Meet the Speakers

Caribbean Conservation Finance Congress 2021

CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez is CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, the largest multilateral trust fund focused on the environment and climate change. Before joining the GEF, Rodriguez served three terms as Minister of Environment and Energy in Costa Rica, where he pioneered the development of payment for ecosystem services initiatives and led advances in forest restoration, ocean conservation, and de-carbonization. He is an expert on environmental policy, multilateral environmental negotiations, and financing for nature conservation.
Chief Executive Officer, The Nature Conservancy

Jennifer Morris

Jennifer Morris is The Nature Conservancy’s Chief Executive Officer. For the past 25 years, Morris has dedicated her life to protecting the environment for people and nature. At The Nature Conservancy, Morris leads nearly 4,000 global staff who are dedicated to creating a world where people and nature thrive together. Her teams bring diverse groups together in a collaborative way to transform business practices, shape government policies, and leverage rigorous science to prove and scale on-the-ground conservation work.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, Government of Antigua and Barbuda

Hon. Chet Greene

Hails from the village of Liberta in the Caribbean Island of Antigua and Barbuda breaking down barriers unto the International scene, the Hon. Everly Paul Chet Greene brings immense experience in trade, commerce, industry, sports, business, and culture with sacrifice, humility, and dedication -remain a servant with a personal life’s motto of ‘Others’.


He has served extensively in various capacities as minister, senator, president, chairman, Executive Member, Protocol Consultant and in his community.


By way of background, he is the President Antigua and Barbuda Olympic Association Antigua and Barbuda’s National, Commonwealth of Nations, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), United Nations (UN).


Representative – Minister of Foreign Affairs: Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly | Organization of Eastern Caribbean State v Association of Caribbean States (ACS) | United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) | Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) | Caribbean Community (CARICOM) | Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) | CUBA – CARICOM Summit | CARICOM – CHINA Summit | UNITED NATIONS


Positions held: Member of several commissions and committees at the local, regional and international levels in sport: Commissioner of Sports, Government of Antigua and Barbuda, | Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Futsal Commission | Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Beach Football Commission | Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Match Commissioner | Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Administration Commission | Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Futsal Commission | Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Disciplinary Committee | Colony Forming Unit (CFU) Vice President | Colony Forming Unit (CFU) Administration Commission | Colony Forming Unit (CFU) Match Commissioner


VIP – Protocol Consultant Cricket World Cup, 2007 | Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Executive Member | Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Test Match Coordinator | Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) General Secretary


Other interests:

  • Chairman of the YA-So-so Group of companies a group dedicated to baking and catering services.
  • A passion for agriculture which represents a legacy and honor to my father who passed on 16 July 2018.
  • Special love for and interest in the elderly and their wellbeing.

Language proficiency:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • and soon to add Mandarin
Board Chair, Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund

Karolin Troubetzkoy

Karolin Troubetzkoy is the Executive Director, Marketing and Operations of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain Resorts in Soufriere, Saint Lucia. She is also the President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA), serving for the second time. Mrs Troubetzkoy was able to gain support from the hotel sector to found the Saint Lucia Tourism Enhancement Fund and served as chairperson of this fund for several years. Mrs Troubetzkoy was a Director of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and the Chairperson of the Tourist Board Marketing Committee for many years. Mrs. Troubetzkoy has been an active member of the marketing committees of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board for the past 20 years. Mrs Troubetzkoy was appointed President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in 2016, for the term 2016-2018, she was only the second woman to serve as President in CHTA’s 50+ year history.
In Jan 2019, she was appointed Envoy to the Caribbean Challenge Initiative to bring awareness and build up resilience of the marine and coastal resources in the Caribbean.
She is the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Saint Lucia and is a citizen of Saint Lucia. On May 24, 2019 the Federal Republic of Germany bestowed on Karolin the Order of Merit to acknowledge her work as Honorary Consul and her volunteer leadership in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean to promote sustainable operations, building resilience and mitigating effects of climate change.
Board Chair, Caribbean Biodiversity Fund

Dr. Jens Mackensen

Dr. Jens Mackensen, Chairperson of the Board of Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, currently serves as Director of the Latin America and the Caribbean portfolio for the Department of Natural Resources at KfW Development Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. He particularly oversees topics such as forest protection, reforestation, sustainable forestry in natural forests, and agriculture, as well as the protection of climate, coasts, and biodiversity.
Over the course of his career, Jens’s work has taken him from leading the strategy and analysis of international climate and forest policies in Kenya with the United Nations Environmental Programme; to managing projects on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Indonesia and Laos; to climate adaptation in India, sustainable forestry in China and Vietnam, and energy, environment, and climate financing in Egypt. He also chairs the board of the Directors of the Fund and is a board member for the Georg-Ludwig-Hartig Foundation.
Dr. Mackensen received his doctorate in forestry from the University of Göttingen after research in Indonesia, Canada, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Australia.
Executive Director, Bahamas Protected Areas Fund

