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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.


Viridiana Alcántara Cervantes

Land and Water Officer 

Viridiana is a Land and Water Officer since 2017. She is a Mexican soil scientist graduated at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Geoecology. Her PhD project at Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Technical University of Brunswick in Germany was on the long-term effects of soil organic matter burial on carbon sequestration. She has experience and knowledge on the influence of land and soil management on soil physical and chemical properties, especially soil organic matter and soil organic carbon. She provides technical support to the Global Soil Partnership on projects on soil mapping and management. She supports activities and events of the GSP Secretariat and the Regional Soil Partnerships of Central America, Caribbean and Mexico and South America.


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 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 development of the global implementation plan for Pillar 2 and the regional implementation plan for the Asian Soil Partnership. Pillar 2 focuses on encouraging investment, technical cooperation, policy, education awareness and extension in soil. She is further working on the preparation of the World Soil Day campaign and the development of the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Soil Management. She is also providing technical support to the Global Soil Partnership on projects on soil.


Liesl Wiese

Soil International Consultant

Liesl is an International Consultant from South Africa coordinating the development of global implementation plans for Pillar 1 and Pillar 3. Pillar 1 will address the promotion of sustainable soil management (SSM) by identifying appropriate practices for different land uses and areas, promoting integrated soil fertility management, and addressing barriers to the SSM adoption. She is further working on the preparation and implementation of a capacity development programme on sustainable soil management. Pillar 3 focuses on targeted soil research by highlighting return on investment in soil research, encouraging inter and transdisciplinary research and capitalizing on existing research and development initiatives. Within the African region she also supports the execution of the recently developed African Soil Partnership Implementation Plan.


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 my 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.


Pilar Roman

Giulia Stanco

Communication Consultant

Giulia has joined AGL 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.


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.


Guillermo Federico Olmedo

Soil Mapping Specialist 

Federico is a soil scientist from Argentina, graduated at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. His expertise is in Digital Soil Mapping and Soil Information Systems. In the last 5 years he has being a lecturer in many Digital Soil Mapping courses in Latin America and the Caribbean. He developed the Soil Information System of Argentina and supported the development of the Soil Information system of Latin America and the Caribbean as the Pillar 4 chair in the South America Soil Partnership.


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. 


Jeon Dasom

GSP Intern 

Dasom is a soil scientist and working in GSP secretariat as an intern. She supports the GSP for the preparations for the World Soil Day celebration, implementing of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management, providing support for the organization of the GSCOP 2018, support the launch and implementation of the International Network of Black Soils, the preparation and launch of the Soil Doctors Global Programme and  assist on all matters related to the GSP implementation.


Stephanie Reiter

GSP Intern 

Stephanie joined the GSP in November within the scope of the FAO Internship Programme. She is a graduate student from Germany with a master's degree in Geoecology from the University of Potsdam. During her studies, she focused on applied soil moisture measurements and the assessment and modelling of eco-hydrological processes in drylands. During her internship, Stephanie will support the execution on the GROW (H2020) project and contribute to the preparations of the World Soil Day celebrations.