Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy

CEESP Steering Committee

Contact the Steering Committee here.

CEESP Chair and CEESP Deputy Chair

Kristen Walker Painemilla


Kristen Walker Painemilla   Chair of CEESP

Bio note





Ameyali Ramos


Ameyali Ramos ( Mexico) - Deputy Chair of CEESP

Bio note




CEESP Regional Vice Chairs


Jenny Springer, Chair - Theme on Governance, Equity and Rights

Jenny Springer (US) is an anthropologist with over 20 years of experience working on indigenous and community land rights, community-based natural resource management, and social dimensions of conservation. From 2013 to September 2015, she was Director of Global Programs for the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), where she oversaw RRI's global analytical and policy engagement work. Prior to joining RRI, Jenny was Senior Director for People and Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund-US, where she led WWF's policies and programs on indigenous peoples and rights-based approaches to conservation, and was a co-founder of the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights. Jenny’s work on community tenure, natural resource management and poverty reduction includes broad-based experience across Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has conducted field research in South India and the Philippines, served in the Peace Corps in Ifugao (Philippines), and holds degrees from Harvard and the University of Chicago.

Masego Madzwamuse, Chair - Theme on Business, Best Practice and Accountability

Masego Madzwamuse ( Botswana) is the Team Leader for the Economic and Social Justice Cluster at the Open Society of Southern Africa. Prior to joining OSISA she was a freelance consultant working in the area of environment and development. Before then she was a Programme Manager for the UNDP TerrAfrica initiative, which was aimed as mobilizing civil society engagement in processes aimed at up-scaling sustainable land management in Sub-Saharan Africa. Before working for UNDP Masego was a Country Programme Coordinator for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Botswana and later Regional Programmes Development Officer for the IUCN Regional Office of Southern Africa in Pretoria. She holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Sciences and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Environmental Science. Masego has co-lead the People in Nature Knowledge Basket.

Helen Suich, Chair - People in Nature (PiN)

Helen Suich (Australia) is a social scientist whose research has focused on issues of poverty alleviation and sustainable natural resource management for the last 15+ years. Her research examines the impacts on multidimensional poverty and vulnerability of rural development interventions, focusing on those dealing with natural resource management. Helen’s other research interests are the incentive effects of development initiatives and the paths by which such incentives actually affect individuals’ and communities’ perceptions and decisions. She has extensive field experience across southern Africa and in Indonesia. She has most recently worked for the Australian National University and the University of Oxford, but has also worked for the Namibian government, non government organisations and as an independent consultant. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

Kevin Chang, Chair - Theme on Culture, Spirituality and Conservation

Kevin Chang (Hawaii/Pacificis the Executive Director of Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA) a non-profit movement building organization with a mission to increase the capacity of community-based resource management (CBRM) initiatives with a vision of ʻāina momona-- an abundant and productive ecological system that supports community well-being. KUA advances its mission through the facilitation of grassroots community driven learning networks and the development of more equitable collaborations between communities, agencies and larger conservation initiatives. He oversees all organizational fiscal, administrative and programmatic aims. He has a B.A. in Psychology and a J.D. from the University of Oregon. Prior to KUA he was a Land Manager for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a Field Representative for the Trust for Public Lands’ Hawaiian Island Program.

Ashley Massey, Co-chair - Theme on Culture, Spirituality and Conservation

Ashley Massey (US) is Chief Science Officer for Wynn Wynn Moving Pictures and Secretary of the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology. Her current research focuses on sacred forests and the people who conserve them.

She has conducted field research in Malaysian Borneo, the Gambia and South Africa, and has applied GIS and remote sensing to assess large datasets from Ethiopia and Japan. Ashley previously served as Research Assistant for the Mapping the Sacred project at the University of Oxford and as a Peace Corps agroforestry and biodiversity conservation volunteer in Guinea and the Gambia. She holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford in Geography and the Environment, an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, and an AB from Dartmouth College in Environmental Studies.

Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy, Co-chair - Theme on Culture, Spirituality and Conservation

Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy (Madagascar) has a particular interest in ocean governance, indigenous communities and human rights defense. In 2014, she was awarded the United Nations-Nippon Foundation fellowship program with the UN-DOALOS (Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea) in New York. She did her research at the University of British Columbia - Vancouver that focused on strategies to be implemented to insure the sustainable management of the coastal and marines resources of Madagascar. From this research, she learned a lot about the importance of local management and how the involvement of the main actors affected increase the impact on the management.

Convinced that coastal communities are the future of the fisheries in Madagascar, she presented an implementation of a tool that will enable them to manage the country’s resources, with the support of the government and the ONGs that work with them. She currently coordinates Madagascar’s LMMAs (Locally Managed Marine Areas) Network called: MIHARI Network. This network enables LMMAs communities to exchange experiences, enhances capacity building in terms of management, represents their voices and evaluates the options to ensure their financial security. From 2012 to 2014, she worked with the Ministry of the environment and Forests in her country on a climate change project. She holds a Masters degree in Geography and took a course on ocean governance at the University of Dalhousine – Halifax.

