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Fabiana Issler is the CEO of EBD Global Optimum and ensures quality control of all jobs undertaken through the company. 


Versed in five languages, her main niche is in environment finance projects, in particular those financed by the Global Environment Facility - GEF.


In 2015, Fabiana took a bold turn by quitting a secure job in the UN and established the company. 


A social scientist with more than 15 years of broad international experience, Fabiana holds a Master degree from Roskilde University, Denmark, in International Development Studies and Environmental Planning. 


Fabiana worked for the United Nations Development Program UNDP for over a decade and maintains a strong network in the organisation. See her legacy work from her time at UNDP.


A voracious non-fiction reader, Fabiana also enjoys music and travelling. 


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Brian J. Huntley is a conservation scientist with over 45 years of field research and management experience in many African countries. 


He has initiated and led to successful conclusion several major inter-disciplinary cooperative research and institutional development projects, and has visited over 50 countries as an invited speaker/reviewer of biodiversity conservation activities.


His fieldwork extends from the Sub-Antarctic tundra to the rainforests of the Congo. He has served on many international panels and committees, including those of the IUBSSCOPE, IUCN and the GEF-STAP (Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility). He is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Cape Town and is a Research Associate at the Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University.
Following retirement as CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute - SANBI, Professor Huntley is currently engaged as an independent consultant on conservation research and implementation projects in several African countries, and in reviews of conservation projects around the world for various United Nations agencies. He has published widely on ecological and environmental conservation issues. 
Passionate about Lusophone Africa, Huntley works closely with conservation activities in Angola and Mozambique. He speaks Portuguese in addition to English and Afrikaans. 

In retirement, he and his wife live in a small village near the southernmost tip of Africa, between the Kogelberg Mountains and the sea, at the epicenter of the Cape Floral Kingdom and within sight of whales and penguins. 


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James Jackelman has 14 years of direct work consulting experience in government (SANParks, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, City of Cape Town), NGO (Wilderness Foundation) and private (Sea Farm) conservation and protected areas agencies in South Africa. 

Since 2002, he has traded as a sole proprietary business providing consultancy services in strategic and operational planning and management of protected areas, protected area systems and protected area institutions. Much of his recent contractual work has been focused on supporting the design, development, implementation and performance monitoring of GEF-funded biodiversity conservation projects. 


His protected area and biodiversity planning and management experience spans 6 sub-Saharan African countries (South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana), 2 Indian Ocean Islands (Mauritius, Seychelles), 6 eastern European countries (Montenegro, Croatia, Latvia, Moldova, Macedonia, Albania), 6 central Asian countries (Azerbaijan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan), 1 south Asian country (Pakistan), 1 Oceania country (Papua New Guinea) and 1 south-east Asian country (Thailand). 

It includes work on inter alia: protected area management planning (15 national parks, 52 nature reserves, 2 world heritage sites and 1 trans-frontier conservation area); protected area expansion (5 countries); financial and business planning for protected areas (5 countries); institutional development of protected area agencies (3 countries); norms and standards for protected areas; national and local biodiversity strategies and action plans; biodiversity mainstreaming; ecosystem-based climate change adaptation; agro-biodiversity conservation; and sustainable forest and pasture management.


James has developed an extensive and wide-ranging knowledge of national and international best practices in biodiversity conservation and protected area management. He has exceptional project management skills, with a particular strength on retaining a focus on completing the contracted work on time, within budget and to very high standards. He has also demonstrated a unique skill in conceptualizing and tailoring new, creative and innovative approaches to addressing idiosyncratic conservation challenges across a wide variety of contextual situations.


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Currently an independent consultant with more than twenty years of experience, working at the nexus of the environment and international development, She has expertise in climate change adaptation (EbA, EcoDRR and CbA), ecosystem management, gender and governance from working for a diverse group of clients, including GIZ, UNDP, CARE International, World Bank, Danida and WRI. Tine has worked in 30 countries, leading a wide range of assignments pertaining to strategic planning, program design and management, knowledge management, monitoring & evaluation, action research and stakeholder engagement. 

Tine has worked extensively on testing and ‘translating’ academic approaches into evidence-based practice. She also has significant policy experience from working closely on environmental governance and capacity development with multiple stakeholders at all levels in the GEF-funded National Capacity for Self-Assessment processes.

She is very skilled in design and delivery of practical, user-friendly tools and training for gender-responsive climate adaptation, participatory M&E and environmental management appropriate for practitioners, policy-makers or local communities. While with CARE, she led the development of and training in holistic and participatory approaches to capacity assessments, climate risk & vulnerability assessments, climate scenario planning and M&E, combining climate-resilient ecosystem services, livelihoods, disaster risk reduction and governance elements.

Tine speaks Spanish in addition to English and Danish and holds a Masters degree in International Relations/Economics from John’s Hopkins SAIS and a Bachelors degree in International Business Administration/Economics from Copenhagen Business School.  

An avid nature lover, Tine is passionate about hiking, sea kayaking, traveling and yoga.


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Fraser Brown holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, and an MBA in International Business Management from Trinity College Dublin.


He has extensive experience in the private sector and is currently working on various Green Climate Fund projects with a number of governments and institutions.


He sits on an international working group for the Climate Finance Lab supporting the design of an innovative Climate Smart Lending Platform for smallholder farmers, and he specializes in innovative finance, especially the design of climate finance mechanisms. 


