The Executive Board is the principal decision-making body of the Crop Trust.
The Board normally meets twice each year. Members of the Executive Board are appointed by key Crop Trust stakeholders:
- 4 members appointed by the Governing Body of the Plant Treaty, at least two from developing countries
- 4 members appointed by the Donors’ Council of the Crop Trust
- 1 non-voting member appointed by the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization
- 1 non-voting member appointed by the Chair of CGIAR
- 2 members appointed by the Board itself
- The Executive Director of the Crop Trust, ex officio.
The Executive Board ensures that:
- The policies of the Crop Trust are in line with its mission, including support for the Plant Treaty and the overall policy guidance provided by its Governing Body, and are consistent with the aims of the Global Plan of Action;
- The Crop Trust is managed effectively by the Executive Director in harmony with the agreed objectives, programs and budgets, in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements; and
- The future well being of the Crop Trust is not jeopardized by exposing its financial resources, its staff or its credibility to imprudent risks.
In order to ensure these qualities the Crop Trust’s Executive Board is responsible for approving:
- The appointment of the Executive Director;
- The annual programmatic work and budget of the Crop Trust;
- The annual report (Annual Reports and Audited Financial Statements can be found here);
- The Fundraising Strategy; and
- Different policies and regulations to ensure fiscal and operational efficiency, accountability and integrity.
For the full details on the responsibilities of the Executive Board, please see the Crop Trust’s Crop Trust Constitution.
Executive Board Members and Observers
Chair of the Executive Board
Catherine Bertini assumed leadership of the Crop Trust Executive Board in January 2022.
Bertini was awarded the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her transformational leadership at the World Food Program, which she led for 10 years. She is a noted advocate for women and girls and was appointed to senior positions by three UN Secretaries-General and five US Presidents. Her impressive career also includes 25 years in the private sector and 13 years on the faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where she is now Professor Emeritus. Bertini also serves as chair of the board of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and on the board of the Global Food Banking Network.
Ex Officio, Executive Director
Stefan Schmitz joined the Crop Trust as Executive Director in January 2020.
He previously worked as Deputy Director-General and Commissioner for the “One World – No Hunger” Initiative at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). He also chaired the Steering Committee of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).
For more than 10 years, Stefan was leading the food security, agriculture and rural development work at BMZ. From 2007 until 2009, he worked as senior advisor to the Secretariat of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. Before joining the BMZ in 2001, Stefan held various posts in the German federal administration in the fields of geographical information systems, regional planning and international cooperation on urban issues.
He received scholarships like the McCloy Fellowship of the American Council on Germany and of the German Academic Exchange Service. After studying in Bonn and St. Andrews, he graduated from Bonn University in geography and mathematics and received a PhD in geosciences from the Free University of Berlin in 2000.
Marcio de Miranda Santos
Executive Board Member
Marcio de Miranda Santos, a Brazilian national, is an Agronomist, with a MSc in Genetics and Plant Breeding and a PhD in Biochemical Genetics. He is a former Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, where he studied the impacts of intellectual property rights regimes on the access and ownership of plant genetic resources used for food and agriculture.
Marcio was formerly the Director General at the National Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (1991-1995), head of the Brazilian Corporation for Agricultural Research (Embrapa) Department for Research and Development (1997-1999), Chair of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (today Bioversity International) Board of Trustees (1995-2002), Acting Director of the Brazilian Corporation for Agricultural Research – Embrapa (1994-1995).
Since 2001, Dr. Santos has been the Executive Director of the Center for Strategic Studies and Management in science, technology and innovation – CGEE. In this capacity, Dr. Santos has supervised more than two hundred future studies aiming to promote science, technology and innovation in distinct productive sectors of the Brazilian economy. These may be found at www.cgee.org.br.
Dr. Santos was also a member of the CGIAR (www.cgiar.org) Independent Science and Partnership Council – ISPC from 2011 to 2015.
He has formerly served on the Boards of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg).
Emma Bartz Simmons
Executive Board Member
Emma Simmons is an independent consultant on international development issues with a focus on food, agriculture, and Africa.
She serves as a non-resident senior advisor to the CSIS Global Food Security Project and is a member of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, an international group focused on developing evidence-based policies to increase access to healthy, safe, and affordable diets.
She also serves on the boards of organizations engaged in international agriculture and global development more broadly, and sits on several advisory committees for initiatives focused on agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
She completed a career of nearly 30 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2005, having served since 2002 as the Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade, a Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed position. Prior to joining USAID, she worked in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs in Monrovia, Liberia, and taught and conducted research at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.
