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The ABS Capacity Development Initiative is hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative. The Secretariat has been commissioned to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and is based at GIZ headquarters in Eschborn, Germany.

Governing bodies

From the beginning of the ABS Capacity Development Initiative it was agreed that donors, African representatives and other important players ― such as the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) ― should be involved in decision making.

With more donors and partners joining the Initiative and the broadening of the regional scope to the Caribbean and the Pacific regions, the governance structure developed into what it is today:

  • Regional Steering Committees ― established for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific
  • Joint Steering Committee
  • General Assembly

The Steering Committees and the General Assembly

The regional steering committees provide general guidance and advice to the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative on the capacity development process and implementation in the respective regions. They constitute the main decision making body of the ABS Initiative.

Regional steering committee members include donor representatives and appointed stakeholder representatives, excluding members of the Secretariat. Stakeholder representatives are appointed in their personal capacities based on their function, experience and ability to represent stakeholder interests.

The Regional Steering Committees meet at least once a year.

Please click on the following items for the lists of members of the different committees and the General Assembly and a description of their tasks.

African Steering Committee

African Steering Committee


Boukar Attari, Niger, ABS NFP

Issa Bado, IFDD – cc: Jean-Pierre Ndoutoum

Ahmed Birouk, Morocco, University Hassan II, Rabat

Samuel Dieme, Senegal, ABS NFP

Lactitia Tshitwamulomoni, South Africa, ABS NFP – cc: Natalie Feltmann

Ulrike Haupt, Germany, BMZ - cc: Matthias Krause

Peter Huber, Switzerland, SECO

Lesle Jansen, South Africa, Natural Justice - cc: Barbara Lassen

Philippe Mayaux, EU Commission – cc: Nicolas Deflandre

Lucy Mulenkei, Kenya, Indigenous Information Network

Chouaibou Nchoutpouen, COMIFAC Secretariat

Pierre du Plessis, Namibia, CRIAA SA-DC

Kauna Schroeder, Namibia, ABS NFP


Santiago Carrizosa, UNDP – cc: Alejandro Lago

Jaime Cavalier, GEF Secretariat

Jiri Hlavacek, UN Environment – cc: Johan Robinson

Kent Nnadozie, ITPGRFA Secretariat

Valerie Normand, CBD Secretariat

Olusola Ojo, ACP Secretariat – cc: Edmund Jackson

Maria Julia Oliva, UEBT

Veronique Rossow, PhytoTrade Africa

Olivier Rukundo, legal consultant

Mahlet Teshome, AU Commission

Morten Walløe Tvedt, Fridtjof-Nansen-Institute

Pacific Steering Committee

Pacific Steering Committee

A Joint Regional Steering Committee (JRSC) for the Pacific was created for facilitating coordination and synergies between the GEF/UNEP Pacific Regional ABS project executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the ABS Initiative’s work in the region.


Geoff Burton, United Nations University

Stamatios Christopoulos, UN Environment

Andreas Drews, ABS Capacity Development Initiative

Ulrike Haupt, Germany, BMZ - cc: Matthias Krause

Donna Kalfatak, Vanuatu, ABS NFP – rep. for Melanesia

Yvette Kerslake, UNDP

Philippe Mayaux, EU Commission – cc: Nicolas Deflandre

Olusola Ojo, ACP Secretariat – cc: Edmund Jackson

Clark Peteru, SPREP

Daniel Robinson, UNSW

Moe Saitala, Tuvalu – rep. for Polynesia

King Sam, Palau, ABS NFP – rep. for Micronesia

Amanda Wheatley, SPREP

Caribbean Steering Committee

Caribbean Steering Committee

Once the steering committee for the Caribbean region has been constituted you will find the list of members here.

Joint Steering Committee

Joint Steering Committee

The Joint Steering Committee provides general guidance and advice on regionally overarching matters to the Regional Steering Committees and the Secretariat of the ABS Initiative.

The Joint Steering Committee comprises of all members of the regional steering committees.

If the Secretariat requires guidance or decisions, an email consultation process is initiated by the Secretariat.

A physical meeting of the Joint Steering Committee will only be called if a decision by consensus cannot be reached by email exchange (silence procedure) or telephone/video conference.

General Assembly

General Assembly

General Assembly participants are members and observers of the three regional steering committees as well as invited and interested representatives from partners and stakeholders.

The General Assembly offers a forum for a broader exchange on ABS capacity development. It fosters South-South dialogue and interchange with regions where the ABS Initiative is not active. The General Assembly operates in a purely consultative mode by informing the discussions and decision making of the regional steering committees and Secretariat.

The General Assembly meets bi-annually, ideally back-to-back with the meetings for the Conferences of the Parties to the CBD.