Staff Bios

Poverty-Environment Facility

Anne Juepner is Co-Director of the Poverty-Environment Initiative and is based at the UN Development Programme’s Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification in Nairobi. Anne brings over 20 years of international development experience with technical expertise in the areas of sustainable livelihoods, natural capital and ecosystems management, and drylands development. She has served as Coordinator of the Drylands Development Centre’s Nairobi Office since 2011. The Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification is responsible for supporting UN Development Programme’s efforts towards sustainable and inclusive development in the drylands, including providing support to the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Prior to this, Anne served as Team Leader, Business Development Unit, with the UN Development Programme Ethiopia Country Office (2008-2010); Resource Mobilization Advisor with the Bureau of External Relations and Partnerships (2005-2007), and External Relations Officer with the UN Development Programme Somalia Country Office (2001-2004). Before joining UN Development Programme, she worked with various non-governmental organizations in Kenya and Germany with a focus on small enterprise development and appropriate technology solutions. Anne is a German national and holds a Master’s degree in Engineering from the Technical University of Freiberg, Germany.  She is currently pursuing her Ph.D at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Isabell Kempf is Co-Director of Poverty-Environment Initiative and is based at the Poverty-Environment Facility in Nairobi. She has more than 20 years of experience working with the UN, including UNESCO, the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean and with the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights. Isabell has widely published on the right to development, poverty reduction and economic, social and cultural rights and brings many years of experience in the area of project management and technical cooperation. She was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Global Governance Institute of the University College London in 2014.  Isabell has a B.A and M.A. from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and holds a Ph.D in International Economics and Development from the University Complutense of Madrid. She also has post-graduate degrees in Gender and Public Policy as well as Social Communication. 

Victoria E. Luque Panadero is Programme Officer responsible for donor relations management and focal point for gender. Victoria has worked with the Poverty-Environment Initiative since 2009 and has over 15 years of development work experience. Before joining Poverty-Environment Initiative, she worked for the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency (AECID) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and for UN Development Programme in Brazil. Victoria has extensive experience with the UN system, including UN Development Programme, UN Environment Programme and the International Atomic Energy Agency. In addition to  a Master’s Degree in International Affairs and Development Studies from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (Sciences-Po), Victoria has a Diploma in International Commerce from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and  a Master’s Degree in English and German Philology.

Alex Forbes is Poverty-Environment Initiative Africa Programme Officer jointly serving also as Programme Officer with the Poverty-Environment Facility. At the Facility, he coordinates Poverty-Environment Initiative’s partnerships and develops related aspects of capacity development to inform the design of the new UNDP‒UN Environment global programme, Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals (2018-2022). Alex is a natural resource management expert with over 20 years of experience in integrated conservation and development. He has in-depth knowledge and expertise in natural resource management within local level, national and regional contexts as well as within public sector and civil society institutions. Prior to joining the Poverty-Environment Facility, Alex worked as advisor to the Poverty-Environment Initiative Kenya programme and at IUCN’s Eastern Africa office in Kenya and Uganda. Alex holds a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Assessment for Development Planning from the University of East Anglia.

Kayla Keenan joined the UN Development Programme in 2007 and most recently has worked with the Kuwait, Yemen and Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic Country Offices. While on detail assignment with the UN Development Programme Kuwait Country Office, she assisted senior management in the design of their flagship project with the Government of Kuwait on development planning and monitoring and evaluation for the Kuwait National Development Plan. With the UN Development Programme Yemen Country Office she was the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the international community’s core electoral project post-Arab Spring Transition. And in the Lao PDR Country office she served as the Head of Programme Support. Prior to her work in the field, Kayla was stationed at UN Development Programme Headquarters in the Bureau for Development Policy working with the then Capacity Development, Poverty and Democratic Governance Groups. She covered issues including anti-corruption and rule of law, the Aid/Development Effectiveness and Financing for Development agendas, and she was the Millennium Development Goals Network and Policy Network Facilitator and lead coordinator for UN Development Programme’s representation and participation in the 2010 UN General Assembly Millennium Development Goals Summit. Before joining UNDP, Kayla worked at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from 2004-2007 as Special Assistant to the Deputy Director and a Project Coordinator (Trade and Development Cooperation Directorates). From 2000-2003 Kayla worked in the private sector with experience in Project Management, Risk Analysis and Marketing Communications for General Electric and Microsoft. She holds a M.A. in Political Science and double B.A. in Political Science and International Relations.

