Responsibilities in International Conventions
Consultant for the Directorate-General for the Natural Environment and Forest Policy, Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs and for the General Secretariat of Foreign Trade (Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade) on International Conventions: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1991 and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since 2001.
Participated as a member of the Spanish delegation in the following Conferences of the Parties (CoP) to CITES: Japan (1992); USA (1994); Zimbabwe (1997); Kenya (2000); Chile (2002); Thailand (2004); The Netherlands (2007) and Qatar (2010).
Elected Chair to lead the discussions of Committee I at the 11th Conference of the Parties to CITES held in Kenya (2000).
Expert since 1991 for the European Commission Directorate-General Environment Directorate E - International Affairs ENV.E.2 - Environmental Agreements and Trade; Spanish representative in the CITES Scientific Review Group.
European representative in the CITES Plants Committee, elected by the European region at the 9th CoP (USA, 1994), re-elected at the 11th CoP (Kenya, 2000); at the 13th CoP (Thailand, 2004) and at the 15th CoP (Qatar (2010). Organised 5 European regional meetings of CITES Scientific and Management authorities for plants in Italy (2), Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
Vice-Chair of the CITES Plants Committee, elected in 1995 at the 6th Plants Committee meeting and Acting Chair of the CITES Plants Committee from November 1996 to 1997.
CITES Plants Committee Chair, elected after the 10th Conference of Parties (CoP) in Zimbabwe, 1997, re-elected five times after the 11th (Kenya, 2000), 12th (Chile, 2002), 13th (Thailand, 2004), 14th CoP (The Netherlands, 2007) and 15th CoP (Qatar (2010). Chaired 12 Plants Committee meetings in Costa Rica, Chile, Australia, the United States, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Switzerland (3 times), Namibia, Peru and Argentina and Co-chaired four joint meetings of the Animals and Plants Committees in the USA, Peru and Switzerland (twice).
Chaired the 4th meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Granada, Spain (30 January – 3 February 2006) with sponsorship from the Spanish Ministries of the Environment and Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Participated in the Spanish delegation in the following Conferences of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity: 6th CoP (the Netherlands, 2002, during the Spanish presidency of the European Union) - coordinated the EU on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, which was adopted by consensus; 8th CoP (Brazil, 2006) - presented the results of the 4th ABS WG meeting; 9th CoP (Germany, 2008) - followed the ABS issue.
Participated as a member of the Spanish delegation in the following meetings of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS): 3rd (Bangkok, 2005); 4th (Granada, 2006); 5th (Montreal, 2007), 6th (Geneva, 2008) and 7th (Paris, 2009).
Participated in several meetings of the Scientific Committee (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Canada.
Member of an informal group of expert consultants to the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources in 2003; elected Vice-Chair at the first meeting of this group, held in Nairobi in 2004, and Acting Chair at the second meeting of this group, held in Bangkok in 2005.
Areas of Research and Programmes
Areas of research and programmes focus on: Scientific aspects related to international environmental conventions: CITES and the CBD; Conservation and sustainable use of wild species; Taxonomic studies on species of economic interest.
Author of more than 140 publications including books, chapters of books, papers in Spanish and international specialised journals, informative essays, and scientific and technical summaries and reports.
Participated in numerous Spanish and international conferences, seminars and workshops as a guest speaker or presenting papers.
Has participated or participates in long-term working programmes with national or international funding as a collaborator on 4 such projects, a researcher in 9, co-supervisor of 5 and director of 7.
Promoted and organised numerous national and international meetings, conferences and seminars.
Has given numerous seminars, courses and lectures on CITES and the CBD on a national or international level.
Has directed 9 international university-level Master’s Courses (60 credits, equivalent to 1500 hours) at the International University of Andalusia, Spain (1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), linked to a doctorate programme four times. In these Master’s courses on “Management, Access and Conservation of species in trade: the International Framework,” high quality specialised training was given to 235 civil servants from various ministries (Scientific and Management Authorities), staff of universities and non-governmental organisations from 68 countries.
Member of the Board of Directors of the Andalusian Seed Bank since 2001 – Government of Andalusia, Spain.
Vice-President for Institutional and International Relations at Cordoba University from 1998 to May 2006, in charge of policy and coordination of other Vice-Presidents. Established an annual average of 400 Memoranda of Understanding with other international and national institutions; synthesised, defined, and edited Cordoba University Strategic Plan for the period 2006-2015. The position implied being a member of the Governing Board of the University, which was in charge of a staff of 1914 people, 17,000 students (under-graduate, graduate and PhD) and an annual budget over 112 million Euros (figures in 2006).
Chair of the Spanish University Committee on International Relations/Conference of Spanish University Presidents (SUCIR / CSUP) Commission on Cooperation for Development, coordinating the University Strategy for Cooperation for Development sanctioned by SUCIR and CSUP from 1998 to 2006.
Advisor at the National Council for Cooperation for Development, representing Spanish universities; Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2001 to 2006.
Member of the team that created, established and developed Cordoba Botanic Garden (Spain); apart from purely scientific aspects, this included conception and planning activities: advice on acquisition of equipment, communicating with botanic gardens around the world, designing collecting expeditions, study and conservation of plant species, handling collections, preparing reports on activities and budgets for equipment acquisition, design and supervision of the facilities, programmes and exhibits of an environmental nature. In 2003, the Botanic Garden had a staff of 40 people, with total investment estimated at 15,000,000 € since 1980.
Deputy Director of Cordoba Botanic Garden, in charge of the Seed Bank and Conservation of Endangered Species (1986-2008).
Co-directed the project “Scientific Concept and Design of the Museum of Ethnobotany” at Cordoba Botanic Garden, funded by the Andalusian Government Ministry of Culture and Cordoba City Council.
Other Achievements: Grants and Awards
Obtained several grants for post-graduate work through competitive bidding.
Has been awarded various prizes and distinctions, most noteworthy of which are the award for the best final undergraduate project and 2 awards for the best doctoral thesis (from Madrid Polytechnic University and from the Madrid Professional Guild of Agricultural Engineers).
Won the First National Award for the best video made by teachers (Ministry of Education and Science) in 1989 for “The Invisible Garden, Plant Propagation: In Vitro Cultivation.” An English version of this video was marketed by Glasgow University, UK, in 1992 for its outstanding quality.
Awarded an International Prize for the best scientific television series in 1992 for “Green Blood;” the series was made up of 13 30-minute episodes on the relations between plants and humans, with reference to CITES, biodiversity and related problems. The series has been aired on different channels in Europe, America and Asia.
Nominated in 1995, upon proposal by the CITES Secretariat, to receive the Prince of Asturias Award.