Alianza Mundial por el Suelo

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 [email protected]. 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 20 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 and its regional soil partnerships and the establishment 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 UN International Year of Soils in 2015 and managed the publications of a wide range of soil related publications, including flagship publications such as 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, the Protocol for the assessment of Sustainable Soil Management, the Global assessment of soil pollution and the State of knowledge of soil biodiversity. Since its official endorsement by the UN General Assembly in 2014, he coordinates the World Soil Day annual campaigns and preparation of audience-specific technical and communication material. Since 2017, he also coordinated the successful organization of 5 science-policy symposia focussing on global soil threats: the Global symposium on soil organic carbon (2017), the Global symposium on soil pollution (2018), the Global symposium on soil erosion (2019), the Global symposium on soil biodiversity (2021), the Global Symposium on Salt-affected Soils (2021) and the Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition (2022).

[email protected]

Natalia Rodriguez Eugenio

Land and Water officer (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.

[email protected]

Yuxin Tong

International consultant and 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

[email protected]

Isabelle Verbeke

Land and Water officer (Soil Communication)

Isabelle is a land and water officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). She joined FAO in 2002 and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) secretariat in 2012. Since then, she leads the communication team and is responsible for the GSP’s overall communication strategy, advocacy strategies with partners and the development and coordination of communication campaigns, mainly the World Soil Day (WSD) and International Year of Soils in 2015. WSD celebrations grew significantly from 8 celebrations in 2014 to 781 celebrations in 2021, with a global outreach of 1.15 billion users.  She is also responsible for the maintenance of 10 FAO soil-related websites and the publication workflow on soils. She also coordinated the organizational and communication components of 5 political-scientific symposia organized between 2017 and 2021 on a number of soil threats (soil organic carbon, soil pollution, soil erosion, soil biodiversity and salt-affected soils).

[email protected]

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.

[email protected]

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.

[email protected]

Julia Mousquer

Consultant (Communication)

Julia is a consultant who assists the GSP team in communications and design related tasks. She is passionate about soil, agroecology and sustainability. Julia studied Design at the University of Brasília, and has worked at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and the World Food Programme.

[email protected]

Maria Cruz Ferro Vazquez

International Consultant (Sustainable soil management and GEF)

Cruz is a soil scientist with more than 15 years of experience in soil formation and sustainable management. She joined the GSP in 2022 to support the integration of the GSP tools for measuring, mapping, assessing, reporting and monitoring soil health in GEF projects. Cruz holds a BSc degree in Biology, an MSc in Natural Resources, an MA in International Studies, and a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain; and her previous work includes projects addressing the long-term effects of traditional agriculture on soils from environmentally diverse areas worldwide.

[email protected]

Donghyuk Shin

Intern (Soil Information)

Donghyuk joined GSP as an intern in 2023 to assist and support the development of the Global Soil information System (GloSIS) and country-driven global data products. He has programming experience in data analysis with python. He holds a MSc from the Korea University in Environmental Engineering.

 [email protected]

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.

[email protected]

Silvia Pioli

International Consultant (Soil Management)

Silvia is a natural scientist with expertise on soil microbial diversity, organic matter degradation and soil nutrient cycling. She joined the GSP in 2021 to support the implementation of the Global Soil Doctor Programme’s activities including the soil doctor trainings for sustainable soil management. Prior joining FAO she worked as research assistant and teaching assistant for bachelor students in Agricultural, Food and Mountain environmental Sciences at the University of Bolzano, Italy. She holds a Ph.D. in Mountain Environment and Agriculture and a M.Sc. in Nature Conservation.

[email protected]

Lucrezia Caon

Land and Water officer (Soil Management)

Lucrezia is a soil scientist specialised in soil management, land tenure and soil governance that joined the Global Soil Partnership Secretariat of FAO in 2014. She coordinates the implementation of activities on soil laboratories through the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) and is the regional facilitator for the Asian Soil Partnership, the Near East and North African Soil Partnership, and the Pacific Soil Partnership. She holds a M.Sc. in International Land and Water Management from the Wageningen University, Netherlands. Prior to joining FAO, she worked as researcher in European and international projects.

[email protected]

Yusuf Yigini

Land and Water officer (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.

[email protected]

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.

[email protected]

Marcos Angelini

International Consultant (Soil Information)

Marcos is a data scientist, agronomy engineer from Argentina. He has a PhD in Digital Soil Mapping. He worked for the Soil Institute of the National Instituto of Agricultural Technology of Argentina Between 2004 and 2020, participating in different projects related to soil survey and mapping digital soil mapping and developing a soil information system.  He completed his Ph.D. at ISRIC World Soil Information and Wageningen University, the Netherlands, in 2018. His thesis covered topics related to digital soil mapping using structural equation modelling. In 2020, he completed a Postdoc position at INRAE Montpellier, France, where he worked on mapping soil quality indicators. Marcos will be contributing to several aspects of GloSIS development, implementation of AFACI project and our capacity development programme.