She began her international career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 1962-64. She holds an M.S. degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University and a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Executive Board Member
Éliane Ubalijoro, PhD, is the Executive Director of Sustainability in the Digital Age and the Future Earth Montreal Hub. She is a Professor of Practice for Public-Private Sector Partnerships at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. Her research focuses on innovation, gender, and sustainable development for prosperity creation, and her teachings have focused on facilitating leadership development. She is also a research professor at Concordia University in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment.
She is a member of Rwanda’s National Science and Technology Council, and has been a member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Rwandan President Paul Kagame since its inception in September 2007. Eliane is a member of the Impact Advisory Board of the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet, of the Expert Consultation Group on the Post COVID-19 Implications on Collaborative Governance of Genomics Research, Innovation, and Genetic Diversity, and the African Development Bank’s Expert Global Community of Practice on COVID-19 Response Strategies in Africa.
She is a member of the Capitals Coalition Supervisory Board, the Global Crop Diversity Trust Executive Board, Genome Canada’s board, and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) Special Policy Study on Post 2020: Global Biodiversity Conservation. She is a member of the Ducere Global faculty.
Through McGill, Eliane has facilitated leadership experience modules in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Emerging Leaders’ Dialogues program. She has been a final paper advisor through six cohorts of the International Masters for Health Leadership pioneered by Professor Henry Mintzberg. Eliane is a member of the Advisory Board of the Earth Leadership Program, and a former member of WWF International’s Board of Trustees, and also was a facilitator in the International Health Leadership Development Programme (IHLDP) commissioned by the Kenya Red Cross and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance offered by Lancaster University’s Management School. She has taught leadership in the International Parliamentary Executive Education program run by McGill University (in English) and by Université Laval (in French) in conjunction with the World Bank Institute. She has also facilitated the UNAIDS Leadership Programme for Women at the United Nation System Staff College. Eliane is a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences. She was the Deputy Executive Director for Programs at Global Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN).
Eliane founded C.L.E.A.R. International Development Inc., a consulting group harnessing global networks for sustainable systems development. She was the principal investigator on a Gates Grand Challenges Phase I grant, looking at Innovations in Feedback & Accountability Systems for Agricultural Development. She is a past member of FemStep, a research network highlighting rural girls’ and women’s perspectives for engendering poverty reduction strategies in Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, DR Congo and Ethiopia using art-based methodologies. Previously, she was an expert consultant for the non-profit group, The Innovation Partnership (TIP). Eliane was the project manager and an investigator on a Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health project led by Professor Timothy Geary, the director of McGill’s Institute of Parasitology from 2009 to 2014. As a result of this work, she has been a reviewer for the Grand Challenges Canada Stars in the Global Health program since 2012. Eliane chaired the International Advisory Board of the African Institute of Biomedical Science & Technology.
Prior to going back to Academia, she was a scientific director in a Montreal-based biotechnology company for five years in charge of molecular diagnostic and bioinformatics discovery programs. This work led Eliane to undertake consulting in Haiti and in Africa related to sustainable climate resilient economic growth. She is a contributor to the 2012 released book, The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the 21st Century, by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Eliane chaired the 15th ILA Annual Global Conference, bringing close to a thousand leadership scholars and practitioners to Montreal in 2013. She is a former board member of ILA. In 2014, Eliane gave a TEDx talk on “Reimaging the World from Scarcity to Prosperity.” She is a Founding Signatory of the Fuji Declaration that was launched in Japan in May 2015. Eliane contributed a book chapter with Dr. John Baugher to the 2015 ebook, Becoming A Better Leader. In December 2015, she contributed a piece to the Leading Thoughts section of the New York Times in Education on Leadership online platform on Leadership lessons from experiences of innovation, trauma and grief. She contributed to the 2016 book Creative Social Change: Leadership for a Healthy World. Eliane is a co-editor of the 2021 book Building Resilient African Food Systems after COVID-19. In 2016, Eliane co-led a scoping exercise on Current and Future Science Leadership Development Needs for the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa. In 2018, she co-facilitated the second Global Women in Science Leadership Workshop in Rwanda with support from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Eliane is also a member of the Advisory Boards of ShEquity and Orango Investment Corporation.
