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Global Soil Partnership

Secretariat: meet our team!

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

For any queries on the GSP, please write to GSP-Secretariat@fao.org. For any specific information, you may contact a member of our dynamic team presented below.

Ronald Vargas

Secretary of the Global Soil Partnership

Ronald is a Soil and Land Officer at FAO and since 2011, he is leading the implementation of the Global Soil Partnership. He is a Bolivian soil scientist with more than 15 years of working experience (research, academic and development) in natural resources management with a focus on sustainable soil management for food security and ecosystem services. His expertise includes land suitability and land degradation assessment, land use planning, soil mapping and soil management for climate change adaptation in Latin America, Africa, Near East and Asia. He has been the promoter of the International Year of Soils, the revised World Soil Charter, the Status of the World’s Soil Resources Report and the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management.


Sally Bunning

Soil and Land Management Officer

Sally is a Senior Land/soils officer in the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, supporting the Global Soil Partnership Secretariat, in particular, the development of Pillar 1 plan of action on Sustainable soil management and restoration and collaboration with countries and partners on Sustainable land management, including watershed /landscape management, and Land degradation and SLM assessment and informed decision making.


Feras Ziadat

Soil and Land Management Officer

Feras is a land resources officer, his work focus on soil-landscape modelling, soil survey and mapping, participatory land use planning and land evaluation, land degradation and desertification, integrated watershed management, using GIS and remote sensing tools. He is supporting the implementation of the Global Soil Partnership, particularly in the Near East and North Africa region.


Vanja Maslovarik

Programme Officer

Vanja has over 10 years of experience in project appraisal and project implementation. She has extensive knowledge of FAO and United Nations’ administrative and financial procedures, as well as experience in applying them accurately on a daily basis, both at Headquarters and at field level. She is the focal point of the Healthy Soils Facility Trust Fund PGM/MUL/2014-2018/GSP


Marzia Calisse

Administrative Clerk

Marzia coordinates, oversees, and performs a wide variety of administrative and secretarial activities in support of the Global Soil Partnership such as organization of workshops, travel arrangements and recruitment of consultants.


Daniela Colmenares

Administrative Clerk

Daniela, national of Venezuela. B.Sc in Modern Languages at the Central University of Venezuela and M.Sc. in International and Global Relations at the same University. She has been working in the United Nations System since April 2013. Before joining FAO in November 2016, she worked 3 years as Programme Clerk in the local office of UNDP in Caracas and 3 years as Service Coordinator in the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Venezuela. Spanish mother tongue with working knowledge of English and Italian. She currently works as Office Assistant for the Global Soil Partnership performing a wide variety of administrative duties.


Isabelle Verbeke

Communication Specialist

Isabelle is responsible for the dissemination of meaningful communication to the GSP partners and to the wide range of GSP users. She is also responsible for the website maintenance and content development of the Global Soil Partnership and Soils Portal.


Lucrezia Caon

Soil International Consulant

Lucrezia is a soil scientist graduated at the Wageningen University in International Land and Water Management, Land Degradation and Development. Her expertise mainly focuses on soil erosion, soil compaction, soil pollution and land tenure, especially in relation to the practice of agriculture. Since 2014 she has been working at the GSP, where she is currently coordinating the implementation of global activities on encouraging investment, technical cooperation, policy, education, awareness and extension in soil (GSP Pillar 2). Ultimately, she is serving as regional coordinator for Asia, the Near East and North Africa in the framework of implementing the activities of the Asian Soil Partnership and the Near East and North African Soil Partnership. She is further providing technical support to the Global Soil Partnership on projects on soil and on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Soil Management.


James Morgan

Graphic Designer

James is a senior Web, print and video designer for the Land and Water Division. He has worked with FAO for 10 years, his first year with the Animal Health Division and the past 9 years with AGL. Prior to this he worked in the private sector for 10 years and taught multimedia design at his former university. More specifically for the Global Soil Partnership, he prepared videos and animations, posters, brochures and the communications material for the International Year of Soil and World Soil Day campaigns. He is also the designer of the Global Soil Partnership and World Soil Day logos.


