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The BIOPAMA partnership combines the protected areas and the biodiversity conservation expertise of IUCN with the scientific know how of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Within IUCN as a Union, BIOPAMA brings together the Secretariat and four regional offices, the expertise of the IUCN WCPA – Capacity Development group, and many IUCN members, States and non-governmental, as beneficiaries. Regional organizations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific also participate in the implementation of the programme, especially through the collaboration for the Observatories for protected areas and biodiversity.

The benefits:

The direct beneficiaries of the BIOPAMA programme are the protected area actors at the regional, national and local levels, whose efforts will continue to be supported by the provision of tools, services, capacity development and the possibility to finance actions at the site level.

The regions:

BIOPAMA intervenes in three regions: 79 countries hosting 9,000 protected areas, encompassing a massive diversity of ecological, social, economic and cultural landscapes. The regions represent some of the most challenging places on Earth and host a huge share of our planet’s biodiversity. While the programme’s objectives are the same across all the regions, BIOPAMA can only succeed by tailoring them to respond to specific needs and complement countries’ efforts filling the gaps where they exist.


The European Union

The European Union (EU) is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.

The European Development Fund (EDF) is the EU's main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories (OCTs). The EDF is established within the framework of an international agreement between the EU and its partner countries. The ACP-EU Partnership Agreement – also known as the ‘Cotonou Agreement’ – was concluded in 2000 and is revised every five years.

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States

The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States is the largest trans-national intergovernmental organisation of developing countries in the international system, with 79 member countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Today, the main goal of the Group is to drive South-South solidarity and North-South cooperation for the sustainable development of ACP countries and their successful integration into the world economy. Originally brought together as a result of the Association Clause in the Rome Treaty of 1957, that established the European Common Market, the Georgetown Agreement of 1975 formally established the ACP Group as an intergovernmental association. The group has its own structure and a Secretariat based in Brussels that coordinates its activities and provides a rallying point for its meetings and development agendas.

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC)

The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house science service of the European Commission, provides EU policies with independent, evidence-based scientific and technical support, including policies and programmes at global level and specifically those focusing on the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

In the BIOPAMA programme, JRC leads the design and development of the "Regional Reference Information Systems" (RRIS) for biodiversity and protected areas management that are being deployed in the regional observatories in the African, Caribbean, and Pacific regions.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together. Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 10,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards. IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development. IUCN's Global Protected Areas Programme, four regional offices, two commissions, as well as IUCN members and other experts, take part in implementing and benefit from the BIOPAMA programme.


The BIOPAMA Reference Information System is brought to you by a dedicated group of people distributed across the globe. The core development is done by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, based in Italy. Across the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) region, IUCN have regional programme officers and technical officers for the regional observatories, and we work with numerous partners.


Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn

Regional Coordinator

Hyacinth holds an MA in Environmental Policy and is based at the University of the West Indies in Barbados. She has spent most of her professional career involved in environmental conservation. Her work has centred on improving capacity of institutions, communities and individuals to better manage their natural resources, especially in and around protected areas in the Caribbean.

Jose Courrau

Senior Officer and advisor

IUCN Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Senior Officer and BIOPAMA advisor

Julian Walcott

Technical Officer

Julian has a background in Ecology and Natural Resource Management. His interests are in the design, planning and decision-making processes associated with both marine and terrestrial protected areas.A major outcome of his PhD research was the design of a PA for critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles nesting in Barbados. He makes use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS; primarily ArcGIS) for spatial and temporal analysis.

Anton Shepherd

Web Developer

Anton Shepherd is Web Developer for the BIOPAMA Programme (Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway). He took up his post on March 1st 2019 and is based Barbados. Anton is a Barbadian with a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Computer Science (UWI, Mona, Jamaica). Anton has over 8 years of experience in web development and worked extensively throughout the region as a Developer, Consultant and Project Manager of Web/Mobile technologies for regional and international partners. His passion for opportunities at the intersection between technology and business drives him to create data-driven solutions that impact and improve our lives.


Sebastien Regnaut

Senior Expert

Sébastien is a generalist conservation biologist specialised in conservation genetics. He worked on a variety of taxa (reptiles, amphibians, etc.) in diverse habitats (from Scandinavia to Western Africa tropical forests), inside and outside protected areas. He engages with scholars, conservation experts, local communities, governments, military, hunters, farmers and, in West Africa, with the mining sector as integral part of his projects.