Karen Panton

Karen Panton is the Executive Director of Bahamas Protected Areas Fund. Karen is no stranger to environmental conservation or indeed the Caribbean Challenge Initiative. Her professional career has been built on financial and accounting support to civil society, including non-profits in Nassau and Jamaica. Prior to her new role with the BPAF, she was the former Director of Finance and Operations at the Bahamas National Trust, serving as the Trust’s appointed director to the BPAF Board. Karen was also the Director of Finance for the Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Program as well as the Financial Representative for the Caribbean Challenge Initiative. Karen has studied at the then College of the Bahamas, the University of Miami and more recently at the University of Liverpool securing an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Accounting.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Caribbean Biodiversity Fund

Yabanex Batista

Yabanex Batista is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund where he oversees operations and development of new initiatives. With over 20 years of experience he has focused his career on international financing institutions and sustainable financing for conservation and development, government relations and policy, and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). He has extensive experience on environmental negotiations, establishment of conservation trust funds and other financial mechanisms, fundraising and resources mobilization, and climate change adaptation and mitigation in Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa.

Prior to joining the CBF he worked for GITEC/GIZ (German Government Technical Cooperation Agency) in Mexico, The Nature Conservancy’s International Government Relations Department and Europe Office, the World Bank-GEF Unit, the United States Geological Survey, and IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) in Brazil. He holds an MA in International Relations and Environmental Policy from Boston University.

Secretary General, French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM)

Stéphanie Bouziges-Eschmann

Stéphanie Bouziges-Eschmann is Secretary General of the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), since September 2018. Agronomist, with 20 years of experience, mainly for the French Ministry of Economy and the French Agency for Development (AFD), she is specialized on development issues, and sustainable agriculture and energy sectors. She is devoted to reconcile environment preservation and development in an innovative way
Atlantic Regional Director, French Development Agency Group

Philippe La Cognata

Philippe La Cognata is the Atlantic Regional Director of the French Development Agency Group (AFD) since September 2018. He supervises and coordinates the Group’s activity both in the foreign states and in the French territories of the region. AFD Group’s outstanding financing reaches 3 billion euros in the Caribbean. An economist and financier, over the past 30 years, he has held various positions at AFD and in the Delegated Central Bank for the French Overseas Departments and Territories, as CEO in Paris and as Director abroad.
Director External Affairs, Caribbean Division, The Nature Conservancy

Eleanor Phillips

Eleanor is TNC’s “Caribbean Ambassador”, engaging with stakeholders to advance conservation policy in the region from her home base in Nassau, Bahamas. Eleanor is responsible for shaping the strategic direction of the next phase of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), including developing sustainable finance mechanisms and aligning the Conservancy’s priorities with regional governments, multilateral institutions, and other partners. Eleanor joined TNC in 2003, as the first Director of The Bahamas Country Program. She then became Director of the Northern Caribbean program. Eleanor was instrumental in the development, adoption and implementation of the Bahamas Master Plan for Protected Areas, the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, and the Bahamas Protected Areas Fund legislation. She served on a special assignment for the Caribbean Challenge Initiative raising capital for the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund and since 2016 has served as Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Fund. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Eleanor worked for The Bahamas Department of Fisheries for 11 years. A native of Dominica, Eleanor has a bachelor’s degree in Aquaculture and Environmental Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Programme Manager, Caribbean Biodiversity Fund

Dr. Joth Singh

Joth Singh is the Programme Manager of the CBF’s Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) Facility. He has worked across a wide range of environment and development areas including climate change, environmental management, environmental health, coastal zone management, animal welfare and conservation, protected areas management, and water resources management. He has held leadership positions within organizations at the international, regional and national levels. In recent years he has made significant contributions to the climate change efforts in the Caribbean particularly in the area of climate change adaptation. He holds an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of London, a Ph.D in Environmental Chemistry from the University of the West Indies and was an Post-Doctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University/Bedford Institute of Oceanography.
Programme Manager, Caribbean Biodiversity Fund

Karen McDonald Gayle

Karen has over 20 years of experience in the Jamaican and Caribbean environmental field which have given her vast experience in both Public Sector Policy Development as well as civil society dialogue and participation. She is a founding member of the Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals and has proudly served on the Board of Directors of the Natural History Society of Jamaica, Campion College Alumni Association and Jamaicans for Justice. Her professional work has focussed on community environmental management throughout the region including as the Chief Executive Officer of Jamaica’s largest NGO grant-making institution.

She is currently Conservation Finance Program Manager for the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund and plays a critical role in the coordination and technical support to the National Conservation Trust Funds. As the Funds and the Conservation Finance Program grows, this will include support for Governance, Sustainable Finance Mechanisms, and Effective Grantmaking.