Executive Board Member
Dr. Masa Iwanaga is Special Advisor and former President of Japan’s International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), a National Research and Development Agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and the Fisheries (MAFF), Japan. JIRCAS carries out various collaborative research projects in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries with more than 30 countries, mostly from developing regions. Dr. Iwanaga has always shown great concern for political, social and technological issues influencing plant genetic resources for food security and climate change. He holds a PhD degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin, USA.
Dr. Iwanaga spent 27 years working for the following international research centers of CGIAR: International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru, for potato and sweet-potato genetic resources enhancement; International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, as Head of Genebank; International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI, now renamed Bioversity International in Italy), as Deputy Director General for Research (DDGR); and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, as Director General (2002-2008).
He was directly involved in international negotiations of ITPGRFA during 1993-2000 as DDGR of IPGRI representing CGIAR, and during 2000-2002 as a Japanese government representative for IT negotiation, and served as Chair of Working Group of drafting Article 15 (International Collections). He also served as a member of the Steering Committee of the High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) from 2013 to 2015. He was Chair of the Program Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) until April 2017.
Dr. Iwanaga concurrently holds positions with the following international organizations/functions:
- Vice-Chair Board of Directors of World Vegetable Center (AVRDC)
- A member of Management Advisory Group to Director General of FAO
Hanne Maren Blåfjelldal
Executive Board Member
Ms. Blåfjelldal is currently a teacher and Chair of the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. She was Deputy Minister in the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food from October 2013 till November 2018. During her five years of duty, she gained thorough knowledge of the agricultural sector in general, as well as genetic resources. She has visited Svalbard Global Seed Vault three times, once together with FAO’s DG and potato farmers from Peru. She has been panel participant on the Benefit-sharing Fund during Grüne Woche in Berlin, organised by the Treaty Secretariat. In March 2018, she went on a field trip to Malawi to visit projects supported by the BSF.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is the responsible ministry for the Seed Vault on behalf of the Norwegian government, who owns the vault. Thus, she knows the Crop Trust well, which is one of the tree partners in managing the Seed Vault. In Norway, she has followed Norwegian policy on genetic resources closely, and has given speeches at several national conferences as well as handing out the national plant heritage award.
She has held several positions in the Progress Party (a libertarian party), including being member of the municipality council in Sør-Aurdal and Vice-chair of the youth party of the Progress Party. She holds a master degree in Human Geography.
Executive Board Member
H.E. Mercedes Aráoz is a Peruvian economist and politician. Currently, she is a Professor of Economics at the Universidad del Pacífico’s School of Public Policy and Management in Lima, Peru.
Recently, she has been appointed Commissioner of the Broad Band Commission for Sustainable Development (ITU – UNESCO), and Cochair of the Academic Consulting Committee of the United Nation’s Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS). She was the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism from 2006 to 2009, until she was appointed as Minister of Production (2009). In 2011, she ran for President, representing the outgoing government party.
Aráoz made history in 2009-2010 when she became the first woman in Peru to become a designated Minister of Finance. Between 2011 and 2015, she was the country representative for the Inter-Amercian Development Bank (IADB) in Mexico City. In 2017 and 2018, Aráoz served as Prime Minister, and from 2016 until 2020, served as a member of Parliament and as Vice President of the Republic of Peru.
She holds a bachelor’s degrees in Economics from Universidad del Pacífico, as well as a master’s in Economics from the University of Miami, where she also was a PhD candidate. Among other honors, she has received two “Doctor Honoris Causa” degrees, one by the Universidad Femenina del Sagrado Corazón in Lima, and the other one by Universidad Nacional San Agustin in Arequipa, Peru.
Executive Board Member
An Agricultural Engineering graduate of the National Agronomic Institute in Paris, Jean-Christophe’s passion for plant breeding is well known.
Jean-Christophe spent 38 years with Limagrain, up until his retirement in 2019. He started as a corn breeder, and later became the COO of Limagrain’s corn and soybean business in the United States in the mid 90s. He served as a member of Limagrain’s Executive Committee (1998-2019), as the Corporate Vice President of Scientific Affairs (1998-2004), the CEO of Limagrain Field Seeds (2004-2007), the CEO of Limagrain Vegetable Seeds (2007-2014), and as the Corporate Vice president of International Affairs and CSR of Limagrain (France) from 2014 to 2019.
Jean-Christophe Gouache was also a member of several professional organizations. He was President of the International Seed Federation (ISF) from 2016 to 2018, and a board member of ESA (European Seed Association). Most recently, he has served as Vice-President of the Economic, Ethical and Social Committee (CEES) of the French High Council for Biotechnologies (HCB) from 2015 to 2021.