Tanya Merceron

Regional Coordinator

Tanya joined BIOPAMA in September 2018 as Regional Coordinator for Central and West Africa. Prior to join BIOPAMA, she worked for five years in the United Nations, first in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and then in UN Environment. She was the director of a capacity building project for the Haitian Ministry of Environment and then project manager for the ‘Ecosystem approach to Haiti Cote Sud’ project. She is specialized in human rights ethics and holds a Master degree in development from Senghor University (Egypt).

Serges-Roberteau TCHOFFO

Technical Officer

Robertau is a Cameroonian environmental geographer. He is specialised in Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing applied to sustainable land management. Prior to joining IUCN, he worked for the Cameroonian civil Society Organization (FODER) and for the National Institute of Statistics in Cameroon. He managed the technical component of many development projects and conducted GIS capacity building for many civil society organizations.


Pedro Rosabal


Pedro owns years of experience in protected areas project coordination, management, development and negotiation across Africa, Caribbean, the Pacific and beyond. Member of the IUCN World Heritage Panel and of the International Council of Experts of the Institute for Responsible Tourism, he contributes with major technical and policy inputs to the CBD process and UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention, including WH site nominations.

Roxana Bucioaca


Roxana coordinates BIOPAMA communication activities and liaise with programme’s donors, the European Union, the ACP Group and other Brussels-based stakeholders. She works closely with 4 IUCN regional offices in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific. She owns an academic background in Communication, Public Relations, Political Sciences and European Affairs and speaks fluently 4 languages. She joined IUCN in March 2011.

Natasha Ali

Programme Officer

Natasha’s work facilitates the management, upgrade, harmonization and classification of protected area data and information in global databases and portals.She contributes to IUCN’s efforts to inform international and global policy with evidence on the current status and trends of protected area issues observed worldwide. For BIOPAMA, she works specifically to facilitate the implementation of Aichi Targets 11 and 12 in ACP countries.

Carole Martinez


Carole has more than 15 years of experience in protected areas, regional cooperation and marine policy. Expert of the WCPA, she is currently Senior IUCN Grants manager and takes care of two important grant mechanisms managed by IUCN: BEST and BIOPAMA Action Grant. Before joining BIOPAMA, Carole has been Senior Programme Coordinator in charge of the Regional Seas and EU Overseas Programme for IUCN.


Sue Snyman

Regional Coordinator

Sue is Vice-Chair of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Groups (TAPASG) and Research Fellow in Environmental Economics (University of Cape Town) with a PhD in Resource Economics. Her long-term professional experience in ecotourism and conservation in Southern Africa includes eco-tour guiding, community development & liaison, camp management & environmental impact assessments.

Leo Niskanen

Technical Coordinator

Leo Niskanen is the Technical Coordinator of the Conservation Areas & Species (CAS) Programme for IUCN’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office. He is responsible for the development and implementation of IUCN’s species and protected area project portfolio in Eastern and Southern Africa. A Finnish citizen, Leo grew up in Africa and the Middle East. He has over 20 years of experience working across Africa for NGOs and the private sector in biodiversity conservation, business administration and development.


Stephen Peedell


Steve coordinates BIOPAMA at the JRC - European Commission since its very beginning. He liaises with all regional partners in ACP countries and act as contact point for the Pacific. With more than 25 years of professional experience in geospatial information systems and remote sensing for natural resources management, he has a special interest in the architectural development of the ACP-wide and regional Reference Information Systems.

Lucy Bastin

DOPA Developer and Analyst

Lucy is BIOPAMA Eastern Africa regional contact point. Responsible for development of biodiversity indicators and web services under the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA), she owns a background in remote sensing, spatial ecological modelling and GIS development and over 15 years of interdisciplinary research experience on data quality, interoperability, conservation planning and citizen science at the faculty of Aston (UK).

Luca Battistella

GIS Developer

Luca is a geographer with 10 years of experience as open source GIS developer, analyst and web mapping application developer. He joined the JRC BIOPAMA team in 2014 to work at the development of a spatial data infrastructure (GeoNode) for biodiversity and protected areas. In BIOPAMA2, he is in charge of the design and development of DOPA Portal, DOPA Explorer and eConservation.

Serena Boccardo

Science Writer

Serena develops and coordinates technical and science communication contents for the JRC BIOPAMA team. Before joining BIOPAMA in 2018, she worked on urban climate adaptation and resilience projects and collected some research experience in applied microeconomics, labor and development policies. In 2014, she joined climate action networks at the UNFCCC COP20. She speaks English, Italian, French, Spanish and basic German.