CEO, Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund

Craig Henry

Mr. Craig Henry is a native of Saint Lucia and joined the Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCFs a Programme Officer in March 2020 and was recently appointed as CEO. Mr. Henry has a wealth of experience in the conservation field, having worked with Saint Lucia National Trust, a conservation-oriented NGO, for the last six years. He has worked as a technical officer and a mentor and has collaborated with government agencies, international entities, NGOs (local and international), livelihood groups and communities particularly those affiliated protected areas with an aim to promote sustainable use of resources, sustainable livelihoods and awareness. Mr. Henry also has experience in PAs management which implicates an array of skills and activities, including field monitoring, data collection; designing and implementing project and grants; sustainable finance; community outreach and establishing networking relationships for knowledge sharing and mutual support. At the SLUNCF, Mr. Henry is engaged in both sustainable finance and grant making work programme areas.
Caribbean Policy Lead, Ocean Unite

Safiya Sawney

Safiya Sawney is currently the Caribbean Policy Lead for Ocean Unite – an expert group of leaders, thinkers, and strategists at the forefront of driving positive change for people and the planet. Most recently she was the Ocean and Climate Policy Advisor to the Mission of the Government of the Republic of Palau to the UN. Formerly, Safiya was the lead policy advisor on Blue Growth for the Blue Innovation Institute and The Blue Network – a partnership platform between the Governments of the Netherlands and Grenada with support from FAO. As an environmental policy consultant and strategist, Safiya has provided policy support to Climate Analytics Inc. on climate finance, strategies and readiness activities in the Caribbean. She was the deputy coordinator for the team that developed and executed the 2013 Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) Summit of Business and Political Leaders. Safiya continues to provide grassroots support to community groups in her native island of Grenada and is constantly on the lookout for unique and impactful initiatives that inspire collection action.
Blue Economy Director, Waitt Institute

Dr. Angus Friday

Dr. Angus Friday leads the Waitt Institute’s work in helping nations design sustainable blue economies to support long-term ocean and community health and wellbeing. He is an accomplished blue economy leader and practitioner, having served as the World Bank’s Ocean Representative and having worked with the Dutch Government and FAO in establishing the Global Blue Growth Network. Dr. Friday also played a leading role in developing the Blue Grenada Program which included the development of a Blue Growth Master Plan and the establishment of the Blue Innovation Institute; all of which contributed to the World Bank’s “First Fiscal Resilience and Blue Growth Development Policy Credit” with $30 million in concessional financing for Grenada under IDA-18.

As a diplomat, he served as Grenada’s Ambassador to the United States, Mexico and Canada and also as Grenada’s Ambassador to the United Nations. A qualified medical doctor with an MBA, Dr. Friday brings a wide perspective on the interconnected nature of business, health, and international economic policy.

Executive Director, Hawai‘i Green Growth

Celeste Connors

Celeste Connors has twenty years of experience working at the intersection of economic, environment, energy, and international development policy. Before joining Hawai‘i Green Growth, she was CEO and co-founder of cdots development LLC, which works to build resilient infrastructure systems and services in vulnerable communities. Celeste previously served as the Director for Environment and Climate Change at the National Security Council and National Economic Council in the White House where she helped shape the Administration’s climate and energy policies, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to joining the White House, Celeste served as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Germany. She also held positions at the U.S. Mission to the UN, served as the Climate and Energy Advisor to the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and worked for City of New York.

Celeste is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center and was a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in the Energy, Resources and Environment Program. She holds an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Celeste has served on numerous boards including her current service on Hawaiian Electric Industries, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), the Institute for Sustainability and Resilience at the University of Hawaii and Icebreaker One. She previously served on the Board of America’s Service Commissions, the IUCN World Conservation Congress National Host Committee, and was a Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations. Celeste grew up in Kailua, O‘ahu.

Vice President, Grupo Puntacana Foundation

Jake Kheel

Jake Kheel is a sustainability innovator, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. For sixteen years he has confronted social and environmental challenges in the tourism industry as Vice President of Grupo Puntacana Foundation in the Dominican Republic. The foundation has pioneered numerous ground-breaking initiatives, launching the first Zero Waste project in the country, as well as leading one of the most expansive coral reef restoration initiatives in the Caribbean.
Under his leadership, Grupo Puntacana Foundation has received numerous international awards for its environmental programs, including awards from World Tourism and Travel Council, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and National Geographic Traveler.
His book, Waking the Sleeping Giant: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Business to Save Our Planet, uses examples from his vast experience in Punta Cana to demonstrate how companies can drive breakthroughs in sustainability.
Jake is on the Board of the Center for Responsible Tourism (CREST) and former President of the National Association of Businesses for Environmental Protection (ECORED) in the Dominican Republic, an association of nearly 100 prominent companies committed to sustainability.
Jake co-directed and produced the award-winning documentary film Death by a Thousand Cuts, which explores Dominican-Haitian deforestation and escalating human conflict on the border. The film was acquired by Participant Media and Univision and screened at three dozen international film festivals. He is currently producing a hosted documentary series, Island Naturalist, to be released in 2022.

Jake has a Master’s in Environmental Management from Cornell University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Protected Areas Officer, BIOPAMA Programme, International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn

Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn is a Protected Areas Officer with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She holds a Master of Arts in Environmental Policy from American University, Washington, DC, and has over 15 years experience in environmental conservation. Her work has focused on educating communities and citizens to the importance and value of the Caribbean’s rich natural heritage; and improving the capacity of institutions, communities and individuals to manage the natural environment better, especially in protected areas across the Caribbean.

Mrs. Armstrong-Vaughn is coordinating the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme for the Caribbean, which aims to improve the management and governance of protected areas through the provision of tools, services and funding for the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. She works closely with the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway, a resource hub for biodiversity and protected area data and information, hosted at the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at The University of the West Indies in Barbados. She is a national of Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.