Joachim von Braun
Executive Board Member
Joachim von Braun is a Distinguished Professor for Economics and Technical Change at Bonn University’s Center for Development Research. His main areas of expertise include research on development economics and policy, food security, nutrition and health, agricultural economics, natural resources, poverty, and science policy.
He is President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a member of various academies of science. Previously, he was the Director General at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C.. Additionally, he is involved in policy advisory initiatives and civil society actions for development, sustainability, poverty reduction and improved food and nutrition.
Executive Board Member
Bernard Lehmann is an Agricultural and Food Economist. He is the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the High-Level Panel of Experts at the UN Committee on World Food Security and Nutrition (CFS) and a member of the Foundation Council of the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL).
Previously, Lehmann was a Professor of Agricultural Economics and the Head of Department of Agricultural and Food Science at ETH Zurich. Then, he served as the Director General of the Federal Office for Agriculture and President of Agroscope (the Swiss Confederation’s center of research in the agricultural, environmental and food sciences).
His main areas of expertise are agro-environmental economic research, teaching and policy design in the areas of local and global food security, the globalization of agricultural markets and climate mitigation and adaptation.
Sonja Vermeulen is CGIAR’s Global Director of Genetic Innovation (a.i.). She has served as Director of Programs at the CGIAR System Organization since 2019, coordinating the delivery of the CGIAR Research Programs and Platforms, and the development of the 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy. She previously held posts as WWF’s Global Food Lead Scientist, Head of Research at the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Director of the Programme on Business and Sustainable Development at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and Research Fellow at the University of Zimbabwe. She is an Associate Fellow at the Sustainability Accelerator at Chatham House in London and served as a Commissioner on the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Sustainable Diets. She holds a BA and MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, an MSc in Tropical Resource Ecology from the University of Zimbabwe, and a PhD in Population Biology from Imperial College London.
Observer, Plant Treaty Representative
Kent Nnadozie is the Treaty Representative to the Executive Board and has no voting rights.
Mr. Nnadozie is the Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Prior to his appointment as Secretary, he was the Senior Officer of the International Treaty, overseeing various technical areas of the Programme of Work of the Secretariat. Over the last decade, Mr. Nnadozie has worked on legal and policy matters and intergovernmental processes, with both the International Treaty and FAO’s Commission for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
Before joining FAO, Mr. Nnadozie was in private legal practice and academic research. He has extensive practical experience in related international processes and legal instruments. A lawyer by training, Mr. Nnadozie holds a Doctorate in Law (PhD) from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, with a focus on international relations and international legal systemic issues regarding genetic resources. Mr. Nnadozie also has a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s in Law.
Observer, Chair of the Donors' Council
Dr. Taek-Ryoun Kwon is a science-based executive manager in Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the Republic of Korea. He currently serves as the Director General of the Technology Cooperation Bureau which oversees the strategic international cooperation of RDA with the global community. He is also a primary decision maker for the Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) and Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiatives (FACIs) in three regions: Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He has accumulated various international experiences via overseas volunteer program for agricultural development (2 years), research projects such as evaluation of genetic resources of several crops (more than 20 years), and professional careers to Bioversity International (2 years) and US Salinity Laboratory at USDA (2 years). Dr. Kwon has represented the Korean government in many international negotiation meetings such as the G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) and Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) (2019); Technical Advisory Committee of Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC) and Bilateral Meeting with Japan and China (2018); meeting on plant breeding innovation (2017); FAO’s symposium on agricultural biotechnology (2016); GA and Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2014); and so on.
He actively participated to international meetings as a member of T/F of G20 MACS. He co-authored the OECD consensus document on the biology of Capsicum annum complex and was a key player in building national framework for biosafety as well as genetic resource management.
He also recently visited Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala in Central and South America as the head of the Korean government high-level delegation to explore win-win cooperation in the agricultural sector in the COVID-19 era (2021). He successfully led the Korean delegation towards inclusive green innovation cooperation between Korea and select Central and South American countries. Dr. Kwon previously worked on research projects focusing on the development of drought and salt tolerance using physiological traits from genetic diversity of crops. Recently, his group has installed a national high-throughput phenotyping facility with a mega data obtained from the phenotyping of genotypes.
Observer, Investment Committee
Observer, Finance & Audit Committee
Former Executive Board Members
Sir Peter Crane
Former Chair of the Executive Board from 2019-2021
Sir Peter Crane is the Carl W. Knobloch Jr., Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.