Rosie Cooney, Chair - Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi)

Rosie Cooney (Australia) is the Chair of the CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) and a Visiting Fellow at the University of NSW. Rosie is trained as a zoologist and in law but works at the interface of biodiversity conservation, rural livelihoods, and environmental policy and regulation. She has over 15 years experience in international and national policy research, analysis and development within major international NGOs, as an independent consultant, and convening courses in several Australian universities. Her areas of expertise are governance and management of sustainable use of wild resources, hunting, wildlife trade, community-based responses to illegal wildlife trade, and environmental governance, with a strong focus on seeking approaches that both meet human needs and conserve biodiversity. Rosie was appointed as an inaugural member of the UN Secretary-General's Scientific Advisory Board and is a lead author on the Intergovernment Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services regional assessment for the Asia-Pacific Region.

Meher Marker Noshirwani, Regional Vice Chair Asia

Meher Marker Noshirwani (Pakistan) has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Essex, United Kingdom. As a sociologist with 27 years of experience in the field of women, development, environment and climate change, first with Shirkat Gah (a women’s NGO) and currently with TCCR, she has developed projects and programmes on the theme of gender, livelihoods, and sustainable development. As a member of IUCN’s Pakistan National Committee she has served on the Executive Committee of the Pakistan National Committee (PNC), participated in four of IUCN’s World Conservation Congresses and has been a member of IUCN’s Commission CEESP since 2010, and a member of the theme on Sustainable Livelihoods and Sustainable Use Specialist Group. She is currently also working as a Consultant and Researcher on Gender and Environment issues and is the Regional Vice Chair for Asia of the Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP) of IUCN and is also the Technical Advisor to the Trust for Conservation of Coastal Resources (TCCR).

Nigel Crawhall, Chair - Specialist Group on Religion, Spirituality, Environmental Conservation and Climate Justice (ReSpECC)

Nigel Crawhall (South Africa) is a sociolinguist by training. He is currently the Director of Secretariat for the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee. In his voluntary capacity he is on the Executive Committee of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, and has an advisory role with both the Inter-religious Climate and Ecology Network (ICE) and the We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice (WHF) network in Africa.

Nigel served for six years as co-Chair of the IUCN Theme on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA). From 2015, he has been the Chair of the Specialist group on Religion, Spirituality, Environmental Conservation and Climate Justice (ReSpECC). In 2014, he jointly managed the Cross-cutting theme on the New Social Compact for effective and just Conservation (NSC) at the World Parks Congress. In 2016, he co-managed the Spirituality and Conservation Journey of the World Conservation Congress.

His work in IUCN has dealt with protected areas, the World Heritage Convention, the relationship between nature and culture, human rights and conservation, and the role of religious and spiritual communities in climate change and the environment. He has a particular interest in drylands systems, climate adaptation and the application of traditional knowledge systems in environmental and climate challenges.

He holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town in historical sociolinguistics and an MPhil from the University of Zimbabwe. He teaches yoga and meditation in his spare time and enjoys exploring the Cape Floristic Kingdom.  Twitter: @crawhall

Liza Zogib, Co-chair - Specialist Group on Religion, Spirituality, Environmental Conservation and Climate Justice (ReSpECC)

Liza Zogib (Scotland - United Kingdom/Philippines) is founder and co-creator of DiversEarth, an NGO working at the special interface of nature, culture and spirit. As well as working to support local communities and their practices that benefit nature, DiversEarth also focuses on the protection, management and restoration of sacred natural sites and facilitating interreligious dialogue. Liza is a founding member of the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture and coordinator of their current project. DiversEarth’s geographical focus is the Mediterranean, Asia (in particular the Himalayas) and Switzerland. Thematically, DiversEarth directs its energy towards supporting mobile pastoralism and spiritually inspired conservation initiatives.

Prior to the creation of DiversEarth, Liza worked for 11 years with WWF International first within the global protected areas programme and latterly in the Global and Regional Policy unit where she coordinated an international team leading on the development and implementation of WWF’s social policies.

A long time yoga practitioner/teacher and a dancer of Bharata Natyam, Liza’s work is inspired by yogic and tantric teachings.

Elaine Hsiao, Chair - Theme on Environment and Peace

Elaine Hsiao  (USA) is an interdisciplinary legal scholar, specializing in transboundary conservation areas, conflict, and environmental peace building. Her research integrates critical legal geography and political ecology with security, peace and conflict studies in the context of conservation. She has helped provide legal frameworks for transboundary parks for peace, developed a service-learning expedition in Parque Internacional La Amistad, co-directed/produced a documentary film for "Transcending Boundaries," consulted on cross-border protected areas publications and projects, and passed resolutions on the environment, peace and conflict at IUCN and WILD Congresses. She has represented a Small Island Developing State at the UN in climate change issues, received a Fulbright to Uganda (2010-2011) and currently, is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia's (UBC) Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES). Elaine holds a JD and LLM in International and Environmental Law from Pace Law School, where she remains a Fellow, Specializing in Protected Areas at the Pace Center for Environmental Legal Studies.