Marine Expert, German International Cooperation (GIZ)

Dr. Camille David

I joined the GIZ implemented Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) Program in 2016 as a Program Officer and subsequently became the Marine Expert and program lead on coastal and marine issues for our 3 focal countries. Collaboratively, our program promotes partnership towards improving ecosystem resilience, sustainable resource management and income generation for communities within the protected area spaces. Prior to joining CATS, I was employed as a Technical Associate within the Coastal Systems Program of the University of MA, Dartmouth working on watershed management issues. I completed a doctorate degree from university in 2014 specializing in coastal system science.
Consultant, Climate Asset Management

Viviana Luján Gallegos

Viviana is an environmental finance lawyer and consultant, with over 15 years of extensive multidisciplinary and international experience in public-private approaches for climate & conservation finance, and biodiversity management. She is currently a consultant at HSBC-Pollination Climate Asset Management, and an Associated Consultant at Wolfs Company and REGENBE.
Among others, she has advised a wide range of actors on climate finance and corporate financial transactions, and has worked on several socio-economic valuations of ecosystem services to support the incorporation of natural capital into decision-making at the private, public and NGO sectors. As a former partner at Wolfs Company, she advised governmental and non-governmental conservation organizations applying the conceptual framework (of her authorship) for sustainable financing ‘Eco2Fin’, for the development of sustainable financing strategies for the management of more than 25 Protected Areas (PAs) in the Greater Caribbean and Central America. Viviana is also a co-author of two major products published by the Conservation Finance Alliance: “Conservation Trust Funds 2020: Global Vision, Local Action” and “2020 Practice Standards for Conservation Trust Funds”. From 2015 to 2019 she was legal consultant at the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Manager, GIZ Regional Projects Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATSII) and Sustainable Marine Financing (SMF) in St. Lucia

Dr. Volker Hamann

Dr. Hamann is the current Manager of the GIZ regional projects Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATSII) and Sustainable Marine Financing (SMF) in St. Lucia. This project focuses on identifying sustainable and long-lasting ways of financing Marine Protected Areas in St. Lucia and neighboring countries such as Grenada, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Dr. Hamann has been working with the GIZ since 2008, mostly in the area of youth employment. Under his lead in Saint Lucia, the GIZ will focus on linking marine protection to income generation for youth in the adjacent communities.
Portfolio Manager, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division for Latin American & the Caribbean

Vanessa Hartman

Vanessa Hartman is a Portfolio Manager in the Natural Resources & Agriculture Division for Latin American & the Caribbean (LAC) at the German Development Bank KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau). In this role she manages KfW’s marine conservation projects in LAC with a strong focus on working with regional conservation trust funds and promoting sustainable conservation financing.
Vanessa holds a Master’s degree in International Economics & Public Policy with a concentration in Development Economics from the University of Mainz, Germany. Before joining KfW in 2019, she has been working for the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) as well as in the private sector.
Executive Director & Co-Founder, Blue Finance

Nicolas Pascal

Nicolas’ expertise combines marine science, economics, finance and policy; all aimed at protecting marine ecosystems. On the marine side, his more than 50 economic studies, scientific publications and technical reports on ecosystem services of coral reefs, have been used globally, to inform and convince policy makers. On the business side, Nicolas’ former positions include investment director and project developer for multinational companies as well as founder and CEO of a B2B company. These dual skill sets now inform marine conservation, inspiring alternatives and new approaches. Nicolas completed a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from ICN (France) and received his PhD in Marine Science from the Universidad de Barcelona (Spain).
Practice Manager, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank

Valerie Hickey

Valerie is the Practice Manager for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. In LAC, Valerie manages a cross-sectoral team that provides technical assistance, convening services, and capital at scale to governments, communities and companies on issues related to climate change, sustainable forest management, integrated conservation and development, integrated coastal zone management, fisheries, pollution management and environmental health, environmental economics and environmental risk management.

Eighteen years ago, Valerie joined the World Bank as a specialist in East Asia and the Pacific, working on environment and rural development projects in Cambodia, China and Lao. Valerie has since worked across the Bank’s regions providing design and implementation support to a variety of operations, including in fragile states, where she led the Bank’s environment portfolio in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. After joining the World Bank’s global team, Valerie became chair of the blue economy, biodiversity and wildlife crime communities of practice and convened the Bank’s deep technical expertise in pursuit of providing policy advice and implementation support to accelerate the role of natural resource management in getting people out of poverty and into the middle class. Next, Valerie managed the Bank’s natural resources and environment risk management portfolio across Europe and Central Asia. Before joining the World Bank, Valerie worked for World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society and the US National Park Service where she worked on invasive species programs in Lake Mead, the reservoir to the Hoover Dam. Valerie holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University.

Managing Director, Saba Conservation Foundation

Kai Wulf

Kai Wulf studied managerial economics at the University of Applied Science in Munich, Germany. He is a PADI Master Instructor with over 6000 dives and much experience in the installation of boat mooring systems, utilizing hydraulic underwater tools. Kai was involved in the establishment of the Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) in St. Lucia in 1994, which he managed from 1995 to 2009. Since August 2009, Kai directs the Saba Conservation Foundation on Saba in the Dutch Caribbean, with responsibilities for the Saba Bank National Park, the Saba National Marine Park, Saba’s Terrestrial Park and historic trail network.