His work focuses on the diversity of plant life – its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use. From 1982 to 1999, he was at the Field Museum in Chicago, and from 1992 to 1999 served as Director with overall responsibility for the Museum’s scientific programmes.
From 1999 to 2006, he was Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which is one of the largest, most prestigious and influential botanical gardens in the world.
He returned to Chicago in 2006 as the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor at The University of Chicago, before being appointed at Yale in 2009.
Peter Crane was elected to the Royal Society – the UK academy of sciences – in 1998 and was knighted in the UK for services to horticulture and conservation in 2004.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a Member of the German Academy Leopoldina.
He is the recipient of several honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate of science from Cambridge University. He currently serves on the Board of the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Field Museum, The Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas, WWF-US and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
Sir Peter Crane served on the Crop Trust Executive Board from 2007-2012, before returning in 2014. In 2019, he succeeded Ambassador Tim Fischer as Chair of the Executive Board.
Donors' Council Representative
Hans Hoogeveen was the Donors’ Council Representative to the Executive Board.
Hans Hoogeveen served as Ambassador / Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN Organizations for Food and Agriculture. Before that, he was the Director General for Agriculture and Nature Management at the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs. As such, Dr. Hoogeveen is the most senior civil servant to lead the agriculture, agribusiness, food safety, food security, veterinary and plant health, international affairs, including the European Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, international food security, the FAO and other UN affairs, trade liberalization (WTO), market access and nature/biodiversity managements agendas.
Rene Castro Salazar
Rene Castro Salazar was the FAO Representative to the Executive Board.
Mr. Castro Salazar, a national of Costa Rica, holds a Doctorate in design with emphasis in Natural Resources, Policy and Environmental Economics, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, both awarded by Harvard University. In addition, he has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Universidad de Costa Rica. He was a Professor in the fields of Natural Resources, Environmental Economics and Policy at the post-graduate INCAE Business School, Costa Rica. He also lectured at the Harvard Institute for International Development and was a Fellow of the Mossavar-Rahmani Centre for Business and Government, Harvard University.
He also lectured in prestigious universities such as Harvard, Tokyo, Yale, Zurich Tech, LSE, INCAE and several Latin American Universities. He was a Fellow of the Mossavar-Rahmani Centre for Business and Government, Harvard University.
Mr. Castro Salazar has held ministerial positions in Costa Rica as Minister of National Resources, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications between 1994 and 2014. In February 2016, Mr. Castro-Salazar was appointed Assistant Director-General of the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Forestry Department (FO).
John Gandolfo represented the Finance and Investment Committee.
As Vice President & Treasurer of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on the private sector, John Gandolfo leads a global team responsible for managing IFC’s financial position, safeguarding its international triple-A rating and maintaining its standing as a premier issuer in the global capital markets.
He leads IFC’s Treasury and Syndications’ global team in delivering on IFC’s strategy to create markets and mobilize private capital for development. The team manages over $100 billion of liquid assets, global market borrowings, and derivatives transactions and is responsible for strengthening local currency financing by arranging and executing local currency and risk management transactions for clients, and raising third-party capital through innovative syndication and mobilization platforms such as the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP).
Member from 2015-2020
Alexander Müller received a diploma in sociology at the Philipps University in Marburg in 1985. He was elected as city councilor in Marburg (1985 -1992) with the responsibility for social and environmental affairs and was chair of the board of the municipal utilities (electricity, natural gas, water and public transport). From 1992 to 1995 he was appointed as state secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Family Affairs and Health in the state of Hesse. From 1995 to 2000 he was member of the parliament of Hessen and served inter alia as chair of the caucus and member of the budget committee. From 2001 to 2005 he was State Secretary in the Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture in the Federal Republic of Germany. From 2006 until June 2013 he served as Assistant-Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and was responsible for the Department for Natural Resources and Environment. The Secretary-General of the UN nominated him as a member of the Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC) in June 2009 to advise him on the energy-related dimensions of the climate change negotiations. From 2008 to 2011 he was chair of the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN). May 2013 until Oct. 2014 he was Senior Fellow in the cluster Global Contract for Sustainability of the IASS working on governance of sustainability, with a focus on soils and its role in the Nexus of Water, Food and Energy and on the German Energiewende. He was also appointed as study leader of the UNEP project “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Agriculture and Food” (TEEB AG and Food).
Member from 2015-2020
Knut Storberget (born 6 October 1964) is a Norwegian lawyer and politician for the Norwegian Labour Party. From 1992 to 2002 he worked as an attorney-at-law, participating in several high-profile cases, including at the supreme court. On the local level he was a member of Elverum municipal council for the Labour party from 1991 to 1999.
