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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 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. He joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 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 led the implementation of the Global Soil Partnership and its regional soil partnerships and the establishment of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS). While promoting technical and scientific cooperation within and among regions, he has also been coordinating and facilitating the establishment of joint actions between governments, research/technical institutions and non-governmental organizations and supporting countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on soil and the related ecosystem services (provision of clean water, biodiversity conservation and climate regulation).

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, the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management, the International Code of Conduct for the sustainable use and management of fertilizers and led the preparation of audience-specific technical and communication material to support the International Year of Soils (2015) and the World Soil Day communication campaigns every year.


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.


Edmundo Barrios

Soil Health Agricultural Officer

Edmundo provides technical and policy related advice on soil health and ecosystem management that supports agroecological transitions to sustainable food and agricultural systems. A soil ecologist with extensive research for development experience in Latin America and Africa working with the CGIAR (CIAT, ICRAF/WAC), he now coordinates the development of ‘The Status of Knowledge on Soil Biodiversity’ Assessment Report and the organization of the 2020 Global Symposium Soil Biodiversity. He is a co-editor of the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas published by the European Commission in 2016, and coordinated the launching session entitled ‘Global Soil Biodiversity: A point of convergence for sustainability’ during UNEA2 – UN Environmental Assembly held in Nairobi, Kenya.


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.


Natalia Rodriguez

Administrative Clerk

Natalia currently works as Office Assistant for the Global Soil Partnership performing a wide variety of administrative duties.


Carolina Olivera Sanchez

Soil Consultant

Carolina is an agronomist with a Master's degree from Paris VI University. She has 20 years of experience on soils issues both in the field and laboratory, in particular about the different forms of soil organic matter. She was a consultant in France for 10 years in the management of soil fertility in the sectors of livestock, viticulture and horticulture. She is now based in Colombia and has implemented sustainable development projects for the ten last years, for international cooperation agencies and for FAO, on soil ecosystem services, their management, degradation and restoration. In the field of soil governance, she has coordinated FAO projects in Colombia on the implementation of the sustainable soil management policy of the Environment Ministry, and in South America on capacity building in soil data management and other regional activities of the Global Soil Partnership.


Debra Turner

Senior Soil Fertility Consultant

Debra is a soil scientist with a PhD from the University of Melbourne. She originally specialised in gaseous emissions from soils due to fertiliser and livestock management in the context greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Since leaving Australia she worked for the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) as a soil fertility specialist from 2012-2015 before joining FAO to work on plant nutrition and soil health topics. She is currently working with the GSP team to promote sustainable management of soils, with a particular focus on addressing soil micronutrient deficiencies to produce more nutritious food with positive impacts on human health.


Isabelle Verbeke

Communication Specialist

Isabelle is responsible for the overall GSP communication strategy and for knowledge and information management. Responsible for the World Soil Day communication campaign, website maintenance and content development of the GSP, Soils Portal and global symposia websites, she also ensures the preparation of meaningful communication material to the GSP partners and to the wide range of GSP users.


Lucrezia Caon

Soil International Consultant

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 and for the Pacific 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.


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.


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.


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 Global Soil Partnership Secretariat in 2017. He is currently coordinating the Pillar 4 activities at the secretariat.  GSP Pillar 4 is building a federated Global Soil Information System (GloSIS) and global soil statistics system  (SoilSTAT) relying on national data and capacities.


Kostiantyn Viatkin

Soil Mapping Consultant

Konstantyn has joined GSP as a consultant to support the Secretariat in preparing and compiling the Global Soil Organic Carbon map. Master Graduate at Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine) in geography, during the last five years he worked as a researcher at the remote sensing department in the NSC “Institute for Soil Science and Agrochemistry Research”, Kharkiv, Ukraine. His main scientific interest is digital soil mapping using the remote sensing data. 


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

SSM and Soil Fertility Expert 

Zineb is a soil scientist working for the Global Soil Partnership team, where she focuses on Sustainable Soil Management (SSM) and soil fertility. She completed her M.Sc. in Soil Sciences at University of British Columbia 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. At the GSP, Zineb is the coordinator for the African Soil Partnership (AfSP) and the chair of Pillar 1 on Sustainable Soil Management. She is also coordinating the Global Soil Doctors programme, and provides technical support on various other projects. 


Isabel Luotto

GSP Digital Soil Mapping Consultant 

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.


Clara Lefevre

Soil Science consultant

Clara is an agronomist specialized in soil science and recently graduated from Bordeaux Sciences Agro and Montpellier SupAgro (France). She previously worked at the GSP (2016-2017) as an intern and consultant. She was involved in the organisation of the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (May 2017), the H2020 GROW observatory project and provided support to the team on various GSP projects and events. In 2018 she carried her MSc. thesis with the Centre International de Recherche pour le Developpement (CIRAD) where she worked on a multi-functional assessment of soil health under conservation agriculture in Cambodia.  Her work at the GSP focuses on the organization of the forthcoming Symposium on soil erosion, as well as providing technical support on various GSP projects (e.g. GROW observatory, Soil Doctors) and events.