Who We Are - Meet the FAO Land & Water division
Dr. Parviz Koohafkan, of Iranian nationality is the Director of Land and Water Division in Natural Resources Management and Environment Department of FAO, Rome with longstanding professional experiences in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
M. Koohafkan has a PhD. degree in terrestrial Ecology from University of Sciences and Techniques of Montpellier, France and an engineering degree in Agronomy and Natural Resources Management from university of Teheran, Iran. He is the pioneer and coordinator of the global Partnership Initiative on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) and the author of several books, publications and articles in sustainable development, natural resources management. He is also coordinating several programmes on biodiversity, Desertification, sustainable agriculture and rural development.
He wrote in 2008 a book entitled: “Water and Cereals in Drylands” published by EarthScan and another one in 2009 jointly with Professor Miguel Altieri from University of Berkeley California USA entitled: Enduring Farms: Climate Change, Smallholders and Traditional Farming Communities published by TWN Third World Network.
Principal Officer - Deputy Director, NRL
Holding a MSc in Water Science and a PhD in Soil-Plant-Water Relationships from the University of California in Davis, Mr Steduto has been working for more than 20 years on agricultural water use efficiency and water productivity, with a focus of crops water requirements, their yield response to water and associate modelling development under water scarcity conditions. Scientific and technical activities have been conjugated with the management of many water-related development projects in Southern Europe, North Africa, Near East and Sub Saharan Africa, also in cooperation with Centres of the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research). Authors of over 100 publications in scientific journals and books, he joined FAO in 2003 and has been the UN-Water Chair for 3 years (2007-2009).
Technical Officer - Communication and Information Manager
I graduated in multimedia design in 1993 and have been part of pilot projects using interactivity since its early days. I have worked in the private sector on projects with the National Geographic, the Getty Conservation Institute, Ericsson, but also for the EU, where I revised projects with highly technological content. I think communication plays a crucial role in our lives and I like the challenge to bring innovation where it is less expected. I joined FAO-Water at the end of 2006 and since 2010 I am responsible for the Land & Water Division's communications. I am also the UN-Water Communications Manager.
Technical Officer - Web & Print Design
After studying Typography at Staffordshire University, I began work in 1996 as a designer for one of the UK's fastest growing e-business developers. Then, after a spell as a lecturer at my old University, I moved to Rome in 2001 to become the Design Director at the Rome office of new media specialists Deepend, where I was in charge of design output on accounts such as Swatch, Adidas and Ferrari. Now, in my sixth year at FAO, I design and produce publications, animations, videos, exhibition displays and web pages for the Unit.
Communication and Information Specialist
I graduated with a Master's degree in Environmental Economics in 2002 and have since then worked on water-related issues. I rapidly realized the central role of communications and, because of my personal and particular interest in them, built skills in web development, website management, social media, information and knowledge management, etc and focused my efforts on communication and outreach activities in relation to the sustainable management of natural resources. I previously worked at the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (hosted by UNESCO), the World Water Council and in Tunisia.
Land Management Officer
I am a geographer (Nottingham University) specialised in Soil and water management: MSc. from National College of Agricultural Engineering, Silsoe, UK, and DAA from ENSAM, France. I worked for ten years in Malawi, Ethiopia, Benin and Guinea Bissau, with DFID (ODA), University of Malawi, ILCA-CGIAR, EuroAction Accord and FAO. I joined FAO in 1989 and after 5 years in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Rome was seconded for 2 years to the Secretariat, Convention on Biological Diversity to develop the CBD programme of work on agricultural biodiversity. As Land Management Officer I support field projects and development of guidelines/manuals: Farmer field schools on land and water management and agro-biodiversity in Africa; sustainable land management and local level assessment of land degradation/SLM, in collaboration with WOCAT and other partners, and other watershed/agroecosystem management projects.
Maryjane De La Cruz
Technical Officer - Water Quality and Environment
Jane is a graduate from Central Luzon State University, Philippines specialised in soil and water management and holds Ph.D. in Environmental Science with focus on land productivity and agroecology from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan. Since 2005, Jane is working on Conservation and Adaptive Management of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems or GIAHS Initiative, providing technical support to pilot and participating countries and in the overall management of the global initiative. Prior to FAO, she worked more than 12 years in the Philippines at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) under the Department of Agriculture (DA) on various programmes and projects nationwide such as sustainable agriculture and rural development, sustainable farming systems in various agroecological domains, and integrated watershed development for sustainable soil and water resources management.