Former Executive Director 2013-2019
Marie Haga served the Global Crop Diversity Trust as Executive Director from March 2013 to December 2019. She had previously been member and Deputy Chair of the Global Crop Diversity Trust Executive Board.
Ms. Haga has a background from Foreign Service as a career diplomat, from politics and private sector. She has held various positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affaires including to the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassy in New Delhi.
She was politically appointed and held the position as State Secretary/Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affaires 1997-1999. Ms. Haga has wide experience from politics and served as a Member of Parliament in Norway from 2001-2009. She was political advisor to the Minister for Development Cooperation from 1997-1998. She was Chairperson of the Centre Party from 2003-2008.
Ms. Haga has held three Ministerial positions: Minister of Cultural Affairs (1999-2000), Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (2005-2007) and Minister of Petroleum and Energy (2007-2008).
Marie Haga has held the position as Director for Renewable Energy in the Federation of Norwegian Industries (2009-2011) and as Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance (2011-2013) – the biggest voluntary organization in Norway. Ms. Haga has been on several boards, including as Chair of the Governing Board of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) (2009-2013) and Chair of the Governing Board of the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (2010-2013) Marie Haga has also published three books – one novel and two on Norwegian politics.
Dr. Prem Lal Gautam
Member from 2017-2019
Dr. Gautam is currently the Vice Chancellor of Career Point University, Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh) India. Dr. Gautam has served in different positions in India, including Chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Authority (2010–2012); Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority (2008 -10); Deputy Director General, Crop Science, ICAR (2007-2008): Vice Chancellor G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar (2002-2007); National Director, National Agricultural Technology Project, ICAR (2000-2002); Director, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources ICAR (1997-2000); and Dean, College of Forestry, YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan (1991-1997).
He is Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and has served as Past President of Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding and Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources.
He was Vicechair, Bureau of 5th Session of International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources.
Dr Mary Ann P. Sayoc
Member from 2017-2019
Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc is the General Manager of East-West Seed Company, Inc., Philippines. She has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines and MBA units from the Ateneo de Manila University.
Prior to her appointment as General Manager of East-West Seed Company in November 2000, she held the position of Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture. She was responsible for the implementation of agriculture programs and projects covering crops, livestock, fisheries, irrigation, farm mechanization, farm-to-market roads and agriculture extension and training in Southern Luzon, which is composed of eleven provinces including Metro Manila, 224 municipalities and 11 cities.
As Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture, she was a member of the Board of Trustees of five state colleges/universities.
She also held the position of Executive Director of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the training arm of the Department of Agriculture.
Professor Gebisa Ejeta
Member from 2017-2019
Professor Ejeta is Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and International Agriculture and serves as Executive Director of the Center for Global Food Security at Purdue University.
Gebisa has been a member of the faculty of Purdue University since 1984. His career has been devoted to education, research, and international development with contributions in human and institutional capacity building, in technology development and transfer, as well as in advocacy for science in support of the cause of the poor.
Professor Ejeta has served in advisory roles to several international development agencies. He currently serves on the boards of the Chicago Council for Global Affairs’ Global Agricultural Development Initiative (GADI), the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).
Professor Ejeta has served the United States Government in several capacities, including as Special Advisor to the USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, as Science Envoy of the U.S. State Department, before being appointed by President Obama as member of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) in 2010.
The 2009 World Food Prize Laureate and a recipient of a national medal of honor from the President of Ethiopia, Ejeta is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Agronomy, and the Crop Science Society of America.
Timothy Andrew Fischer
Former Chair of the Executive Board and Member from 2013-2019
Ambassador Timothy Andrew Fischer served in the New South Wales Parliament (1971-84) and the Australian Federal Parliament (1984-2001) including as Leader of the National Party, Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister (1996-99).
He was also Leader of the Official Australian Delegation which oversaw the ballot held on 30 August 1999 in East Timor.
More recently, he was appointed Ambassador to the Holy See (2008 – 2012).
Prior to that, he was Chairman of Tourism Australia 2004-07, and of the Australia Thailand Institute 2005-08. He was Chairman of the Crawford Fund helping to host key conferences in Australia to provide outreach on agricultural topics.
In 2005 Tim Fischer was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia.
Tim Fischer joined the Crop Trust in 2013, serving as Vice Chair of the Executive Board until 2017, before becoming Board Chair. He was elected for a second term in 2018 but stepped down both as Chair and Board member in 2019, for health reasons.