Fraser is the Senior Advisor Green Finance for the World Agroforestry Centre - ICRAF, and supports IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as a consultant. His niche consultancy – Net-Positive Solutions – focuses on supporting the realization of the Bonn Challenge through finance, and he maintains strong networks amongst the members of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration - GPFLR.


A creative thinker, his core professional goal is to leverage his skills and experience in the best way possible to tackle the challenges of climate change, population and finite resources.


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Steven Smith is a leader in resilience and adaptation to climate change, peace building, and renewable energy.


His caree r in Africa and Haiti have targeted the needs of communities, women, and disenfranchised youth.  In the Sahel, the Great Lakes of Africa, and Haiti, he has supported adaptation to climate change, strengthened environmental protection and natural resource management to break the links with conflict.  

Women are key to successful property reduction long-term and his work has helped women in small business and small holder agriculture.  He launched the Women in Transition Program in Rwanda in 1995 which became a model for women in development. 


He has evaluated donor funded programs in South Asia, Africa and Haiti from humanitarian assistance to reducing violent extremism.  His analysis and recommendations have been provided to a diverse set of recipients, including the United Nations, international NGOs, the White House, members of the US Congress, and private foundations.


Steven has been a successful entrepreneur in renewable energy and energy efficiency in both utility scale and community targeted projects.


He is an effective public speaker and published author.  His current book project is the author's own story about being drawn from the private sector into the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and other conflicts and what that experience taught him about how to manage the challenges facing us today. 


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Following an initial background in literature, linguistics and social sciences, David Sumares turned his attention to the resolution of environmental conflicts and he is specialized in discourse analysis, inclusive governance and environmental management/policy.

After his PhD on the implementation of the Natura 2000 Network, he is now interested in contributing to sustainability-related initiatives and projects, particularly in regard to the social, cultural and political aspects of their specific contexts. Although crucial, such dimensions are often underestimated and neglected in the way environmental issues are most commonly framed and addressed.

Passionate about biodiversity and environmental justice, David strongly believes in the importance of establishing a relationship with the natural world that is based on responsible and authentic stewardship rather than on mere instrumental value.

In recent years, David has become increasingly interested in forest and landscape restoration and in the respective linkages to local governance. At a more practical level of ecological restoration, he is also developing expertise in permaculture design.


Having lived and worked in different countries and currently based in Brussels, David is fluent in five languages.


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Tatiana Botelho is currently an independent consultant and post-doctoral researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.  


Her research stems from 15 years experience working with businesses, investors and governments assessing the role of financial institutions in stimulating concrete implementation and sustainability practices and policies. A native Portuguese speaker, she is also fluent in Spanish and English. 


Tatiana was awarded the FAPERJ Nota 10 scholarship during her doctoral studies, participated in the Oikos/PRI Finance scholar program and was a fellow of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development - CEBDS.


She received a Bachelor in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University with a minor in Latin American Studies, and her masters in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.


Recently, she has been actively engaged with local organic agriculture, becoming a producer of vegetables and grains.


Tatiana is a mother of two boys and is very engaged in teaching sustainability principles at middle and high schools. She loves cycling, reading and traveling.


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João is a forest engineer with a Master’s degree in Environmental Conservation from Federal University of Paraná (2000). He holds a solid experience in Private Lands Conservation and Payment for Ecosystem Services projects, in which he was able to practically apply his knowledge of Conservation Mechanisms for Private Lands, Water Resources, Environmental Legislation and Geographic Information Systems.

Since 2001 he has been involved in threatened ecosystems conservation efforts in Brazil, first working at the Environment Department of one of the biggest mining companies in the world (Vale), and then joining Boticário Foundation, a conservation-driven Brazilian NGO, where he managed Private Lands Conservation projects related to PES and Environmental Law compliance.

He has been involved in Ecosystem Services matters since 2003, and coordinated one of first Water Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) projects in Brazil - the Oasis Project (Projeto Oásis). He worked at The Nature Conservancy, in the science team first, and then coordinating the implementation of several Water PES projects in Brazilian Atlantic Forest. In 2014 he had joined Fauna & Flora International where he was managing projects involving biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. He has also developed studies regarding conservation benefits economic valuation for one of the largest private reserves within Brazil's Atlantic Forest.

Recently he has started his own environmental business, Aquaflora Meio Ambiente. Aquaflora is dedicated to develop solutions regarding maintenance or enhancement of natural resources. Aquaflora’s work focuses on:

- Ecosystem Services Modeling and Valuation

- Training in Ecosystem Services modeling tools (InVEST and RIOS)

- Spatial Analysis with GIS tools 

- Formulation and implementation of projects Payments for Ecosystem Services

- Economic Mechanisms for Conservation 

- Environmental projects development

- Project Impact Assessment

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Claudia Bethlem

Biologist and Oceanographer, graduated from Fundação Universidade do Rio Grande.

Brings onboard 26 years of work experience in on coastal zone and offshore areas, in particular with risk analysis and environmental impact assessments for a variety of sectors.

Successfully managed over 60 projects on coastal areas, including in Brazil, Africa and other Latin American countries

Worked extensively implementing conservation measures for endangered species on marine and coastal biodiversity hotspots, Has in-depth expertise about marine mammals' life traits and sea turtle conservation.


Was a UNDP contractor for the Brazilian environmental agency - IBAMA, where she developed guidelines and procedures for coastal zone management. Also assisted climate oriented NGOs, developing studies and awareness training.

Claudia is an experienced and successful coach and trainer. 


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