Глобальное почвенное партнерство

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 GSP-Secretariat@fao.org. 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 15 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, its regional soil partnerships and the institution 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 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 the preparation of audience-specific technical and communication material for the World Soil Day campaigns.


Sally Bunning

FAO Senior policy officer Agricultural Systems, Soil and Water Management 

Sally is a British Geographer/Soil and Water Management expert with extensive experience in agro-environmental development worldwide. She has over 30 years in FAO in offices, in Africa, HQ and since 3 years in the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, supporting the GSP Secretariat, in particular, with the development of the Pillar 1 Plan of Action on sustainable soil management and the restoration of degraded lands. She supports countries at policy and technical levels and partnerships in promoting sustainable land management (SLM) at farm and watershed/landscape scale, in evaluating degradation and SLM practices for informed decision-making for scaling up and mainstreaming sustainable agroecosystems, enhancing food security and coping with climate change. 


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 CGIAR (CIAT, ICRAF). He is co-editor of the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas published by the European Commission in 2016. He provides the GSP Secretariat with technical/policy advice on soil health and ecosystem management supporting agroecological transitions to sustainable food and agricultural systems, coordinates ‘The Status of Knowledge on Soil Biodiversity’ Assessment Report and contributes to the organization of the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity.


Yuxin Tong

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


Isabelle Verbeke

International Consultant (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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Debra Turner

International Consultant (Soil Management)

Debra is a soil scientist with over 15 years’ experience in research and development on topics including nitrogen losses from soils and improving soil health and fertility. She works with the GSP Secretariat to promote sustainable soil management for nutrition-sensitive agriculture through a project implemented in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso and Malawi that aims to address micronutrient deficiencies in the soil-plant-human continuum. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne.


Lucrezia Caon

International Consultant (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.


Zineb Bazza

Consultant (Soil Management)

Zineb is soil scientist specialised in sustainable soil management and soil fertility. She has joined the GSP Secretariat in 2017, where she is the coordinator for the African Soil Partnership and the main facilitator for Pillar 1 activities on sustainable soil management. She also coordinates the Global Soil Doctors programme. During the past years, Zineb has worked on the effects of soil amendments on soil health, crop productivity and greenhouse gas emissions. She completed her M.Sc. in Soil Sciences and her BSc. in Applied Biology at the University of British Columbia.


Clara Lefevre

Consultant (Soil Management)

Clara is an agronomist specialised in soil science. She worked at the GSP Secretariat as an intern and consultant. She was involved in the organisation of the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon, the H2020 GROW observatory project and coordinated the organization of the Global Symposium on Soil Erosion in 2019. In 2018, she carried her M.Sc. thesis with CIRAD where she worked on a multi-functional assessment of soil health under conservation agriculture in Cambodia.  She holds a M.Sc. from the Bordeaux Sciences Agro and Montpellier SupAgro, France.


Yusuf Yigini

International Consultant (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.


Kostiantyn Viatkin

International Consultant (Soil Information)

Kostiantyn is a geographer who joined the GSP Secretariat in 2017 to assist with the preparation and compilation of the Global Soil Organic Carbon map (GSOCmap). Before that, he worked for 5 years as a remote sensing researcher in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He holds a M.Sc. degree from Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine) in geography. His main scientific interest is digital soil mapping using remote sensing data.


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.


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.


Natalia Rodriguez Eugenio

International Consultant (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.


Monica Kobayashi

International Consultant (Soil Biodiversity)

Monica is an expert on biodiversity. She joined the GSP Secretariat to work on the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity, the report on the state of knowledge on soil biodiversity and the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity. Over the last 5 years, she worked for Convention on Biological Diversity and led the implementation of the Programme of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity. She holds a M.A. in business from HEC Montreal and a M.Sc. on biodiversity management from Université de Montréal.


Hugo Bourhis


Hugo joined the GSP in December 2019 to assist with the creation of an online platform (SoiLEX) registering global and national policies with relevance to soil protection and soil degradation prevention. He is also supporting the GSP team in the overall organization of the Global symposium on soil biodiversity. Before joining FAO, Hugo worked at the UN headquarters in New-York and UNESCO. He holds a M.A. in environmental studies from King’s College London and a BA in international relations from Montreal University.


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.


Natalia Rodriguez

Administrative Clerk

Natalia is  an office assistant with over 12 years of experience in administrative, operational and customer support. Before joining FAO, she worked as Team Assistant for the ECLAC in Santiago, Chile. Prior to this, Natalia was a Customer Service Team Leader at the UnitedHealthcare in the US.  Natalia is currently working for the GSP Secretariat performing a wide variety of administrative duties and secretarial activities from the organization of workshops and symposia to travel arrangements and recruitment process.