XV World Forestry Congress

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee is an important advisory body of the World Forestry Congress, composed of internationally recognized professionals from a range of backgrounds, including governmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society, research institutes, academia and the private sector. The Committee supports the preparations of the Congress by providing guidance on the content and structure of the technical programme, and by proposing keynote speakers and authors of special invited papers. The Committee is also expected to promote wide participation and promoting the event.


Trevor Abrahams currently serves as the Managing Director of the Working on Fire programme, which engages some 5 000 youth in integrated fire management in forests, mountains and plains in South Africa and in deployments to Indonesia, Chile and Canada and has been engaged in managing aerial and ground wild land fire fighting since 2007. He served as the Secretary-General of the XIV World Forestry Congress held in Durban in September 2015. His tertiary education started at the University of Cape Town where he obtained a B.A. (Majors in Social Anthropology, Psychology and Comparative African Government and Law) and B.A. Hons (Psychology). He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies in Political Economy at the State University of New York, where he obtained a M.A. in Sociology. He has published numerous articles on Political Economy, Education and Aviation.

Luis Miguel APARICIO

Luis Miguel is a forest engineer with a MSc in forest resources conservation and specializations in environmental resources management and sustainable development, forest certification, forest management and project management. He has worked in several countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa; his areas of expertise include climate change mitigation and adaptation, natural resources policy and management. He currently holds the position of Senior Forests Officer in GGGI. Before joining GGGI he worked for the Climate Change and Sustainability Division of the Inter-American Development Bank; previously he worked as technical coordinator of the Forest Service in Peru, lead auditor for FSC forest management and forest chain-of-custody certification, forestry expert and validator/verifier for CDM and VCS emission reductions projects, programmes of activities and REDD+ jurisdictional programmes.


León Jorge Castaños Martínez is Chairperson of the FAO North American Forest Commission (NAFC) and General Director of Mexico’s National Forestry Commission, working towards forests for social and climate wellbeing. In Mexico’s federal government, he has served as Director General for Forestry Development, at the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock, as Undersecretary of Forestry, in the Secretariat of Agriculture and Hydraulic Resources and as Executive Secretary of the first National Forestry Commission between 1986 and 1988. He received the National Forestry Merit Award in 2002, and since 2014 has been an honorary member of the National Academy of Forestry Sciences. Since 2005, he has been in charge of delivering the "Forestry-Rural Development of Mexico" award. He earned his Bachelor Degree of Agricultural Engineer specialized in Forests from the National School of Agriculture, Chapingo, in Mexico, and his Master’s degree in Forests from Oregon State University, in the U.S.


Juan Chang is currently the Deputy Director a.i. of the Division of Mitigation and Adaptation and Principal Forest and Land use Specialist of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). In this role, he oversees the pipeline of forest and land use proposals to the GCF globally. Previously, he held the position of Senior Forests and Climate Change Specialist of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) responsible to promote forest investments in Latin America, and prior to that worked as forestry GHG auditor for the Clean Development Mechanisms and voluntary carbon markets with the company TÜV-SÜD. He also has several years of field work experience in the Peruvian Amazon, accumulating 20 years of professional experience. He is a Forest Engineer with a Master's degree in Forest Conservation from the La Molina Agrarian University in Peru and several certificates in finance, economics, GIS, and others.


Mirna Cunningham Kain is a medical doctor and works as a Public Health Practitioner with the Miskitu indigenous population on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua.  She is committed to the development of indigenous peoples and has advocated for their autonomy on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. She is a human rights activist and served as the Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN, as well as advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly during the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples at the UN in 2014. She has been collaborating with PAHO/WHO on issues related to the health of indigenous peoples over the last 25 years. She currently serves as the President of the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the CARIBBEAN- FILAC and Chairperson of the Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous People (CADPI).

Christine FARCY

Christine Farcy is the chairperson of the European Forestry Commission of FAO as well as the vice-chairperson of the Board of the European Forest Institute (EFI). She is a Forest Engineer and holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences. She dedicated many years to research activities and is interested in building bridges between natural, human and social sciences. During the Belgian Presidency of the European Union in 2010, she chaired the Working Party on Forestry of the EU Council. Since 2010, she has acted as advisor on international forest policies for the Walloon Region (Belgium) and has been a negotiator for Belgium in various international fora. As of 2019, she is doing so as part of the Ministry (SPW). She is also an invited lecturer at UCLouvain University (Belgium), where she has been teaching forest planning and international forest challenges since 2009.

Martin FRICK

Martin Frick is the Deputy Head of the Food System Summit Secretariat. He is seconded from the UN Climate Change secretariat where he served oversees as Senior Director overseeing the implementation of the Paris Agreement and climate action. He previously served as Director of the Climate Change Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He was also the German representative for human rights and humanitarian affairs at the UN General Assembly and served as the European Union’s lead negotiator in the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council. As Ambassador to the international organizations based in Germany, he helped build up the UN’s sustainability hub in Bonn.