Michael Stanley-Jones is Programme Management Officer responsible for communications, knowledge management and outreach at the Poverty-Environment Facility based in Nairobi. His most recent position was as Public Information Officer with the UN Environment Programme Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Geneva (2009-2014). Michael served as Environmental Affairs Officer with the UN Economic Commission for Europe in the secretariat of the Aarhus Convention (1998) and managed the Aarhus Clearinghouse for Environmental Democracy from 2004 to 2009.  Before joining the UN, Michael served as California State Director of Clean Water Action / Clean Water Fund, chaired the Santa Clara Basin Watershed Management Initiative in California’s Silicon Valley region from 2002 to 2003 and developed historic pollution prevention plans to address copper, mercury and nickel contamination of the San Francisco estuary.  He also served as an expert advisor during negotiation of the Danube River Protection Convention (1994) and the Kiev Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (2003). Michael holds a B.A. in Government from San Jose State University (California State University) and a Master of Arts of Politics from The Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. 

Shitaye Temam is Programme Management Assistant and supports the Poverty-Environment Facility on programme reporting, human resources issues and website support. Prior to joining the UN-Environment, Shitaye worked with the World Food Programme.  She holds a Master’s degree in Social Science from the University of Nairobi and speaks French.


Africa Regional Team

David Smith is the Poverty-Environment Initiative Africa Regional Manager. David is an economist from New Zealand with more than 17 years of experience within UN Environment and a long history of working on the Poverty-Environment Initiative Africa programme. 

Alex Forbes is Poverty-Environment Initiative Africa Programme Officer. He is a natural resource management expert with over 20 years experience in integrated conservation and development. He has in-depth knowledge and expertise in natural resource management within local level, national and regional contexts as well as within public sector and civil society institutions. Prior to joining the Poverty-Environment Facility, Alex worked as advisor to the Poverty-Environment Initiative Kenya programme and at IUCN’s Eastern Africa office in Kenya and Uganda. Alex holds a Masters degree in Natural Resources Assessment for Development Planning from the University of East Anglia.

Moa Westman is the Regional Advisor of Poverty-Environment Initiative Africa and country focal point for Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique. Moa has a Master’s degree in Political Science/Development Studies from Stockholm University.  Prior to joining the Poverty-Environment InitiativeI she worked as a Corporate Social Responsibility Officer for a major wind energy company in India.

Cherif Kane joined the Poverty-Environment Initiative as a Africa Regional Advisor and serves as he focal point for Poverty-Environment Initiative Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania, Before joining Initiative’s Africa regional team at UN Environment Regional Office for Africa in Nairobi, Cherif worked for five years as the Team Leader of the Environment Unit at the UN Development Programme Mauritania Country Office.  He is familiar with mainstreaming poverty-environment, climate change, biodiversity, renewable energy, disaster risk reduction and early recovery and sound management of chemicals into national and local development policies and plans including budget processes.  Before joining UN Development Programme Mauritania, Cherif worked for 10 years on issues related to integrated management of locusts, food security, nutrition and emergency aid with the World Food Programme, the German Cooperation, World Vision Mauritania and the National Centre of Desert Locust Control. Cherif holds a Master’s degree from the Ecole Nationale d’Agriculture de Meknes in Morocco (1995) and a Ph.D in Agriculture from Kenyatta University in Kenya (2004).