His mission is to contribute towards the establishment, active management and advancement of nature protected areas, through effective communication with stakeholders and policy makers, improving local capacity in adaptive natural resource management, ensuring institutional strength and consistency, and increasing organizational vigilance to face future challenges, for the preservation and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems.

Chief Fisheries Officer, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources and Co-operatives , SAINT LUCIA

Sarita Williams-Peter

Sarita is responsible for leading a multidisciplinary team under the Fisheries Development Programme in the Department of Agriculture, Saint Lucia. Through her work with key national and regional organisations, she supports the sustainable development and management of fisheries resources both at a national and regional level. She has 14 years of experience in fisheries governance working closely with stakeholder to put in place the policies and practices needed to develop a sustainably governed fisheries sector that will enhance food security.
Previously, Sarita was a Fisheries Biologist in the Department where she led the marine resource management portfolio designed to promote effective administration of locally managed marine areas, sustainable fisheries and creation of sustainable livelihoods.
Sarita holds a Master’s degree in Marine Management from Dalhousie University and Bachelors of Science degree with a specialization in Biology and minor concentration in Marine Biology and Biotechnology from the University of the West Indies.
Executive Director, Bahamas National Trust

Eric Carey

Eric Carey
Executive Director – Bahamas National Trust

Board Appointments
Board Member Bahamas Protected Areas Fund
Board Member Bahamas Public Parks and Beaches Authority.
BirdsCaribbean – two 2-year terms – President
BirdsCaribbean Governance Committee
Former Board Member Cape Eleuthera Foundation.
Former Board Member One Eleuthera Foundation.

Key Committee Appointments
Former Chairman – National Wetlands Committee.
US Department of Interior – Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Team

Partners-In-Flight International Conservation Award
Wings Across the Americas Research and Management Partnership Award.
University of the Bahamas’ Alumni Hall of Fame.

Academic training
University of the West Indies – Zoology and Botany BSc

Extensive Training in wildlife conservation and nonprofit management.

Presented at conferences throughout the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States, including at the United Nations HQ.

Peer reviewed publications on Kirtland’s Warbler and Plant Conservation.

Key BNT Achievements:
Transformed the BNT from a small 10 person organization into fully functional Organization with 75 employees.

Project Assistant, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies

Maria Pena

She is the Project Assistant at the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) University of the West Indies (UWI) with over 20 years’ experience in natural resources management. Her interests are in the biological and socio-economic aspects of marine resource management. She has implemented and managed numerous externally funded marine resource management projects.
CEO, Shellcatch

Alfredo Sfeir-Camarena

Alfredo’s main focus has been to address the fundamental mismatch between how organizations are monitoring fishing activity, how fishers are selling their product, and the way consumers actually want to shop and buy these products from them. In doing so he created the world’s small scale remote electronic monitoring system integrated with catch reporting and ecommerce. Platform is currently being deployed for over 1000 fishers in 14 countries. Growing from a team of 3 engineers to a total of 30 employees in 4 countries, Alfredo leads the marketing effort leveraging a network of Multilateral, NGO and Government partnerships including the Governments of Chile, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, IDB Labs, The Nature Conservancy, Packard Foundation, The World Wildlife Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Technical University of Denmark, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación, The Walton Foundation, Niparaja Mexico, Prodelphinus, Conservación Conciencia Caribbean, Advanced Conservation Strategies, Fondo de Fomento para la Pesca Artesanal, among others.
Fund Manager, National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica

Danellia Aitcheson

Danellia Aitcheson is a Conservation Manager and has over 8 years of experience in environmental management using Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing. She has a wealth of experience in developing vulnerability and risk indices related to coastal management and the impacts of climate change. Danellia holds a Master of Science in Sustainability(GIS & Remote Sensing) from the University of Southampton, UK. Danellia is also a member of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers, she is a Board representative of the Jamaica Institute of Environment Professionals and a Director at Eco-Essentials Ltd. She enjoys hiking and all water-related activities.
CEO, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Conservation Fund (SVGCF)

Vanburn Harry

Vanburn Harry is the CEO for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Conservation Fund (SVGCF). Vanburn is a Vincentian national and joined the SVGCF in April 2018 where he was instrumental in operationalizing the SVGCF.
Mr. Harry is a license and registered Architect in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He is a member of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Institute of Architects (SVGIA) and also serves as the secretary for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Architects Council. Vanburn holds a Master of Science in Sustainable Construction for Developing Regions and a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the university of Santa Clara, Cuba.
Mr. Harry is also an avid Taekwondo practitioner and holds a 5th Degree Black Belt. He is the president of the SVG Taekwondo Association and an Executive member of the SVG National Olympic Committee
Chief Executive Officer, SeyCCAT

Angelique Pouponneau

Angelique is a lawyer (Seychelles and UK) and she holds an LLM in Environmental law specializing in the law of the sea and natural resources law. She is a trained climate change negotiator under the AOSIS Climate Change Fellowship Programme at the United Nations. Angelique has worked in different countries in the Caribbean, Pacific and the Indian Ocean on a wide range of projects relating sustainable fisheries, sustainable management of marine biodiversity within and beyond national jurisdiction, and climate change, in particular, climate adaptation and climate finance. Further, she served as a legal expert of the African Group of Sixth Committee in works of oceans and law of the sea at the United Nations.