Ross Hampton has been Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) since 2013. AFPA is the peak industry body representing tree growers (indigenous forest and plantation), timber processors (native and plantation) and the pulp, paper and bioproducts sector of Australia. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is Vice Chair of FAO’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI), a member of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) and a Director on the Board of the Industry Skills and Training Organisation, ForestWorks.



Diane Holdorf is the Managing Director of Food & Nature at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), based in Geneva, Switzerland. Before joining WBCSD, she was Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Kellogg Company. She was recognized as a Maize and Wheat Super Woman by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center as part of the United Nations’ International Women’s Day in 2015. She received her bachelor’s degree in public communications and in German from Syracuse University. She also completed the Executive MBA Program at the University of St. Thomas.



Godwin Kowero, Executive Secretary of the African Forest Forum (AFF), is a Tanzanian professor of forest economics and policy analysis. He has considerable teaching experience in several universities in Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique; and also in international research in forestry, mainly with the Center for International Forestry Research where he served for 10 years. He guided the establishment of AFF in 2007, and has since been its Executive Secretary-CEO. The AFF is a pan-African institution based in Nairobi, Kenya, and is also the apex forestry institution in Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in forest economic and policy analysis, as well as an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, and also of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences. He has over 80 peer reviewed publications, including chapters in books, and several books.


Prior to being elected as IFSA President, she held the position of the Head of the IFSA UNFCCC Sub-Commission and led the delegation in COP25. She is an undergraduate studying forest science at the University of Helsinki with a specialization in tropical forestry and agroforestry. She is also a member of the Youth in Landscapes (YIL) Steering Committee and outside of IFSA, she is accomplished in entrepreneurship, having set up and ran her own successful local business in the forestry field. Alina Lehikoinen is the President of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA), which is the largest international network of students in forestry and related sciences.


Morongoa S. LESEKE

Morongoa Suzen Leseke is the Chairperson of the FAO African Forestry and Wildlife Commission. She has been the Acting Deputy Director General of the Forestry Management branch in the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment of South Africa since 2019. She is also the Chief Director, Forestry Operations, responsible for management of state-owned plantations throughout the country as well as nurseries. During her 33 years in government service, she held several senior positions and beyond forests, she worked on marine resource protection and fighting environmental crimes. She was Chairperson of the Departmental Bargaining Council, where labour unions and employers converge to discuss employee and employer matters and was the chairperson of the Quality and Assurance subcommittee on the Board of Fibre Processing and Manufacturing. She obtained her university degree from the University of South Africa.

Musonda MUMBA

Musonda Mumba is currently the head of the UN Environment’s Terrestrial Ecosystems Team, with over 20 years’ experience in environmental and conservation issues globally. She recently became the Chair of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR). Her responsibilities include providing leadership on Forests and Climate Change, Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) Approaches, technical expertise to governments globally, developing appropriate policy dialogue and strategic direction around Terrestrial Ecosystems. She has published widely in various journals, newspapers, and articles, and has contributed to book chapters. She will also be the UN Environment lead on Terrestrial Ecosystems for the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030), proclaimed by a UN General Assembly Resolution on 1st March 2019.


Marianna Muntianu is an environmentalist and Young Champion of the Earth – 2019. She was included in the list of the 100 best youth of the Kostroma region (Russia) and was elected to the Youth Government of the Kostroma Region IV Council, where she headed the Ministry of Natural Resources. After large-scale forest fires in 2010 which caused enormous damage to Russian forests, she became involved in environmental activities. Within 10 years, 1 000 000 trees were planted with her support. This year, she led the development of an online mobile game called “Plant the forest”, which allows people to turn virtual trees into real forests. The game has received awards both internationally and nationally. In 2019 she founded the Russian Climate Fund to unite businesses, the public and authorities for joint climate change projects. She has been engaged in public activities since 2007.

Cosmas Milton OCHIENG

Cosmas Milton Obote Ochieng is the Director of the African Natural Resources Centre (ANRC) at the African Development Bank. Before joining the Bank, he was Professor of the Practice of Global Development Policy at the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University. He has also served as the Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Nairobi, Kenya, and as the Technical Coordinator of the Business, Economics and Biodiversity Programme of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Eastern and Southern Regional Office in Pretoria, South Africa. His other past appointments include Lecturer, Lancaster University; Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute; and Trade and Investment Policy Officer, Action Aid International.

Eunsik PARK

He holds a Ph.D in forest resources from Seoul National University and joined the Korea Forest Service in 2001. Since then, he has developed an extensive expertise in areas ranging from forest policy to forest recreation and resources. Eunsik PARK is Director-General of the International Affairs Bureau of the Korea Forest Service and serves concurrently as Secretary-General of the XV World Forestry Congress. Prior to this, he worked as Vice Executive Director of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) from 2018 to 2021 and contributed to strengthening international cooperation in the forest sector of the Asian region.