Member from 2007-2012
Margaret Catley-Carlson served as the Chair of the Crop Trust’s Executive Board. Chair of the Global Water Partnership, and the International Advisory Committee for Group Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, Ms. Catley-Carlson is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board, the Rosenberg Forum, and of the Council of Advisors of the World Food Prize. She serves on the Boards of the Biblioteca Alexandrina, IMWI (the International Center for Water Resource Management); the IFDC (Fertilizer Management) and IIED (the International Institute for Environment and Development). She has been chair of the ICARDA and CABI Boards and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Vice Chair of the IDRC Board and a commissioner of Water for the 21st Century. She was President of the Canadian International Development Agency 1983-89; Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF in New York 1981-1983; President of the Population Council in New York 1993-98; and Deputy Minister of the Department of Health and Welfare of Canada 1989-92. Ms. Catley-Carlson is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Former Executive Director 2007-2012
Prior to joining the Crop Trust as its Executive Director, Dr. Cary Fowler was Professor and Director of Research in the Department for International Environment & Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He was also a Senior Advisor to the Director General of Bioversity International. In this latter role, he represented the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in negotiations on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
In the 1990s, he headed the International Conference and Programme on Plant Genetic Resources at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which produced the UN’s first ever global assessment of the state of the world’s plant genetic resources. He drafted and supervised negotiations of FAO’s Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources, adopted by 150 countries in 1996. That same year he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the World Food Summit. He is a past-member of the National Plant Genetic Resources Board of the U.S. and the Board of Trustees of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, and is currently Chair of the International Advisory Council of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. He holds a position as Associate Curator at the Memphis City Family of Museums.
In 2010, the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences awarded him the Vavilov Medal for his “exceptional contribution” to the cause of conserving plant genetic resources for present and future generations. He also received a 2010 Heinz Award for his “vision and efforts in the preservation of the world’s food supply”.
Member from 2007-2010
Ambassador Jorio Dauster is the Board Chairman of Brasil Ecodiesel. He is a former Ambassador of Brazil to the European Union, and Chief Negotiator of Brazil’s foreign debt for the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Finance. Ambassador Dauster has also served as President of the Brazilian Coffee Institute and as Coordinator of the Project for the Modernization of Brazil’s Patent System.
Member from 2007-2011
Prof. Dr. Adel El-Beltagy is currently the Chair of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). He was Chairman of the International Dryland Development Commission (IDDC) and Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture/Ain Shams University He was Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) (1995-2006); Director/Board Chairman of Agricultural Research Center, Egypt (1991-1995); Fellow of the University of Wales (1993); Chairman for the Scientific Technical Council of the International SAHARA and SAHEL OBSERVATORY (SSO) (1993-2002); First Under-Secretary of State for Land Reclamation, Egypt (1986-1991); Foreign Member of the Russian academy of Agricultural Sciences, Moscow; Academician (Foreign Member) of the Tajik Academy of Agricultural Sciences; and Honorable Academician of Kyrgyz Agrarian Academy. Dr. El-Beltagy is Honorable Professor of the Scientific Council of Azerbaijan Agricultural Academy; Fellow of Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and has been awarded Al-Istiklal Medal by His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Hussein of Jordan. He has authored/co-authored more than 140 scientific publications.
Member from 2009-2013
Dr. Emile Frison is the former Director General of Bioversity International. A plant pathologist by training, Dr. Frison served as a Senior Scientist with Bioversity where he held special responsibility for the health of samples of crop diversity. He then served as Director of Bioversity’s regional office for Europe and, until his appointment to the top position at Bioversity, was Director of the organization’s International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain in Montpellier, France, promoting research on bananas and plantains, the world’s fourth most important staple crop. As Director General of Bioversity, Dr. Frison recently lead the organization, its stakeholders and partners in the formulation of a new strategic vision for Bioversity, in which nutrition and agricultural biodiversity will play an important role in the overall goal of reducing hunger and poverty in a sustainable manner. He is author and co-author of over 150 scientific publications and is a member of several scientific societies.
Member from 2007-2012
Professor John Lovett is the Chairperson of the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity, Australia. He has held professorships at the University of Tasmania and the University of New England, of which he now is a Professor Emeritus. Professor Lovett previously served as Chairperson of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and of the Oilseeds Research Council, as Managing Director of the Grains Research and Development Cooperation and as President of the Australian Society of Agronomy.
