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Our Team

The CfRN team and country negotiators at the Bonn Climate Summit, June, 2023


Board of Directors

Dr. Geoffrey Heal (Chairman)

Professor of Social Enterprise and International and Public Affairs, Columbia

Geoffrey Heal is the Director of the Earth Institute’s Center for Economy, Environment, and Society. He previously served as Vice Dean of the Business School and managed the Executive MBA Program.

Heal studied Physics and Economics at Cambridge, where he obtained a First Class Honors degree and a Doctorate, and then taught at Cambridge, Stanford, Yale and Princeton, and held a Fulbright Professorship at the University of Sienna.

Heal’s research fields include the management of risks by financial markets, and especially the securitization of catastrophic risks and analysis of the systemic risks associated with the growth of derivative markets. He has worked more generally on the application of mathematical modeling techniques in economic theory.

Heal is a member of the Pew Oceans Commission (www.pewoceans.org), a Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsusa.org) and a Fellow of the Econometric Society.

Mr. Ruben Kraiem

Senior Counsel, Covington and Burling LLP

Rubén Kraiem, a partner at Covington & Burling LLP, leads the firm’s Latin American practice, and was a co-founder of its Clean Energy and Climate Industry Group. He is an honorary trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council (having actively served on the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2009) and a member of the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future, where he is the Chair of the Board’s Audit & Compliance Committee.

He is a graduate of Yale University, where he was awarded his B.A. degree in 1978, summa cum laude, and of Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D. degree in 1981, cum laude and was an Articles Editor for The Harvard International Law Journal.

Mr. Thomas Negints

Former Minister of Environment, Papua New Guinea

Mr. Thomas Negints is the Chairman of South Seas Tuna Corporation and the former Chairman of Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation, the largest regional bank. My Negints is also a former director at WESEC Investment.

South Seas Tuna Corporation, located in Wewak, is the largest tuna processing facility in the Southern Hemisphere employing around 4,000 during peak operations.

Mr. Negints served in the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea, representing the Western Highlands as a member of the People’s Democratic Movement holding numerous ministerial portfolios, including Minister for State Assisting the Prime Minister, Minster of Environment, etc. He is a graduate of the University of Papua New Guinea.

H.E. Mr. Cristobal Sequeira

Policy Coordinator, Latin America, of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN)

Mr. Cristóbal (Tito) Sequeira is the Policy Coordinator, Latin America, of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN). From 2006 through 2007, Minister Sequeira served as Nicaragua’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources where he oversaw the large-scale promotion of nurseries for reforestation initiatives in the country.

Prior to his ministerial service, Minister Sequeira secured a US $13.5 million loan to establish the National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Relief of Disasters in Nicaragua. From 2001 through 2005, he served as Executive Director of this Agency which provided disaster relief and educational programs throughout Nicaragua. 

Minister Sequeira’s record of public service in Nicaragua includes terms as General Secretary of the Industry and Commerce Promotion Ministry (MIFIC) and Vice Minister of the Public Education Ministry. Minister Sequeira attended the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico. 

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Kevin Conrad

Executive Director

Kevin Conrad founded the non-profit Coalition for Rainforest Nations in 2004, where he remains Executive Director. He served as Ambassador and Special Envoy for Environment and Climate Change in the Department of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council of Papua New Guinea from 2005-2014.

TIME Magazine named Ambassador Conrad a “Hero of the Environment” and #1 for “Leaders & Visionaries”. UN Environment named him a ‘Champion of the Earth’ for Policy Leadership.

Kevin Conrad’s background is in investment banking and financial advisory services along with operational experience in both industrial and emerging markets working in agriculture, energy, sea foods, telecommunications, and textiles. He was raised in Papua New Guinea and subsequently earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California and MBAs from both Columbia Business School and the London Business School – receiving the ‘Distinguished Service Award.’

Federica Bietta

Managing Director

 Ms. Federica Bietta is the Managing Director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. Ms. Bietta is an internationally recognized expert in the development of international agreements related to climate change and specific mechanisms that include emissions resulting from tropical deforestation. 