Moreover, Angelique has experience working with civil society as a co-founder and board member for not-for-profit organizations in Seychelles and abroad.

Director, UWI Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies

Patrick McConney

Dr Patrick McConney is a former fisheries manager with an interdisciplinary PhD in resource management, and currently Director of the UWI Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the Cave Hill Campus. His applied research is mainly on small-scale fisheries and marine social-ecological systems in the Caribbean. This research includes ecosystem approaches, livelihoods, socio-economics, gender, adaptive capacity, resilience, management planning and governance
CEO, Ocean Unite and Co-Chair, Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance

Karen Sack

Karen is CEO & President of Ocean Unite, a non-profit founded in 2015 by Sir Richard Branson and former Costa Rican President José María Figueres, with a mission to deliver the science-based target of strongly protecting at least 30 percent of the Ocean by 2030 and to build Ocean resilience globally. Karen also co-chairs the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), a multi-sector collaboration designed to build resilience in the regions and communities most vulnerable to ocean risk, by pioneering finance and insurance products that incentivise investment in nature-based solutions.

She was formerly Senior Director for International Oceans at The Pew Charitable Trusts where she initiated the Global Ocean Commission. Before that she was Head of Greenpeace International’s Political & Business Unit and of their international oceans campaign. Karen has master’s degrees in international environmental law and in international political economy.

Executive Director, Conservación ConCiencia

Raimundo Espinoza

Raimundo Espinoza is the founder and Executive Director for Conservación ConCiencia. He has closely collaborated with commercial fishers, local nongovernmental organizations, and governments in the U.S. and across the Caribbean and Latin America; and his work focuses on creating unique opportunities to further conservation actions on the ground and sea. He has served as an advising delegate of the Puerto Rican government at the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, and currently serves on NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel, and Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.
CEO, Convergence Blended Finance

Joan Larrea

Joan Larrea, CEO of Convergence, is an expert in catalyzing investment in places that need it most and brings with her over 25 years of experience in emerging markets investing.

Since 2016, Joan’s leadership has driven Convergence to become a global independent authority for blended finance. As CEO, Joan ensures Convergence continues to elevate the field of blended finance through its products and services and accelerate the flow of private capital into SDG projects across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Joan also serves on the FinDev Canada Advisory Council, the Advisory Group of Financial Experts for the Global Environment Facility’s Non-Grant Instruments Program, and HRH The Prince of Wales Sustainable Markets Council.

Executive Director, Saint Christopher and Nevis Conservation Fund

Meshach Alford

Building on a Masters of Science degree in Sustainable Rural Development from the University Aberdeen and with more than ten (10) years experience in the government and private sector, I am but a growing environmental professional. My work is cross-cutting to include land use planning, climate change and environment conservation and management.

Over the years, I have coordinated and managed the implementation several environmental projects including but not limited to environmental impact assessments (EIA), the Third National Communication (TNC) and First Biennial Update Report (BUR1).

In August of 2020 I became the Executive Director of the Saint Christopher and Nevis Conservation Foundation (SCNCF) working closely with the executive committee to advance the medium term goals of the Fund.

HTR Program/Operations Manager, J/P Haitian Relief Organization

Melissa Sanon

Melissa Sanon is a Haitian professional and social entrepreneur trained in Agribusiness for Export and Business Administration. She has over 10 years of specialized experience in community-based environmental restoration, agroforestry, development of value chain, project management and climate change resilience. She has managed many environmental restoration initiatives in Haiti mainly the Haiti Timber Reintroduction Project which is credited for planting over 2.5 million trees in 65 communities in the Artibonite as well as the Haiti Takes Root, an initiative of JP/HRO that aims to strengthen capacity and coordination among diverse actors to manage Haiti’s natural resources and adapt to the impact of climate change. Ms Sanon currently acts as the Vice President of the Haitian Biodiversity Funds (FHB). She is also the founder and co-owner of MeliT Organic Teas and Spices, a social enterprise working to develop a thriving value chain of herbs and spices and create economic opportunities for female farmers in Haiti
Chairman, Guyana Protected Areas Trust

Curtis Bernard

Curtis Bernard is the acting Chairman of the Protected Areas Trust (Guyana) and has been a Trustee, nominated by the Major Donors to the Trust, since 2018. He is Conservation International Guyana’s Executive Director and has been involved in environmental management at technical, middle, and senior management levels for more than two decades. Curtis has extensive experience in practical application of spatial planning and Geographic Information Systems in conservation management and planning and has worked extensively supporting maintenance of Guyana’s biodiversity and ecosystems. He played key roles in the processes for the identification and revision of priority areas for conservation in the Guiana Shield and participated significantly in the processes leading to the establishment of the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area and the Kanashen Community Conservation Area. Curtis has engaged on initiatives related to extractives and the environment in Guyana, Suriname and Liberia and has extensive experience working with indigenous people. He is experienced with application of the mitigation hierarchy, and design of biodiversity offsets, includes participation in the assessment of potential impacts of the planned upgrade to the Georgetown to Lethem Road on biodiversity and ecosystem services, including carbon storage, and the recommendation of mitigation measures. He holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from the University of Guyana.
Head of Finance Sector Engagement, Tropical Forest Alliance