Technical Officer - Land and Environment Information Systems
I hold degrees in Earth Sciences and engineering from the University of New Brunswick (B.Sc.) and Queen's University (M.Sc. and PhD), and undertook post-doctoral studies at the University of Waterloo. I have worked for more than 20 years in a variety of fields, including earth observation, assessment of natural resources and environmental monitoring, geospatial analysis, and related training. My main areas of current work focus on: global perspective studies on land and water resources; assessment of land degradation and the sustainability of agro-ecosystems; land use inventory and mapping; land evaluation and land use planning.
Meshack O. Malo
Graduate of Biodiversity with undergraduate in Environment Studies. Worked as an extension officer then regional scientific officer before joining FAO as an Associate Professional Officer in the Eastern Africa Sub Regional Office, Ethiopia. On completion of APO re-joined the office as a Natural Resources / Forestry Officer before transferring to Rome. I have experience in Sustainable Land Management with focus on soils, water, forestry and impact assessment. Lately, I am devoted to climate change adaptation programmes.
Yuji Niino (in Bangkok)
Land Management Officer
I hold degrees in Soil Science from Texas A&M University (M.S. and Ph.D.). I have worked for more than 16 years in Africa, South America and Asia, mainly with JICA, in different areas including soil fertility improvement and conservation agriculture in Brazilian Cerrados, integrated soil and plant nutrient management in Sub-Saharan countries, capacity development for irrigation and water management in Myanmar. My main areas of current work focus on promotion of sustainable land use, management and conservation through dissemination of LADA methodologies and tools, Conservation Agriculture, and IPNS in Asia and the Pacific region.
Innocent Shayamano (in Harare)
Junior Technical Officer
I graduated in Agronomy from Midlands State University, Zimbabwe with specialisations in Irrigation Agronomy, Horticulture and Natural Resources Management. I have 6years experience in providing extension services to both irrigated and rain-fed agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development of Zimbabwe. Since August 2010 I have been seconded as a Junior Technical Officer to work on land and water resources issues in the FAO Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa.
Ronald Vargas Rojas
Soils and Land Management Officer
I'm a Bolivian Agronomy Engineer graduated from San Simon University with major in soils. I hold two Master courses from IAO, Italy and ITC, The Netherlands in Soils Geo-information for Natural Resources Management. I have 13 years of working experience (research, academic and development), in land resources mapping (with emphasis in soils), land suitability and degradation assessment, land use/territorial planning, soil erosion modeling, and natural resources management using GIS and remote sensing tools in Latin America and Africa. I have been the Land Coordinator at the FAO-SWALIM project in Kenya/Somalia for three years. I've joined FAO on March 2011 and I work in the different aspects of soils and land management with special focus on the establishment of the Global Soil Partnership.
Natural Resources and Land Tenure Officer
I have a degree in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, with postgraduate studies in development policy at the German Development Institute. I joined FAO in 1999, working in Latin America and Africa, with a focus on agricultural water management, rural development, water quality issues and land-use impacts on water resources. Since 2010 I have been serving as Natural Resources Officer in the Regional Office in Santiago de Chile, providing support to water-related projects from Argentina to Venezuela with a particular focus on adaptation of farming systems in the region to climate change.
Martin Ager (in Harare)
Water Resources Officer
Since completing an M.Sc. in engineering hydrology I have worked for over 20 years in water resources and flood defence in the UK and in development and emergency water and sanitation projects mostly in Africa. I spent 6 years working on dam construction for small scale irrigation and livestock watering. I joined FAO in 2004 as the water resources officer for southern (and initially also for east) Africa, based in the Zimbabwe Office. Working in a decentralised office you need to be a generalist, able to answer, or find the answer, to queries on anything related to agricultural water management. Much of my work is providing support to projects throughout the sub-region. I have also run several intensive training courses for government irrigation officers.