 Ms. Bietta has leading roles in projects that focus on the implementation of REDD+ activities and that work to scale up private sector involvement in green growth initiatives, including the REDD.plus Platform and a catalytic REDD.plus Fund. She has held a leadership role in the Coalition’s CD-REDD Program since its inception in 2008 and is currently overseeing the latest phase of this initiative, CfRN’s Reporting Results for REDD+ (RRR+) which is a partnership with the Norwegian government, EY and KPMG. 

Up until 2017, Ms. Bietta was the lead REDD+ technical negotiator for CfRN constituency and was instrumental in designing and executing REDD+ negotiating strategy under the UNFCCC, until it was capture in the art 5 of the Paris Agreement. 

Previously, Ms. Bietta was actively involved in the design and implementation of both the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank and the UN-REDD programme. Until December 2012, she led CfRN’s activities within the REDD+ Partnership, serving as this body’s inaugural Co-Chair in 2010. Ms. Bietta was instrumental in the design and implementation of the CfRN Climate Compatible Development Programs in Papua New Guinea and the Dominican Republic. 

Before joining the CfRN, Ms. Bietta worked for a major European bank and forged professional relationships with Fortune 500 Companies such as: Tyco, General Electric, ADP, AIG and IBM. 

Raised in Italy, Federica Bietta earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Perugia. Ms. Bietta earned MBAs from Columbia Business School and the London Business School. 

Ms. Bietta has also completed coursework under the Project Management Professional Certification from the Project Management Institute USA. 

Mark Grundy

Managing Director, Marketing & Communications

Mark Grundy is a Managing Director, Global Marketing and Communications. He brings 18 years of experience in public relations and communications within energy, environment and climate working for agencies, governments, corporations and non-profits in USA and Europe.

Before joining CFRN in 2020, he spent 10 years working for not-profits in energy. He was Managing Director, Global Marketing and Communications for the clean energy think-tank, Rocky Mountain Institute for six years. Prior to that, he was Director of Communications for Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, a market-based climate non-profit.

Mark also worked for Edelman Public Relations, where he was a Vice-President in the Corporate Social Responsibility Practice, New York. He provided strategic counsel, public relations and public affairs campaigns on climate and energy for Fortune 500 firms, governments and not-for-profits. Clients included: Coca Cola, PepsiCo, UPS, G.E., Starbucks, Danone, Canon, E-Bay and the government of UAE in its successful bid to host IRENA.

Mark started his energy and climate career as a Communications Officer with the European Commission’s Environment Agency, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Prior to that, Mark taught English as a foreign language in Japan, Greece and Denmark.

Raised in UK, Mark Grundy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from Manchester Metropolitan University, Master of Education in English as a Second Language from Manchester University, and an MBA from Open University, London.

Leonardo Massai

Senior Legal Expert

Leonardo Massai has 20 years of experience on international environmental law, climate change mitigation and adaptation, forestry, human rights and carbon markets.

Leonardo is Senior Advisor to the Coalition for Rainforest Nations –CfRN (www.rainforestcoalition.org) where he provides direct counsel, assistance, advice and training to all rainforest nations on international environmental law, climate change governance, mitigation and adaptation, transparency, carbon market, REDD+, climate compatible development plans and multilateral negotiations. Massai has also extensive experience in supporting developing countries in the preparation, submission and implementation of NDCs under the Paris Agreement.

Massai is also Associate Professor in EU Law and International Environmental Law, Climate Change Law at the Catholic University of Lille in France. Since 2014, Massai is Alternate Member of the Enforcement Branch to the Compliance Committee of the Kyoto Protocol (elected as representative of the Asia-Pacific group), where he will serve until 31 December 2021.

Massai has extensive experience in providing support to developed and developing countries on institutional arrangements, legislation review and capacity building on all matters related with the Paris Agreement.

Finally, Massai is Associate Editor of the Carbon and Climate Law Review where he contributes regularly on climate change law matters.

Michael Mitchell

Director, Operations and Projects

With a strong portfolio of successfully managed projects, Michael Mitchell got his start working in the non-profit sector. Since then, he’s been credited with many successful product launches, campaigns and organizational initiatives that have strengthened his skills in the field.