Matteo Sala

Graphic Designer

Matteo is a graphic designer with more than 20 years of working experience in the field of communication, design and content management system for various clients including FAO. In 2015 he started working for the FAO Land and Water division as a graphic and web designer. He took care of many publications and communication material in relation to soils, including the Status of the World Soil Resources Report and the World Soil Charter.


Daniel Dale

Land Management and Tenure Officer

Daniel is a Land Management and Tenure Officer with over 34 years of work experience in soil and water conservation, sustainable land management and watershed management planning and monitoring with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and currently with FAO.  He has experience and knowledge of land administration and tenure governance, land degradation assessment and protection of the environment. He has organized and served as a resource person to several trainings conducted as on job trainings for field technicians, taught in universities and produced training manuals and hand-outs in natural resources management. He has prepared documents / books in soil and water conservation, sustainable land management and papers on soil erosion and on various soil and water management measures.


Yuji Niino

Land Management Officer

Yuji is a Land Management Officer for Asia and the Pacific region responsible for providing support to activities related to the development of sustainable soils and land management; soil and water conservation and integrated plant nutrient and soil fertility management in order to promote food security and sustainable agricultural production systems in the region.


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 young 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.


Giulia Stanco

Communication Consultant

Giulia has joined CBL as a consultant to support the GSP Secretariat in the social media strategy and in the digital and print content management related to the World Soil Day campaign, the Global Soil Partnership activities and soil outreach efforts. Master Graduate at LUISS University in International Relations/ Communication, during the last three years she worked as Communication Associate on digital media strategy, content management related to sustainable development projects, rural development and natural resources management and as Communication referee with partners and investors at the CEB Bank.


Giusy Emiliano

Art curator (part-time)

Giusy is an event organizer and independent curator, she works on the historicization of artists who have made a mark on poor art 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 to bring the public closer to environmental issues through contemporary art.


Yusuf Yigini

Soil Mapping Specialist

Yusuf holds  Bachelor, Masters and PhD degrees in Soil Science and specialised in soil mapping and  spatial data modelling. He worked 6 years at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission as Technical, Scientific Project Officer and joined the Land and Water Division in  February, 2017. He is currently coordinating the development of the global implementation plan for Pillar 4 and the Global Soil Information System including SoilSTAT. Pillar Four of the GSP essentially addresses the development of an enduring and authoritative global system to monitor and forecast the condition of the Earth’s soil resources.


Pasquale Borrelli

Adjunct Scientist

Pasquale is a Research Associate at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He graduated at the University of Rome - Sapienza - and obtained his Ph.D in Physical Geography from the Freie Universität Berlin. He worked three years at the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) as a specialist in GIS and large-scale soil erosion modelling. He joined CBL (November 2018) as Adjunct Scientist to support the GSP Secretariat in the preparation of the Global Symposium on Soil Erosion (GSOE19) and the novel bottom-up Global Soil Erosion Assessment. During the last eleven years, he studied the environmental effects of soil erosion processes and the behavior that this natural process has on the different interaction forms between the human activity and the natural forces of the physical environment. 


Natalia Rodriguez Eugenio

GSP Consultant on Soil Contamination

Natalia holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Use and Soil Protection in Mediterranean Areas and a PhD in Soil Science. She has worked as a pedologist and GIS expert for the international project “Thematic Cartography of Ecuador, scale 1:25.000”, where she participated in soil sampling and description of more than 9 000 soil profile pits. She has gained extensive expertise on soil contamination during her traineeship at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, and during the subsequent collaborations as an expert.  She has joined the Land and Water Division in December 2017. She is currently coordinating the development of the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18) co-organized by GSP, ITPS, UNEP, WHO, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Rotterdam Convention, Stockholm Convention and Basel Convention. She is also providing technical support to the Global Soil Partnership on daily activities and the development of the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Soil Management.