Galeo Saintz, Chair - Theme on Environment and Peace

Galeo Saintz (South Africa) is an independent conservation, trails and nature-peace advisor. He is founder/co-founder of multiple conservation and trails related initiatives in his home country of South Africa, and Founding Chair of the World Trails Network based in Switzerland, and human-wildlife conflict initiative, the Wild Peace Alliance. He has orchestrated numerous conservation related expeditions to raise awareness for human-wildlife conflict issues relating to rhino and wolves amongst others. His experience in media includes co-producing the documentary film “Wolf OR-7 Expedition” and overseeing communication channels for multiple NGOs he has helped found. He has coordinated multi-country conferences for trails and consulted in the development of trail standards for Nepal, and shaped the strategic vision for Green Flag Trails International.

His research interest includes the confluence point between nature, peace and economics, conservation funding mechanisms, the confluence between trails and conservation, and trails and technology. He is actively pursuing the development of an international Nature Peace Index. Galeo gives regular public talks and presentations at international congresses. He holds an MSc from Schumacher College, UK.

Neil Dawson, Chair - Theme on Human Wellbeing and Sustainable Livelihoods

Neil Dawson (Scotland, UK) is a social scientist in the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia in the UK. He specialises in poverty, wellbeing and environmental justice research among rural populations in developing countries, primarily those living alongside some of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and is a member of The Global Environmental Justice Group, an interdisciplinary group of scholars interested in the linkages between social justice and environmental change.

Neil uses innovative mixed method approaches to understand the dynamic political, social, environmental and economic processes which impact people, particularly poor and marginalised social and ethnic groups. His work, in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South America, covers three interlinked themes: biodiversity conservation and protected areas; agriculture, and; climate change mitigation and adaptation.

His diverse background spans quite different, though now handily complementary disciplines: years each as an ecologist (specialising for some time in seabirds), as a protected area warden and also previously as an economist and chartered accountant. Various projects has taken him to areas where natural resource management has strong implications for local livelihoods: looking at fisheries in Alaska, wetland management in Belarus, forest-based payments for environmental services in Rwanda. These experiences fuelled an interest in the depth of social, economic and ecological understanding actually required to realise meaningful, sustained development for the rural poor at the same time as preserving important biodiversity.

Francisco J. Rosado-May, Chair - Theme on Human Wellbeing and Sustainable Livelihoods

Francisco J. Rosado-May (Mexico) is an agroecologist, graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with over 30 years of experience in research, higher education and outreach in Mexico and other countries in the Americas and Southeast Asia. His work has included integrated coastal management, tropical agroecology and intercultural education. Of Maya origin, Francisco was born in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo, Mexico, several years before the creation of Cancun. 

As part of the founding team of the University of Quintana Roo, in 1991, Francisco held positions as Faculty, Dean of the Science and Engineering Division and Vice President. In 2002, he became the 4th President of UQRoo. While holding this position, he envisioned and worked towards the opening of another public university in his home state, with an educational model that would provide training and knowledge similar to UQRoo along with the local Maya language, culture and ways of constructing knowledge.

In 2007 Francisco became the Founding President of the Intercultural Maya University of Quintana Roo in José María Morelos, with his second term ending in February 2015. Under his tenure, both universities held the highest level in all their academic programs, according to evaluations by national organisms for accreditation.

Francisco has been advancing both agroecology and intercultural education in his research and collaboration with different agencies and non-governmental organizations, including: the United Nations Development Program (member of the steering committee for Mexico since 2012), the Agroecology Fund (member of the advisory committee from 2016 and Board of Directors from 2017), as well as the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society and The Indigenous Partnership, both based in NE India. Francisco’s academic publications are available at Research Gate and Google Scholar.

Nick Conner, Chair - Specialist Group on Local Economies, Communities and Nature

Nick Conner (Australia) has over thirty years’ experience in environmental economics, specialising in socio-economic impact assessment of terrestrial and marine protected areas, rural development, valuation of ecosystem services, and environmental economics capacity building, especially in Oceania. He has worked in water resource planning, energy policy analysis and protected area management, and since 2000, has been involved with the IUCN Secretariat, Commissions and not-for-profit groups on a range of projects including:

  • Co-lead IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management: Ecosystem Services Thematic Group (2017-)
  • Project Adviser, Regional Economic Impacts of Peru Protected Areas, Conservation Strategy Fund (2017-)
  • Consultant, Cook Islands National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan Review: Valuation and Mainstreaming of Ecosystem Services (December 2016-June 2017)
  • Instructor, Conservation Strategy Fund Economic Tools for Conservation courses in Pohnpei, Yap and Palau (Micronesia) (2012-15);
  • Co-author, ‘Economics of Coastal Zone Management in the Pacific’ with IUCN and University of the South Pacific (February 2012);
  • Lead, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Economic Valuation Specialist Group (2006-2013);
  • Economist, Lower Mekong Region Protected Areas Review Programme: protected areas and development in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos (Sept 2001 - Dec 2002).

Nick is qualified in Environment Studies and Agricultural Economics, and is also the Principal Conservation Economist with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage in Sydney, Australia.

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