Michael graduated from Eastern Carolina University in 2002 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. He has since acquired his certifications in Project Management from the National Project Management Institute, as well as the Agile Scrum certification, focusing on sustaining complex products and developing technologies.

Presently, Michael has 15+ years of initiating and delivering sustained results and effective change for a wide range of industries including marketing, manufacturing, production, design and consulting.

Javier Fernandez

Director of MRV

Javier Fernández is our Director of MRV, working to ensure that rainforest nations have access to state-of-the-art knowledge, tools, and methodologies for achieving high quality REDD+ emission reductions and removals.

Javier has been an active member of the UNFCCC Roster of Experts since 2014, has authored numerous REDD+ review reports under the UNFCCC, and has provided support on REDD+ to over 20+ governments across Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Javier is a Forestry Engineer from Costa Rica, and holds a Master’s degree in Forest Science from Yale University.

Yolanda Bulo

Senior Finance Officer

Mrs.  Bulo is the Senior Finance Officer of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations where she handles the Finance Department operations of the Secretariat in New York.  She assists and works closely together with the Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer and the Senior Program Officer.

Mrs. Bulo  maintains the Budgets, Cash Flow, Payroll, Government Grants and Private Grant reporting, abide by all tax laws, bank reconciliations, and assists in all Audits ( Internal and External).

Mrs. Bulo  reviews and approves all expense reports for remittance;  she also maintains the general ledger balances and oversees all other aspects of the Accounting office.

Mrs. Bulo has an intensive experience in finance.  Her background is in the non-profit sector.  She has managed and reported millions of dollars in Federal, State, City and County Grants.

Ameeta Chinkan

Operations Manager

With twenty years of experience working at a private University in NYC. she is a resourceful problem solver who is adept and effectively assisting in a variety of trades. Ameeta was born in Guyana, South America, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York; and holds a MS in Human Resource Management.

Thelma Krug

Senior Team Expert

Thelma Krug is a former researcher at the Earth Observation Coordination at the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil, under the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC). She was elected Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the Sixth Cycle of Panel (October 2015 – October 2022), after having been co-chair of the IPCC Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories from 2002 until 2015.

She holds a PhD on Spatial Statistics from the University of Sheffield, UK. She has been Deputy National Secretary at the Secretary on Policies and Programs of Science and Technology at MCTIC; National Secretary at the Secretary on Climate Change and Environmental Quality from the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) and Director of the Department on Policies to Combat Deforestation under the Secretary of Climate Change and Forests at the MMA. For more than 15 years she represented Brazil in the negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with particular focus on issues related to land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF); research and systematic observations; and reporting guidelines. Her main areas of interest are climate change and the role of deforestation, forest degradation and land-use change; REDD+; and national greenhouse gas inventories.

Eduardo Reyes

Senior Advisor

Eduardo Reyes is a Senior Advisor to the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. He served as Panama’s Vice Minister of Environment (2004–2009). Mr. Reyes has been a UNFCCC negotiator since 2002, working on behalf of Panama initially, and since 2010 on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field of climate change, particularly in the forest, energy, and financial sectors, and is an expert advisor on adhering to UNFCCC agreements, such as the Paris Agreement. 

As a Senior Advisor to CfRN, Mr. Reyes’s deep knowledge of the Paris Agreement – with a particular focus on Article 4 (mitigation/NDC), Article 5 (REDD+), Article 6 (Carbon Markets and ITMOs), and Article 13 (Transparency) — contribute to CfRN’s RRR+ Project. RRR+ supports developing nations in building the in-country talent and institutional infrastructure needed to participate in the REDD+ mechanism and the Paris Agreement.  

During his tenure at CfRN Mr. Reyes has worked with numerous developing nations through workshops, in-country visits, and presentations tailored to their needs. Mr. Reyes uses his expertise to help developing nations navigate the challenges related to aligning their nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement and participation in the Warsaw Redd+ Framework to their national circumstances.  

Mr. Reyes has a bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Arizona and a master’s in Renewable Energy Exploration with an emphasis in geothermal fields from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a Master’s in Biodiversity Management with an emphasis in Environmental Impact Assessment from Universidad Interamericana en Educación a Distancia en Panama (UNIEDPA).  


