA and GIS for Soil mapping in Ecuador and as an expert in soil contamination in the JRC/EC. She holds a M.Sc. in Sustainable Management/Soil Protection and a Ph.D. in Soil Science.

[email protected]

Magdeline Camille Vlasimsky

Intern (Soil Pollution)

Magdeline is an intern with the Soil Threats and Governance team focused on advancing the GSP goals related to education on soil pollution. She holds a BA in chemistry from Colorado College and is currently obtaining her Master's in Biogeochemistry of Soil with the IMSOGLO program.

[email protected]

Bofei Li

Intern (Soil Pollution)

Bofei has recently joined GSP, within the Land and Water Division, as an intern to work on the impacts and responses of soil pollution and nitrogen emissions in the environment. He holds an MSc. in Environmental Science from Wageningen University and a BSc. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Macau.

[email protected]

Filippo Benedetti

Consultant (Soil management)

Filippo is a soil scientist who joined the GSP Secretariat in March 2020 to support the implementation of Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) work plan. He is also assisting with the coordination of the International Network on Fertilizers Analysis (INFA) and the implementation of the International Network of Salt-affected Soils (INSAS). Before joining FAO, Filippo worked as soil surveyor (especially in vineyards) and formulated precision agriculture and sustainable soil management guidelines for a range of stakeholders. He holds a M.Sc. in Physical Land Resources from Gent University, Belgium and a BSc in Geology from Rome university. 

[email protected]

Marzia Calisse

Administrative Clerk

Marzia is an administrative clerk who coordinates, oversees, and performs a wide variety of administrative and secretarial activities in support of the GSP secretariat such as the organization of workshops and official meetings, travel arrangements and recruitment process.

[email protected]

Sebastian Brahene

Consultant: African Soil Partnership and Natural Resources

Sebastian is a regular consultant working with the FAO Regional Office for Africa in Accra. He is a Ghanaian soil scientist supporting the Global Soil Partnership through coordination and implementation of activities of the African Soil Partnership Secretariat. He has key interest in organic matter dynamics in soils and how they affect soil health, plant nutrition and climate change.

[email protected]

Isabel Luotto

Consultant (Soil Information/Data)

Isabel is a consultant who supports the process of building GloSIS and the implementation of Pillar 4 (information and data) activities. In 2016, she was an intern at Edmund Mach Foundation in Italy. She holds a BSc. in agricultural and agro-environmental sciences at the Free University of Bolzano and is currently pursuing a M.Sc. in agricultural sciences of the tropics and subtropics at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany, with a specialisation on resource management and the implementation of GIS software.

[email protected]