Danielle Carreira

Danielle Carreira is an environment and climate specialist with over a decade’s experience in sustainable finance. As Head of Finance Sector Engagement at the Tropical Forest Alliance, an initiative hosted by the World Economic Forum, she is responsible for the strategic development and coordination of initiatives that brings together global financial institutions into a collective action agenda to eliminate deforestation and accelerate the transition towards more sustainable land use practices. She has previously worked at the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Natural Capital Finance Alliance (NCFA), Trucost, FTSE Russel, Reuters and Bloomberg. Danielle holds an MA in International Finance and a BSc in Economic Sciences.
Representative, Southern & Eastern Caribbean European Investment Bank

Floris Vermeulen

Floris Vermeulen represents the European Investment Bank in the Southern and Eastern Caribbean. His role covers institutional relations and new business development, including public infrastructure lending and support for access to finance for MSMEs. He previously worked as an Investment Officer in sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian Ocean and Asia. Prior to joining the EIB, Floris worked as a consultant both at the Boston Consulting Group and at ABN AMRO Bank in the Netherlands.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union. It has been active in the Caribbean for 40 years, supporting public infrastructure and private sector development through its loans and technical assistance programs. As the EU bank, the EIB is committed to putting EU climate goals into practice around the world, lending over 23 billion euros to climate action projects last year.

Founder and CEO,

Nelly Gedeon

Nelly Gedeon, Founder and CEO of is a veteran entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in management and operations. Nelly holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from the City College of New York and an MBA from Hofstra University. Nelly, who is an avid traveler, founded Wayaj in 2019 after witnessing first hand the impact that climate change was having on destinations that are dependent on tourism. As such, she worked with her team to develop tools that would benefit the industry; one being a proprietary Carbon Footprint Calculating Engine (CFC Engine TM) which allows travelers to calculate and offset their carbon footprint using carbon offset projects worldwide.

At Wayaj, her unique role, besides overall management, is to guide the team of talented and passionate professionals to ensure that sustainability and the health of the planet remain front and center in every decision that is made. Nelly has created a cooperative company culture, based on respect, diversity, inclusion, and compassion, where every team member has a voice, and all opinions and ideas are valued. Nelly never misses an opportunity to travel, but her favorite travel experiences are those that allow her to engage with the local communities.

Director, National Parks with the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority

Andrew Wilson

Has been engaged in active professional service for over 30 years, originally as a forester with the Forestry Department and subsequently has worked with the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority since the institution inception.
Sustainable financing has emerged as an area of deep interest recognizing that effective management and conservation of natural resources including biodiversity that sustains our human existence requires access to financial resources. Thus, committed involvement and work with others through various stages with the eventual establishment of the SVG Conservation Fund (SVG CF) has been a valued development.
Mr. Wilson presently serves as Director of National Parks with the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority (NPRBA) and represents the institution as a director on the SVGCF in the capacity of secretary treasurer.
Executive Director, Mesoamerican Reef Fund

María José González

María José González is a biologist with a Master’s degree in Wildlife Management. She was advisor to the National Council for Protected Areas of Guatemala and the executive director of the Fundación para la Conservación de los Recursos Naturales y Ambiente from 1996-2004. She participated in the design and establishment of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds. Since 2005, she has been the executive director of the MAR Fund, a private regional environmental fund established to support conservation, restoration and sustainable use of resources in the Mesoamerican Reef.
Directeur Exécutif, Fonds Haitien pour la Biodiversité

Jean Vilmond Hilaire

Dr Jean Vilmond Hilaire have PhD in biological science, ecology and botanist. Former Dean and Professor at Agriculture School of University Quisquya in Haiti. Expert in protected area and biodiversity conservation, since 20 years he work in environment and natural ressources management and resources mobilization.
Conservation Finance Project Manager, Wildlife Conservation Society

Katy Mathias

Katy Mathias combines experience in finance, nonprofit management, resource mobilization, performance measurement, and governance in her role as Conservation Finance Project Manager for the Wildlife Conservation Society. She is the co-author of the annual Conservation Trust Investment Survey (CTIS) study of the investment management practices of Conservation Trust Funds (CTFs), project manager of the educational programs related to the CTIS, and serves as a consultant to Conservation Trust Funds and other organizations on governance, resource mobilization, organizational effectiveness and risk management. She also focuses on broader conservation finance efforts to increase available funding to biodiversity conservation and protected areas, and to build capacity in conservation finance, for both WCS field programs around the world and outside organizations. She is a co-author of “Conservation Trust Funds 2020: Global Vision, Local Action.”
Regional Manager for Caribbean and Brazil, Green Climate Fund

Orville Grey

Orville Grey is a coastal ecologist and climate change researcher by training. He holds graduate degrees in Environmental Biology and Environmental Studies. Orville has over 20 years’ experience in the field of environmental impact assessments and environmental management in the Caribbean, and over 13 years’ experience in applied climate change. He is the Regional Manager for the Caribbean at the Green Climate Fund, and has experience at national, regional and international levels in public and private sectors as well as academia in environmental management, climate change adaptation among other areas.
Executive Director, Sandals Foundation

Heidi Clarke

Heidi Clarke is the Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International which focuses on developing the Caribbean and improving the lives of its people through the areas of education, environment and community.