Emilio Sempris

Regional Director

Emilio Sempris is the Regional Director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations for Latin America and the Caribbean. He served as Panama’s Minister of Environment from 2017 to 2019.

He holds a master’s degree in sustainability from Harvard and postgraduate specializations in international development and sustainable communities and cities from the same university.  He has more than 20 years of experience in climate change, sustainable development policy, natural resources management, earth observations, sustainable finance, multilateral environmental negotiations, and international development.  

Emilio was a member of the Adaptation Fund Board and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the rapporteur of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).   He was appointed as Director General of the Water Center for the Humid Tropics for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) under the auspices of UNESCO from 2002 to 2012.  He has been a consultant for multilateral agencies and organizations such as UNDP, IMO, USAID, and IADB.  He has reviewed the Greenhouse Gas Inventories of the European Union.

In 2007 and 2008, he was awarded by NASA for his contribution to developing and implementing the Regional Satellite Visualization and Monitoring System, known as SERVIR.  He also won Harvard’s Howard T. Fisher Award. 

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu

Regional Director, Africa

An economist by training, Ambassador Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu holds an MBA in Finance and Investments (2000, George Washington University) as well as a Masters in European Studies and International Relations (2013, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne). He possesses over two decades of experience in the areas of sustainable development, climate finance, renewable energy, environment and diplomacy.

As Chief Negotiator of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the negotiation process under the UN Climate Convention, he has attended most of the UN climate conferences since 2007. He was elected Chair of the Group of African Negotiators during the Copenhagen conference in December 2009 and held that position until the Durban conference in December 2011.

Subsequently, he served as Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group from January to December 2016, as Chair of the Coalition of Rainforest Nations (CfRN) from 2017 to 2019, and as Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) from 2020 et 2022.

Previously, Amb. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu served on the Governing Board of the African Risk Capacity (2013-2021), a specialized agency of the African Union, as well as on the Board of the Green Climate Fund (2012-2018). He also held the positions of Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister (December 2016 to July 2017), Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for 4 years (2003-2007) and consultant at the World Bank in Washington from 2000 to 2003.

He is an alumnus of Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), in France (Promotion Lucie Aubrac, 2013).

Dr Jagdish Kishwan

Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator

Dr Jagdish Kishwan is an internationally acclaimed Climate Change and Forestry Specialist. A former member of the Indian Forest Service with a PhD in Forestry, he has held many distinguished assignments, including Head of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, and Chancellor of Forest Research Institute University.

Jagdish is a CfRN REDD+ Asia Pacific Region Policy Expert advocating for implementation of UNFCCC REDD+ in the region. Supported by CfRN, he led the transformation of REDD into REDD+ at Bali COP in 2007.

Jagdish was appointed a member of the Expert Group of the Indian Planning Commission on Low Carbon Development Strategy, from 2009 to 2013. He served as India’s Lead Negotiator on Forest and LULUCF Agendas in the UNFCCC COPs from 2006 to 2014.

In 2015, he chaired the Government of India’s Expert Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, which formulated the “Reference Document for REDD+ in India.” Later, he contributed to the formulation of the National REDD+ Strategy, and the Safeguard Information System (SIS) for REDD+ implementation in India.

Until 2017, Jagdish was Chief Advisor on Policy with the Wildlife Trust of India, a well-known NGO that works for conservation of wild animals and their habitats. Later, he served as CEO and Managing Director of GICIA India Pvt Ltd. an inspection and certification agency before joining CfRN in 2022.

Milena Niño

GHGI Expert

Milena is a Colombian Environmental Engineer, with double Master’s Degree in Environmental Forestry and Agricultural Development. She has 3 years of Doctoral research, studying forest carbon accounting in the Caribbean Region.

Milena has lived, researched, and worked in many regions of the world, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Her skills and competencies include natural resources management; climate change mitigation and adaptation; REDD+; sampling and modelling of forests; biostatistics; integrated management of hydrographic basins; and socio-economic assessment of environmental services. She also has significant experience in team and project management.