Yuxin Tong

GSP Associate Professional Officer

Yuxin is a soil researcher from China. He holds a Doctor Degree in Plant Nutrition from China Agricultural University. 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 focuses on the environmental effects of crop conversion in the black soil region. Yuxin joined FAO this year to coordinate the activities of the International Network of Black Soil (INBS).  


Rosa Minerva Cuevas Corona

GSP Consultant 

Rosa is a Mexican scientist who graduated in Soil Sciences at the UNAM’s Terrestrial Biogeochemistry and Climate Laboratory of the Institute of Ecology. She has gained extensive expertise on soil carbon working for the UNDP and the CONAFOR's National Forestry and Soil Inventory. She was the coordinator of the National Network of Laboratories for the Analysis, Use, Conservation and Soil Management within the framework of Thematic Networks of CONACyT. She has joined the GSP in March 2018. She is currently coordinating and developing projects related to soil organic carbon (SOC) such as the potential of carbon sequestration in world soils, the global SOC monitoring system and the technical manual on SOC management at the regional and sub-regional scale. She is also serving as the regional coordinator for the Central America, Caribbean and Mexico Soil Partnership and for the Latin American Soil Laboratory Network.



Zineb Bazza

GSP Consultant 

Zineb is a soil scientist and recent graduate from the University of British Columbia (UBC). She completed her M.Sc. in Soil Sciences at UBC with the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Laboratory and her BSc. in Applied Biology with a focus in plant and soil sciences. During the past few years, Zineb has worked on different projects with local companies as well as with the Ministry of Agriculture in British Columbia, where she focused on the effects of different soil amendments on crop productivity. She specializes in soil fertility, nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. Her work at the GSP focuses on Pillars 1 (Soil Management) and 3 (Research), as well as providing technical support on various projects. 


Yoshie Yageta

GSP Intern 

Yoshie has joined the global soil partnership as an intern to support the Secretariat in its soil outreach efforts (Soil Doctor Programme) until October 2018. Yoshie is a Japanese National and a PhD candidate in Department of Agriculture, Policy and Development in University of Reading, UK. Her PhD is about farmers’ soil knowledge and the use of their soil knowledge in farm management in Kenya. Yoshie has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Agriculture from University of Tsukuba, Japan.


Isabel Luotto

GSP Intern 

Isabel will support the process of building the Global Soil Information System and the implementation of pillar 4. She has a Bachelor in agricultural and agro-environmental sciences at the Free University of Bolzano and is currently pursuing a MA degree in agricultural sciences of the tropics and subtropics at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany, with a specialization on resource management and the implementation of GIS software. In her Bachelor thesis, she compared the effects of different soil management types on the soil quality and root mycorrhizae of vineyards in South Tirol, Italy. In 2016 she was an intern at Edmund Mach Foundation in Italy.


Josephine Watson

GSP Intern 

Josie recently completed her Bachelors dual degree in Environmental Sustainability, Policy and Equity and Political Science at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts USA. She is interning for the FAO before starting a masters program, Agriculture, Food and Environment (AFE), at the Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy at Tufts University. At Tufts, Josie worked as a Research Assistant at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) analyzing the role of social cohesion and institutional trust in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She then worked for the Tufts Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) conducting research on international policy promoting soil health, particularly focusing on the progress of France’s “4 pour 1,000” Initiative. She co-authored GDAE Policy Brief 9, “Climate smart or regenerative agriculture? Defining climate policies based on soil health,” attending COP24 in Bonn to analyze the incorporation of soil health measures, to promote carbon storage and ensure food system sustainability, into the framework and proceedings of the UNFCCC. As an intern for the GSP secretary, Josie will work on the implementation of Pillars 2 and 5, starting by working on the development of Citizen Observatories, which aim to increase collaboration for soil health protection between citizens and policymakers, throughout Europe.