Martino Boni

GIS Developer

Martino is a GIS and web developer and he is in charge of the developments of the IMET Global Tool and the GeoNode portal within the BIOPAMA project. His expertise spans from the integration of geo-spatial data with web applications to the design and development of web applications. Before joining JRC, he collected 9 years of experience in engineering and IT companies.

Andreas Brink

Land Cover specialist

Andreas observes key landscape conservation areas - in and around protected areas - for BIOPAMA by means of the Copernicus hotspots monitoring services, aimed at producing land cover and land cover change data and services. Andreas holds a MSc in Geography and specialised in Remote Sensing. Before joining JRC in 2005, he worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in South East Asia.

Michele Conti

Senior Systems Analyst

Michele supports the back-end architecture of BIOPAMA, analyses geospatial data and contributes to the construction of DOPA indicators. He joined the Joint Research Centre in 2000 and, since then, he has been developing IT platforms on desertification, soil degradation, ecosystem services and nuclear safeguards, including the Ecosystem Service Partnership (ESP) in use in BIOPAMA.

Andrew Cottam


Andrew is a conservation data scientist and regional contact point for the Pacific in BIOPAMA. He develops analysis and indicators on species within protected areas and develops some of the infrastructure and services used in the regional and ACP-wide Reference Information Systems. He joined the JRC to work on global species and water management after winning the prestigious ESRI Conservation Mapping Competition in 2011.

James Davy

Web Developer

James leads the technical development of this website and contributes to the development of the regional and ACP-wide Reference Information Systems for BIOPAMA at the Joint Research Centre since the beginning of the project in 2011. He uses his expertise in the Drupal Content Management Framework to do so. Previously, James was working for the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium.

Grégoire Dubois


Grégoire is a zoologist with 20 years of experience in developing environmental information systems for monitoring & modeling. Grégoire heads the Global Conservation And Development (GCAD) project of the JRC which is including DOPA, BIOPAMA and eConservation. He coordinates the developments of the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA), many of which are used in BIOPAMA.

Mariagrazia Graziano

Marine Protected Areas Specialist

Mariagrazia is JRC contact point for the Caribbean region and works for BIOPAMA since 2013. She is a senior marine ecologist specialised in human-environmental interactions and socio-ecological analysis. With her technical and policy expertise, she contributes to the development of marine ecology indicators and marine areas conservation and management in all ACP countries.

Paolo Roggeri


Paolo is an agronomist with 28 years of experience, of which 24 in the European Commission (EU delegations, DG DEVCO and then JRC). He coordinates JRC work on IMET, the Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool. He is also regional contact point for Central Africa. He has been working for more than 20 years on EU programmes and policies for sustainable management of natural resources.

Santiago Saura

Landscape Ecologist

Santiago is responsible for protected area connectivity assessments at the global to regional scales for BIOPAMA. He studied forestry and specialised in quantitative methods for spatial ecology and forestry biodiversity conservation before becoming full Professor at the Technical University of Madrid (Spain). He joined the JRC to work at the BIOPAMA project in 2016.

Jan Philipp Schägner

ecosystem services specialist

Philipp is an environmental economist whose work explores human-nature interactions and the contribution of ecosystem services to human well-being at various spatial scales.For BIOPAMA, he investigates natural, human, social and built capital interactions with protected areas. He works with GIS, geostatistics, ecological economic valuation as well as participatory approaches.

Mélanie Weynants

Spatial data analyst

Mélanie analyses and synthesises data on protected areas to produce maps, indicators and statistics at local to regional level for BIOPAMA. She has a research background in soil physics, land degradation and spatial data analysis. In 2015, she joined the Joint Research Centre to work on the development of models and tools for the integrated assessment of land degradation in the framework of the World Atlas of Desertification.

Claudia Capitani

GIS Developer

Claudia Capitani has a background in wildlife ecology and spatial analysis and developed her career at the science-policy-practice interface. She has a strong interest in ecosystem management and sustainable development, through both top-down and bottom-up approaches. Her research experience encompasses investigating feeding ecology and spatial dynamics of wolves, modeling and assessing environmental impacts of European Union Common Agricultural Policy, tackling sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation through scenarios co-production in East Africa.