Milena joined the CfRN team in 2016, as a REDD+ and GHG inventory expert. She supports countries on the implementation of methodological guidelines set by the UNFCCC and the IPCC. Her support includes developing, and training technical teams on, calculation tools for estimating AFOLU GHG inventories, Forest Reference Levels, REDD+ Technical Annexes, and updating NDCs. She has also participated in the QA/QC steering committees of countries to review National GHG inventory reports, FRELs, National Communications, and BURs, before countries submit them to UNFCCC.

Milena’s larger focus while at CfRN has been improving the understanding of how to harmonize the different reports under the Paris Agreement versus REDD+, to ensure that all reporting on forest-related mitigations actions is as consistent and transparent as possible.

Eloïse Guidi

GHGI Expert
Eloïse Guidi is a Greenhouse gas inventory and REDD+ expert and a member of the Reporting for Results-Based REDD+ (RRR+) Project team since 2017. She supports rainforest countries through training to build their capacity for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories for the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector that follow IPCC Guidelines and are consistent with the UNFCCC decisions.

Eloïse also supports Coalition countries in training on the preparation of Forest Reference levels, REDD+ Technical Annexes, and updating of NDCs for the AFOLU sector. In the last few years, Eloïse has worked closely with the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Guyana. She has also provided support to Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Saint Lucia, and Dominica.

Eloïse has a Master’s degree in Environmental Geosciences with a focus on Environmental Socials Issues from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. She focuses on land rights and territorial policies.

Lucila Balam

GHGI Expert

Lucila is an expert in GHG Inventories for the AFOLU and REDD + sector. She has been part of the Coalition since 2019, working with countries in the development of their GHG inventories, UNFCCC reports, Forest Reference Levels, training and capacity building, among other activities.

With 10 years of experience, she has developed research, advisory and training functions on issues related to climate change, resource management and GHG inventories. She was part of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change of Mexico, where she coordinated the Inventory area of the AFOLU sector. Lucila is nominated for the Roster  Experts from UNFCCC and is preparing to participate as a reviewer. She is a Biologist with a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law.

Alphonse Bizimana

GHGI Expert

Alphonse is a Greenhouse gas inventory and REDD+ expert. He is a member of the Reporting for Results-Based REDD+ (RRR+) Project.

Alphonse holds a PhD degree in Statistics from the Postgraduates College (COLPOS, Mexico) and a MSc degree in Probability and Statistics from the Centre for Research in Mathematics (CIMAT, Mexico). His research interest is based on Statistical Modelling and Robust design of experiments.

After more than 10 years teaching mathematics, probability and statistics at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine (CAVM, Rwanda) and at the College of Science and Technology (CST, Rwanda), Alphonse oriented his career in environmental sciences. In the most recent period, he worked at the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC, Mexico) in the context of the Sixth National Communication of Climate Change where he was Specialist in calculation of uncertainty for the National Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. He then worked at the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR, Mexico) as Specialist in the development of technical contents for capacity building in Monitoring, Report and Verification (MRV-Emission factors).

Alphonse joined the Coalition in March 2022. Since then, he is intensively involved in activities related to estimating emissions and removals and their uncertainties in AFOLU sector. He helps countries in estimating uncertainties and provides support for capacity building of national technical teams in these countries.

Marcial Arias

Technical Coordinator of Collect Earth and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Marcial joined the Reporting for Results-Based (REDD+) Project team in 2022. Panamanian by birth and a member of the Guna indigenous people, Marcial has a degree in Environmental Sciences. He has more than 15 years of experience in remote sensing, geographic information systems, and forest monitoring. He is a certified specialist in the use and management of drones.

In his work with RRR+, Marcial uses his expert knowledge of photo interpretation with satellite imagery to help Coalition countries build expertise on the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories (GHGi’s) for the agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) sector. Marcial’s work empowers in-country talent to utilize CfRN’s LUA app, which uses satellite imagery to gather data on land use for national GHGi’s used in REDD+ filings and nationally determined contributions (NDCs), the national decarbonization pledges made by signatories to the Paris Agreement.

Marcial has worked in numerous countries, including Belize, Honduras, Panama, and the Caribbean islands of St. Lucia, Dominica, and the Dominican Republic.

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