Senior Officer (Irrigation Management)
M.S. and Ph.D. in Land and Water Sciences and M.S. in Statistics from the University of California Davis, USA. Over 30 years of experience in water resources planning and management, with a focus on agriculture water management under water scarcity conditions, irrigation management and climate change. Served as University Professor and Researcher and provided consulting services to UN Organizations, financing institutions and public and private sectors. Joined FAO in 1998 and served as Chief Technical Advisor in Yemen (2 years) and Senior Water Resources and Irrigation Officer in FAO Regional Office for the Near East (11 years). Currently leading FAO's work related to irrigation water management, with focus on technical and institutional aspects of irrigation systems management, as well as coordinating and servicing FAO Water Platform. Working experience in a large number of countries, reviewer for several scientific journals and author of over 150 papers and communications.
Ines Beernaerts (in Accra)
Land and Water Resources Officer for West Africa
I am an agricultural engineer with a specialization in water resources management and have over 13 years experience within the United Nations in the water sector. Since August 2006, I am the Land and Water Resources Officer at the newly established FAO Subregional Office for West Africa, based in Ghana, where I focus on providing direct support to member countries in the subregion with the design and monitoring of sustainable projects on small-scale agricultural water development while contributing to advanced knowledge on water harvesting, small-scale irrigation and safe use of wastewater in agriculture especially in urban and peri-urban areas.
Senior Officer - Water Resources Management
I am an engineering hydrologist by training and and have over 25 years experience in water resource and hydro-environmental management in arid, semi-arid and humid tropical environments. This has involved working for private contractors and consultants before joining the UN Secretariat as a technical adviser in groundwater in 1992. From 2000 to date I have covered the policy aspects of agricultural water management for FAO with a strong focus on groundwater management for rural development and transboundary river basin analysis.
Thierry Facon (in Bangkok)
Senior Regional Water Management Officer for Asia and the Pacific
I joined FAO in 1985 after graduating from France's Ecole Polytechnique and ENGREF. I moved to FAO's regional Office for Asia ad the Pacific in 1999 after several years at Headquarters and development projects in the Pacific and the Caribbean. My present priorities are: the modernization of irrigation systems in Asia through capacity building, tools for appraising and improving the system's performance and management, analysis of impacts of projects and institutional reforms, and support to country strategies and investment programmes; the multifunctionality of irrigation systems; improving rice water management; and integrated water resources manageent and strategic planning in the water sector.
Senior Officer - Water Policy
I am an agricultural engineer with specialization in water resources management, I spent most of my career dealing with issues related to improved productivity of water in agriculture, with emphasis on the Mediterranean region. In close collaboration with national governments, I work on the analysis and policy implications of agricultural water use and water demand management. I also participate in global perspective studies related to the impact of irrigated agriculture on water scarcity and inter-sectoral competition for water.
Senior Officer - Water Resources Management
As an agricultural engineer I worked for 15 years in different countries in South Asia, the Near East and mostly Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly on irrigation and water management for agricultural purposes, in particular dealing with fragile ecosystems and paying special attention to women and irrigated agriculture. After that, I was for 5 years FAO's water resources management officer for Southern and Eastern Africa, based in Zimbabwe, before joining FAO Headquarters in Rome in 2003. One of my responsibilities at present is managing the AQUASTAT Programme, FAO's global information system on water and agriculture.
Technical Officer - Water Resources
I graduated in 1991 as an agricultural engineer, and I have been working for the FAO's water service since 1997. I am involved in projects that deal with water resources assessment on the river basin scale. I am experienced in making use of Geographical Information Systems and hydrological models as tools to provide better insight in the influence of agricultural water use on available fresh water resources.
Associate Technical Officer (Water Quality and Reuse)
I hold a Degree in Agricultural Engineering from Madrid´s Polytechnic University and an MSc in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University. Prior to joining FAO I gained experience in water related issues at different research centres, in Jordan and in the Netherlands, and in the private sector, in Spain. The main topics I have worked in are: wastewater treatment and reuse in irrigation, pressures and impacts on water bodies, river-basin management planning and water and agriculture economics. My current work within FAO is focused on the safe and productive use of marginal quality water for irrigation as well as the control of water pollution from agriculture. This includes global assessments and analysis, capacity development support to countries and technical backstopping to field projects in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Senegal and Jordan.