Bastian Bertzky

Terrestrial Protected Area Specialist

Bastian is an expert on terrestrial protected areas and JRC contact point for Southern Africa in BIOPAMA. He is a conservation biologist with over 10 years of experience in conservation science and policy, including at IUCN and UNEP-WCMC, and he joined the JRC team in June 2013 to advise DOPA and BIOPAMA in the development of analyses, indicators and tools for improved decision-making on biodiversity.

Giacomo Delli

DOPA Developer

Giacomo is a GIS and Remote Sensing expert with more than 20 years of experience in the application of GIS technology to environmental management, agricultural and water resources management and land cover mapping. He worked in several technical cooperation projects in Africa and Middle East before joining the JRC team in 2017 to contribute to the development of the second phase of the BIOPAMA project.

Christine Estreguil


Christine provides her policy expertise on ecological corridors, ecosystems connectivity and fragmentation to BIOPAMA. After a doctoral degree in remote sensing applications, she specialized in terrestrial land use/land cover, landscape ecology and environmental modelling. She has been conducting scientific research and coordinating EU initiatives on forestry, nature protection and biodiversity conservation for more than 20 years.

Krasimira Ganisheva


For BIOPAMA, Krasimira contributes to the data collection, validation, processing, geo-referencing and maintenance of global biodiversity conservation datasets. She joined the JRC in 2007 to monitor agricultural resources under the Common Agricultural Policy framework. She owns a background in geomatics, agriculture, GIS and database management tools and support.

Andrea Mandrici

DOPA Developer

Andrea is a bio-ecologist with almost 20 years of experience in the analysis and management of spatial data related to Natural Resources. Before joining the JRC BIOPAMA team, he worked in Africa and Middle East with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in development cooperation projects. He joined the JRC as GIS and now data developer for the DOPA component of BIOPAMA.

Andrea Marelli


Andrea is responsible of the technical and operational arrangements of the Integrated Management Effectiveness (IMET) Tool for Central Africa. He has been working for more than 10 years on forestry data and web development with the Forestry Observatory for Central Africa (OFAC). In JRC since 12 years, he will build upon the existing regional IMET Tool to build the IMET Global Tool to be used in all ACP countries.

Ole Ostermann


Ole coordinates the activities of the team working on e-Conservation for the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) portal developed at the Joint Research Centre. His research background in agronomy couples with his experience in biodiversity conservation data collection, validation and geo-referencing. He worked for the European Environment Agency and other international organisations before joining JRC in 2002.

Zoltan Szantoi

Remote sensing specialist

Zoltan has a background in Geomatics with emphasis on remote sensing and geographical information systems. For BIOPAMA, he generates and provides geospatial datasets on land cover change of protected areas and hotspots monitoring in ACP countries to derive habitat maps for biodiversity and conservation monitoring.


Clea Farrow

Protected Areas Officer

Clea is the Protected Areas Officer for BIOPAMA Pacific. For the past nine years she has worked for both government and NGOs in biodiversity conservation law, environmental policy and program management. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Politics, Graduate Certificates in Journalism and Environment Studies and is completing a Master of Environmental Law.

Vainuupo Jungblut

Technical Officer

Vainuupo supports the development of the BIOPAMA regional observatory or the Pacific Islands Protected Area Portal (PIPAP) at the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and History/Politics from the University of the South Pacific (USP), Fiji. He was the Ramsar Convention’s regional programme officer for Oceania from 2004 to 2015 as gained years of experience in regional environmental and conservation issues.

Paul van Nimwegen

Regional Coordinator

Paul joined BIOPAMA in September 2018 and will oversee the implementation of the programme in the Pacific region. Paul is a conservation specialist with considerable experience leading marine and terrestrial projects in the Asia-Pacific region, including for large-scale initiatives such as the USAID SEA Project, Bird’s Head Seascape and the Sustainable Landscapes Partnership. Prior to this, he spent nearly 10 years working with conservation agencies in Australia such as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Kakadu National Park. Paul holds a Master of Marine Conservation and Management from Murdoch University and is fluent in English and Bahasa Indonesia.



The BIOPAMA community on Yammer has currently 700 members and it is growing. It is open to all who have an interest in biodiversity and protected area management, especially in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions.


What is the Reference Information System?

The Reference Information Systems (RIS) is a tool that gathers in one place the information from the many knowledge products, projects, databases on protected areas, species and related information, in addition to the data uploaded, created and generated by the users themselves. This information can be used to support decision making for planning, designating and managing protected areas. The regional versions of the RIS are key features of the BIOPAMA Observatories for protected areas and biodiversity established in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.