Linda Ayiecha joined the Poverty-Environment Initiative Africa Regional team in the UN Environment Regional Office for Africa in May 2016 as a Programme Management Assistant. She joined UN Environment in 2008 as a Programme Assistant with UN Environment’s Division of Global Environment Facility.   She has previously worked with various UN Funds and Agencies in Kenya and South Africa over the last 12 years.  She has a Master’s degree in International Relations and Contemporary Political Theory from the University of Westminster in London.  Linda speaks French and is a fitness enthusiast.


Asia-Pacific Regional Team

Seon-Mi Choi is the Regional advisor of the Poverty-Environment Initiative Asia-Pacific programme. Seon-mi has over 10 years’ professional experience with the UN, government, private and non-governmental organizations in the areas of climate change, poverty-environment nexus and sustainable development. She holds a Master’s degree from Sciences-Po Paris with a specialization on international organizations and development.

Joyce Lee is the consultant responsible for programme management support for Bhutan, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand. Prior to joining Poverty-Environment Initiative, Joyce worked with UN Environment on climate financing and urban ecosystem-based adaptation. She also worked with UN Development Programme to develop and pilot the Climate Public Expenditures and Institutional Review (CPEIR) in Bangladesh and Nepal and with UN Capital Development Fund on local climate financing. Joyce holds an M.Sc. Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London

Prashanthi Subramaniam is a Communications Consultant with Poverty-Environment Initiative Asia-Pacific in Bangkok, supporting on country-based communication strategy, content production, outreach and knowledge management. Prashanthi holds an B.A. (Honours) in Journalism from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, and an M.Sc. in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science, specializing in international media, communications in developing and humanitarian contexts and interpersonal mediated communication.

Yohane Soko is a UN Volunteer with Poverty-Environment Initiative Asia-Pacific, supporting Monitoring, Evaluation and Knowledge Management. Prior to joining the Initiative, Yohane worked for two years with Irish Aid as program officer responsible for monitoring and evaluation and knowledge management. Before that, he worked with Government of Malawi for seven years in the areas of fiscal decentralization and monitoring and evaluation of projects, policies and development plans. Yohane holds a Master of Arts in Economic Policy Management from the University of Zambia, Bachelor of Social Sciences Degree from the University of Malawi, and Graduate Diploma in Leadership Development in Information and Communication Technology and Knowledge Society from Dublin City University.


Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States Regional Team

Nara Luvsan is a Senior Programme Officer for Poverty-Environment Initiative Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States and is located in Geneva.  Her career spans a 20-year period: five with the government of Mongolia in change management and partnership building; 15 years with the World Bank, UNICEF, UN High Commission for Refugees and UN Environment in eastern Europe and at headquarters overseeing policy and programme planning, capacity building, partnership building, monitoring and evaluation. Prior to joining UN Environment, Nara worked in Tajikistan, Georgia and Turkey having extensive experience in managing poverty projects.  She has a strong personal commitment to environmental issues and integrating them into poverty reduction strategies. She has also worked extensively on sustainable development. Nara has a double Master’s degree in Economics and International Public Administration.

Stamatios Christopoulos is Programme Analyst and supports the Poverty-Environment Initiative Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States programme from the UN Development Programme Istanbul Regional Centre. Stamatios  has extensive experience in research and application of development projects. He has 15 years within the field of environmental policy and management. He has a Ph.D in Environmental Science.


Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Team

Piedad Martin is the regional coordination for development officer for Latin America and the Caribbean of UN Environment. She supports UN Environment’s contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, its integration in UN system-wide development work, and the integration of environmental sustainability into country development strategies including UN Development Assistance Frameworks. She has been working for the UN for the past nine years, in Panama, Colombia and Mexico, focusing in the environmental, climate change and sustainable development agenda. Prior to that, she was part of the environmental team of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation both in Madrid’s headquarters and in its office for the Palestinian Territories. She was devoted to make linkages between the sustainable use of natural resources, human rights and poverty in the cooperation strategies with Mediterranean countries. Piedad is an environmentalist by training with a M.A. in Economic Development. She undertook her studies in Spain, the UK and the USA.   