Heidi’s primary responsibilities include managing development projects across eight Caribbean islands. By harnessing the power of volunteerism and activism led by team members, guests, travel agents, local, regional, international, nonprofit organizations and corporate partners, Heidi and her team effect life changing programs that reach far beyond the doors of the Sandals and Beaches all-inclusive resorts.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Heidi has extensive experience in the education, social services and business management fields. She attended the University of Miami, where she studied child psychology and education.

Here in Jamaica, she is a certified Game Warden with the National Environment and Planning Agency and sits on the boards of the South West Coast Fish Sanctuary Alliance; the Fish Sanctuary Network, the North East Regional Health Authority Fundraising Committee, and the Culloden Early Childhood Institute. Heidi also sits on the board of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation.

Chairman, Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa

Jason Henzell

Jason Henzell is Chairman of the family owned award-winning boutique hotel Jakes which celebrated its 25th anniversary in March 2018. Jakes home is the community of Treasure Beach on Jamaica’s South Coast. A social entrepreneur and advocate for sustainable community development Jason is also the founder and chairman of Breds: The Treasure Beach Foundation, which promotes education, conservation, and Sport for Social Change.
Head of Ecosystem Resilience, Climate and Resilience Hub, Willis Towers Watson

Jacq Wharton

Jacq Wharton is the Head of Ecosystem Resilience in the Climate and Resilience Hub at Willis Towers Watson. Her work focuses on enabling communities to manage, protect, and maintain common goods, especially healthy ecosystems. Jacq consults to a diverse set of stakeholders on innovative approaches to building resilience and public-private collaboration on structured risk management. Her expertise is in designing and implementing bespoke, integrated, and sustainable risk financing programmes to support coastal communities and ecosystem resilience. She is experienced in developing, managing, and delivering projects at the intersection of conservation finance, climate adaptation, sustainable development, and disaster risk financing, particularly in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. For example, Jacq is thrilled to be supporting the Mesoamerican Reef Fund to implement the Mesoamerican Reef Insurance Programme, a regional financial mechanism to build the resilience of the Mesoamerican Reef, its ecosystem services, and the communities it supports.
International Economist

Dr. Justin Ram

Dr. Justin Ram is CEO of Justin Ram Advisory Associates and GSEC. He has over twenty-five years of practical, advisory, research, and management experience. He has worked as an economist in over 32 countries across the Caribbean, Central Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Justin has a Diploma in Executive Management from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds an M.Sc. in Economics from University College, London, a B.Sc. from The University of the West Indies, and a post-graduate certificate in sustainable environmental management from The University of California, Berkeley.

Managing Director, Mdk Advisory and Consulting

Deika Morrison

Deika Morrison is the co-founder and managing director of Mdk Advisory and Consulting Ltd. – a boutique advisory and consulting firm in Jamaica. With clients in a wide cross section of the private, public and non-profit sectors, the firm specializes in strategy, operations, business plan development, diaspora engagement, communication and digital mobilization. She is also the co-founder of charitable organizations focused on children, education and building resilient communities – Do Good Jamaica and Do Good International Inc., a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3).
Deika has worked as a Chief Research Officer for a multinational conglomerate and her public sector policy and management experience includes eight years in numerous capacities with the Government of Jamaica. She has served as a senator, Deputy Minister of Finance & Planning and Chairman of the Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission. She has also promoted private sector participation in the water sector with the National Water Commission of Jamaica.
Deika has served on numerous boards and committees in the public, private and non-profit sectors including the American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica, the Economic Policy Committee of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, the Women’s Leadership Initiative (United Way of Jamaica) and the Rotary Club of Kingston. She was recently appointed as an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Development (The ISD), The University of the West Indies. She is also the President of the UPenn’s Alumni Club of Jamaica.
Deika graduated cum laude from the M&T program in 1994 with degrees in Applied Environmental Systems and Finance. In 2001, she returned to Wharton to pursue her MBA, took a leave of absence when asked to serve in the Jamaican government and returned to complete the Executive MBA in 2008. She also has an MS in Engineering Science from Harvard.
Managing Director, JustaTAAD

Denaye Hinds

The Managing Director of JustaTAAD, K. Denaye is an expert sustainability professional with experience developing strategic action plans to address environmental impact and resiliency at the destination and business operations levels. Her ability to engage stakeholders through design thinking generates scalable and replicable solutions for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. With an extensive background managing global teams with multi-million dollar projects she is an effective communicator proficient in auditing and training, CSR, climate solutions & sustainable program management to achieve holistic visions, goals and approaches to sustainability.