I am an agricultural engineer, MSc in Natural Resources Management. My studies focused on the socio-economic analysis of the impact of agricultural and water policies through biophysical and economic models. I gained experience in various agricultural and economic institutions before joining FAO in 2003. I have participated in several research and technical projects aiming to ensure the sustainable use of water in agriculture (cost recovery and water tariff estimation studies, irrigation modernization).
Giovanni Muñoz (in Ankara)
Technical Officer - Water Development
The main areas of my work since I joined FAO in 2001 have been irrigation management, on-farm irrigation, crop water management, water productivity and decision support systems such as CROPWAT, for which I am currently responsible. I am an agricultural engineer specialised in water management and have working experience in projects and programmes in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and more recently in Central Asia.
I am a geographer with specialization in spatial analysis and natural resources management.
I have been using GIS and Remote Sensing tools for several years on different subjects (food security and vulnerability analysis at UN-WFP, forest monitoring at FAO and IAO) before joining FAO NRL department, where I mainly focus on water resources.
In particular, the projects I'm currently involved in deal with smallholders' agricultural water management and basin scale water accounting.
I am an Irrigation Water Management Specialist with extensive experience in the Middle East and Africa. My career has included research studies in Syria and the UK on water management. Prior to my research activities, I served as a water engineer at the Ministry of Irrigation in Syria. I joined NRL in 2001, which involved working for IPTRID Programme on developing activities in the Middle East region until 2008. Since 2008 and up to date, my work has directly been linked with the Water Service of NRL with more focus on the theme of investment in water for agriculture.
Technical Officer - Agricultural Water Management
I am an agronomist with specialization in agricultural socio-economics, natural resources management and spatial information management. I have international experience in project identification and management, participatory surveying and planning, and institutional support with FAO (Kenya and Uganda), UNDP (Albania) and the research institutions (Mozambique and Italy). I am mainly responsible for projects on agricultural water management investments options to improve rural livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. I also provide backstopping support regarding water-related matters on projects dealing with food security and emergency in Africa.
Technical Officer - Irrigation
Robina Wahaj holds a PhD degree in Irrigation management. She started her professional career as water management officer in 1992. Since then she has worked on wide range of issues related to Integrated Water Resources Management; Irrigation Modernization; Performance Evaluation of the Irrigation Systems; Conjunctive use of surface and ground water for irrigation; and Gender issues in water management. She has been working as a consultant with FAO since 2001 on projects related to Irrigtion System Management,Canal Operation and Irrigation Modernization.
Jan Van Wambeke (in Santiago)
I am an a soil scientist who has been working with FAO since 1978 in Africa and Latin America in particular with consultancies in the Near East and Asia. My field of work relates to Land and Water Management, Land Evaluation and Participatory Planning of Natural Resources in microcatchments. As a Senior Officer in FAO's in Land and Water Development in the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC), I am involved in FAO's field programme technical backstopping, monitoring and evaluation in the region and in normative work related to Integrated Water Resources Management in particular.
I am an environment officer with FAO. Over the last two decades, I led and supervised geo-spatial information management units related to application of GIS and Remote Sensing technologies to natural resources management, environmental monitoring, sustainable agricultural and rural development, decision support, and ecosystem services. I worked with a number of organizations and institutions from various countries including IGN-France International, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canadaprior to joining FAO in mid-2008. The main focus of my work at FAO is geospatial management and utilization of earth observation products combined with tabular data to support natural resources management and environment, and sustainable use of land, water and genetic resources.
Information Systems Officer
I graduated in agronomic sciences at the University of Bari, Italy with major in rural planning. My main expertise, which was developed over the years through a Master in Florence, Italy, on GIS and Remote Sensing for environmental studies, 6 years in the USA (USGS in Louisiana) as GIS analyst, and since 2003 in FAO, is in geospatial information and technologies for natural resources monitoring and assessment. I have field experience in Myanmar, Libya, Tunisia, Eritrea, and Burkina Faso. Lately, I have been managing activities related to the development and maintenance of desktop and WEB applications for information sharing and dissemination, as well as data management and analysis in geo-enabled systems.