[email protected]

Giacomo Rocchegiani

Intern (Soil Law)

Giacomo is a trainee lawyer, passionate about comparative law and specialised in several food-related topics. He joined the GSP as an intern in 2022 to support the implementation of the SoiLEX database on soil-connected policies and legal provisions, and to compile international, regional and national legal instruments with a relevance to soil protection. Prior to this experience, he worked as an intern for the ICQRF, the inspectorate of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for quality certification and food fraud repression. Giacomo holds a Bachelor degree in Law from La Sapienza University in Rome and an L.L.M. in Food Law obtained at LUISS. 

[email protected]

Sergejus Ustinov

International Consultant (Soil Pollution)

Sergejus is a soil pollution specialist with an extensive research knowledge in geology, geochemistry and ecotoxicology. Sergejus received his BSc from Trinity College Dublin and a research MSc from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) where he focused on investigating naturally polluted soils by trace elements emitted and deposited by volcanic eruptions in Italy, Spain, Greece and Peru. His industrial experience was gained in the area of ecotoxicology in Ireland and Belgium where he worked as a scientific consultant understanding the hazardous effects of POP’s, PBT’s, PFAS and other chemicals on the environment. He started working with FAO in 2021 with the main activities related to soil pollution in particularly the development of technical documents to support the full cycle of soil pollution, designing and implementation of field experiments for the remediation of trace element contaminated soils and managing an INSOP network.

[email protected]

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.

[email protected]

Vinisa Santillan Saynes

International Consultant (Soil Fertility/Nitrogen)

Vinisa is a biologist specialized in  carbon and nitrogen cycling in the plant-soil-atmosphere system of agricultural lands forestry systems. She joined the GSP to support the activities in Pillar 1 (Soil Management) associated with CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation in agriculture. She is also supporting the implementation of The international Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers. She holds a PhD. in Soil Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. 

[email protected]

Maria Konyushkova

International Consultant (Soil Salinity)

Maria is a soil salinity expert with almost 20-year experience in the field work and research in arid and salt-affected regions of Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and China. She joined the GSP Secretariat in 2021 to lead the work of the GSP in the topic of soil salinity. Prior to joining FAO, she worked as a soil scientist in the department of salt-affected soils of Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute and as a soil expert in the Eurasian Center for Food Security. She was an active actor in the work of the subregional Eurasian Soil Partnership and an expert from Europe in the FAO Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils. She holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Soil Science.

[email protected]

Nathalie Bjørneby

Intern (Recarbonization of Global Soils)

Nathalie Bjørneby is an agronomist from Norway. She will support the implementation of the RECSOIL initiative (Recarbonization of Global Soils) and in the preparation of the the World Soil Day campaign 2022. Before joining GSP, she has worked with practical farming in Norway, including planning and execution of in-field operations and implementing sustainable soil management practices. Previously she has interned at Yara, supporting the development of an agronomy course for non-agronomists. In addition, she has been involved with setting up field trials on conservation farming with a Zambian NGO. Nathalie has also experience in the marketing of local foods, including website design,  newsletters, and social media. She holds a bachelor's degree in plant sciences.

[email protected]

Magdeline Camille Vlasimsky

Consultant (GLOSOLAN)

Magdeline is supporting the Global Soil Laboratory Network with a special focus on soil spectroscopy. She holds a BA in chemistry from Colorado College and a Master in Biogeochemistry of Soil with the IMSOGLO program.

[email protected]

Filippo Benedetti

International consultant (Soil management)

Filippo is a soil scientist who joined the GSP Secretariat in March 2020 to support the implementation of Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) work plan. He is also assisting with the coordination of the International Network on Fertilizers Analysis (INFA) and the implementation of the International Network of Salt-affected Soils (INSAS). Before joining FAO, Filippo worked as soil surveyor (especially in vineyards) and formulated precision agriculture and sustainable soil management guidelines for a range of stakeholders. He holds a M.Sc. in Physical Land Resources from Gent University, Belgium and a BSc in Geology from Rome university. 

[email protected]

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.

[email protected]

Isabel Luotto

International consultant (Soil Information/Data)

Isabel is a soil information consultant who joined the FAO’s Global Soil Partnership in 2019. She holds a MSc from the University of Hohenheim in Tropical Agricultural Sciences.  She has extensive experience in handling and extracting valuable information from large datasets and has developed a passion for making complex soil data related topics approachable and scalable. Over the years she has trained hundreds of national experts in digital soil mapping and modeling.

[email protected]

Lydiah Gatere

International consultant (RECSOIL) 

Lydiah is a soil scientist who joined GSP in 2022 to support the implementation of RECSOIL carbon pathway, recarbonization (soil organic carbon) and carbon market projects. She provides technical support/analysis, contributes towards carbon sequestration and emission strategies to projects on sustainable soil management to conserve and sequester organic carbon in soils. Previous to joining FAO, her different assignments included innovation of a portable soil diagnostic system known as SoilDoc and climate smart agriculture. She holds a doctorate in soil fertility, nutrition and biogeochemistry, and MSc in agricultural extension and international agriculture.

[email protected]