John Parrotta is the President of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations - IUFRO (2019–2024). A research scientist with the USDA Forest Service since 1991, he has served as national research program leader for international science issues since 2001. He provides scientific and technical advice for development of science-based policy positions in international forest policy forums and works with government agencies, international organizations and other partners to strengthen global forest science, biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management.  He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and has been engaged in research worldwide for over 30 years, with a focus on tropical forest ecology and management, traditional knowledge, and forest landscape restoration. He is the author of a number of books and over 180 other research publications and serves as an editorial board member for several international scientific journals.


Kati Partanen is a farmer and forest owner from central Finland. She is a board member of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, in Finland and Facilitator and Chair of the Women’s Committee in the World Farmers’ Organization. She is also working outside of her farm as Senior Lecturer of Farm Economics in Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Iisalmi, Finland. Forestry is a very important part of her farm’s activities. Family forestry is an important corner stone of the economy in Finland and it also ensures diversity and sustainability of forestry. Therefore, she is speaking for sustainable family forestry and bringing the forest owners’ view to the discussion. She holds a Master’s degree in Agriculture and she is also an educated vocational teacher.


Estrella “Esther” Penunia is the Secretary-General of the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), a regional alliance of national farmers’ organizations in Asia. Established in 2002, AFA is currently composed of 20 national farmers’ organizations in 16 countries, representing around 13 million small scale men and women farmers. AFA promotes farmers’ rights to lands, waters, forests and seeds, sustainable, climate-resilient agro ecological approaches in farms, fisheries and forests, strengthening farmers cooperatives and their enterprises, women empowerment and attracting the youth to agriculture, through an integrated programme on policy advocacy, capacity building and knowledge management. 



Yusuf Serengil is the Chair of the FAO Near East Forestry and Range Commission. He is a senior scientist and expert on forestry, forest hydrology and carbon accounting with a background in climate change policy and implementation. He has been working in the Department of Watershed Management at Istanbul University Cerrahpasa since 1995. He has also been involved with IUFRO activities since 2003 and served as a member of several Task Forces. He also served as Coordinator, Conference Advisory Board Member, Session Chair and Organizer at several global events. He has been involved with UNFCCC processes as a national policy advisor, negotiator and inventory expert since 2010. He has led several scientific and technical projects on climate change mitigation and adaptation, working as sectoral editor or editorial board member for scientific journals and published over 100 papers.


Pedro Soust Aycaguer is an agronomist with 35 years of experience in the forest sector and 24 years of experience working in an advisory capacity to the government. He is the Director General at the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fishery in Uruguay, and also the representative of Uruguay for COFO, REDD+, COP, UNFF, the Probio Project, and the Black River Initiative. Previously, he held the positions of Director at Agrocarmen LTDA, Director and owner of Su Vivero, Managing Director of La Pedrada S.A., and Vice President of the Commission on Science and Technology. He has a degree in agronomy from the University of Uruguay and a Master’s degree in integrated rural development from Fundación Getulio Vargas.



Bambang Supriyanto is Director General of the Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Republic of Indonesia and vice-chairperson of the FAO Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission. He was convinced to play some important roles in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry i.e. Head of Planning Bureau; Director of Research and Development for the Social Economic Forest Policy and Climate Change Center and Director of Utilization of Environmental. He obtained a PhD in Management of Land and Forestry and a Master's degree in Forest Policy and Planning at the University of Ghent-Belgium and a post-doctoral degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. Since 2018, he has been an active member of the Steering Committee of the Forest Farm Facility in FAO.


She has extensively worked in the water, environment, energy and agricultural sectors, and programmes she led are used as case studies for best practices. She is a recipient of several awards including the prestigious Superior Honor Award by the Government of the United States of America in 2012. Seta Tutundjian joined the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in 2014 as the Director of Partnerships and Knowledge Management, and in 2018 assumed the role of Director of Programs. Prior to that she worked for 15 years for the United States Agency for International Development. She has led the formulation and implementation of several complex, multi-sectoral, transformational change programmes that promoted a greener and more sustainable economy and culture, as well as more efficient and responsive organizations.

Arifin Fuad ZAINAL

Zainal Arifin Fuad is a national of Indonesia and a member of the International Coordination Committee of La Via Campesina (LVC). LVC is an international movement bringing together millions of peasants, small and medium size farmers, landless people, rural women and youth, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. Built on a strong sense of unity and solidarity between these groups, it defends peasant agriculture (Agroecology) for food sovereignty as a way to promote social justice, climate and environment justice. His national organization is the Indonesian Peasant Union. He is also a member of the International Work Collective of La Via Campesina on Peasant Rights; and Land, Seed, Water and Territories.