Jaime Mira Salama is a programme officer for Poverty-Environment Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean based in Panama. He has been working for UN Development Programme for more than five years in different countries, formerly acting as poverty reduction official for the UN Development Programme in Mauritania, and has worked for a variety of public institutions including the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the General Directorate of Planning and Evaluation of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs.  His professional experience has allowed him to work in a wide range of countries and with different civil society organizations and public foundations and other institutions worldwide – e.g. Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Kenya, Peru, Paraguay, the Philippines, Senegal, Uruguay and USA – in sectors linked to sustainable development, livelihoods creation, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. Jaime has degrees in Law and Economics, and a M.A. in International Development.

Matilde Mordt is the Regional Team Leader for UN Development Programme`s Sustainable Development and Resilience Cluster. Matilde has worked with the UN in Latin America and the Caribbean in different capacities and countries since 1991. Between 2011 and 2014, she served as Practice Manager for the Environment and Energy Group of the Bureau for Development Policy in New York, overseeing a dynamic global programme and policy portfolio.  Matilde has been a consultant in the areas of natural resource management and poverty reduction, environmental management, rural development and sustainable livelihoods, climate change, and municipal and local development. Between 2004 -2007, she was advisor for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) for its Central American Regional Programme on Natural Resource Management and Environment. Matilde holds a Ph.D in Human and Economic Geography, a Master in Business Administration and International Economics, and a Bachelor in Social Sciences from Gothenburg University, Sweden. As part of her Ph.D, she studied at the Sustainable Development Doctorate Programme at the Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos, Universidade Federal do Pará in Belem, Brazil. She has combined development work with research and lecturing on sustainable development, and has worked with several research centers in the Latin American region. She has collaborated in the formulation of several of UN Development Programme’s National and Regional Human Development Reports.

Gonzalo Pizarro is the Regional Policy Adviser on Poverty, Sustainable Development Goalss and Human Development at the UN Development Programme Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama. Previously he served as the Policy Specialist for the Millennium Development Goals in the Millennium Development Goals Support Team at the Poverty Group of the Bureau for Development Policy of the UN Development Programme, where he, among other things, participated in the design and rollout of the Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework. Gonzalo joined the UN in October 2005 as Policy Advisor for Water Resources of the UN Millennium Project. Since joining the UN System he has focused on mainstreaming of the Millennium Development Goals in the National Development Strategies. He was part of the team which developed the Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework, and led the rollout of the Framework in several countries across the globe and thematic areas. Gonzalo has worked in countries as diverse as Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay. Before joining the UN, he worked in the private sector as a consultant on Water Resource Management and Environmental Sustainability issues. Gonzalo holds a Civil Engineering degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, a M.Sc. on Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D in Natural Resource Management from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from Columbia University, New York. 

Pilar Roman joined the Poverty-Environment Initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean as a Junior Professional Officer (or, ‘JPO’) from the Spanish Government in November 2016. Pilar is an Agricultural Engineer who trained at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain. Pilar holds a MSc degree in Soil Sciences from the Swedish University of Agricultural Science and a diploma in Public Policy from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales de Chile.  She has wide-ranging international experience in agricultural and environmental projects, including organic waste management, family farming, conservation agriculture, waste water reuse and rainwater harvesting. Prior to joining the Poverty-Environment Initiative, Pilar worked at the Joint UN Environment / Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Environment Unit as Associate Humanitarian Officer. Previously, from 2012 to 2016, she was based in Chile working at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), supporting development projects related to soil and water management in vulnerable communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has also worked in the private sector in Spain and the United Kingdom and did field work as a volunteer with Inter-American Development Bank in Guatemala. 

Juan Carlos Duque is part of the support team for the Poverty-Environment Initiative team in Latin America and the Caribbean, as a technical and administrative assistant since May 2016. Juan holds an MSc in Environmental Management from the Unversidad Interamericana de Panamá, where he was exposed to environmental project management skills that would widen his field of knowledge and prepare him for work at UN Environment. He has experience in the field with Global Brigades, as a volunteer in the environmental brigade for the province of Darien, as well as logistics work at Fundación Arvita, a reforestation foundation in Panama.