Member from 2007-2011
Professor Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots environmental organization that has assisted women and their families in planting more than 35 million trees across Kenya to protect the environment and promote sustainable livelihoods. She was a Member of Parliament and a former Assistant Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya. Among the many honors and awards Wangari Maathai has received are the Right Livelihood Award (1984); the Global 500 Roll of Honor (1991); the Goldman Environmental Prize (1991); the Africa Prize (1991); the Edinburgh Medal (1993); the Sophie Prize (2004) and the Legion d’Honneur (2006).
It is with great sadness that we learned of Professor Wangari Maathai’s passing on 25 September 2011. We are immensely grateful for her dedication and commitment to our cause, for which she found space in a life full of important works.
Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Member from 2011-2013
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) functioning as the Interim African Union (AU) Office in South Africa, headquartered in Midrand, South Africa.
Dr. Mayaki served as Prime Minister of Niger (1997-1999), which followed his appointment as Foreign Minister of Niger between 1996-1997. In January 1996, he also served as a Ministerial Delegate in charge of the African Integration and Cooperation. In August 2000, he set up the Analysis Centre for Public Policy. In 2004, he served as the Executive Director of the Platform in support for Rural Development in West and Central Africa, the Rural Hub, based in Dakar Senegal.
Karl Erik Olsson
Member from 2007-2010
Mr. Olsson was the Minister of Agriculture in Sweden, a member of Parliament, and a member of the European Parliament.
Dr. Shivaji Pandey
Member from 2007-2009
Dr. Pandey worked for over 30 years in international agricultural research and development, serving as a scientist, regional representative for South America, Director of Maize Program and Director of African Livelihoods Program at CIMMYT. In 2005 Dr. Pandey joined the UN FAO as Director of Agricultural Support Systems Division and was appointed Director of the Plant Production and Protection Division in 2006.
Dr. Mangala Rai
Member from 2007-2009
Dr. Rai was the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Dr. Rai also served on the Executive Board of CIMMYT, ICRISAT, and served on the Executive Council of the CGIAR. In 2008, Dr. Rai was elected as President of the prestigious National Academy of Agricultural Sciences in India for a term of three years.
Member from 2011-2013
Roberto Rodrigues has served as Brazilian Minister of Agriculture (2003-2006), Co-chairman of the Interamerican Ethanol Commission (IEC), Coordinator of the Getulio Vargas Foundation Agrobusiness Center (GV Agro) as well as President of the Superior Agriculture Council of São Paulo’s Federation of Industries (FIESP). He is an agricultural producer and an agricultural engineer by training and is also a Professor (currently on leave), holding the Chair of Rural Economics at the São Paulo State University in Jaboticabal.
A strong supporter of the cooperative movement, Minister Rodrigues chaired the Brazilian Cooperatives Organization, the World Committee on Agricultural Cooperatives and the International Cooperative Alliance. He has traveled the world in that capacity, visiting 80 countries while performing his duties.
A well-known agribusiness leader, Roberto Rodrigues served as President of the prestigious Brazilian Rural Society and the Brazilian Agribusiness Association. He is also a member of the boards of dozens of Brazilian producer’s associations. In that capacity, Minister Rodrigues represented the Brazilian agribusiness sector in several advisory committees established by the Government, such as the National Agricultural Policy Council, the National Monetary Council, and the National Foreign Trade Council. He also chaired the National Agribusiness Forum.
Modibo Tiémoko Traoré
Member from 2009-2011
Dr. Modibo Tiémoko Traoré, a former Minister for Rural Development with the Government of Mali, was the FAO Assistant Director-General charged with the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department. He joined FAO as Regional Representative for Africa after heading the African Union’s Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources for three years. A veterinarian and livestock expert, Dr. Traoré was also Mali’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China between 2000 and 2005. Mr Traoré, a former National Director of Mali’s Livestock and Veterinary Services was his country’s Minister for Rural Development (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries) between 1994 and 2000, and also held responsibility for the Environment and Water Resources.
Dr. Mauricio Lopes
Member from 2014-2016
Dr. Mauricio Lopes is the President of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – Embrapa.
A plant geneticist by training, he received his BSc degree in Agronomy (1983) from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, his MS degree in Plant Genetics (1989) from Purdue University, Indiana, USA and his PhD in Molecular Biology (1993) from the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA. He was leader of the Maize Breeding Program at the Embrapa Maize and Sorghum Center, and Head of Research and Development of the Maize and Sorghum Center, the Genetic Resources and Biotechnology Center, and the Department of R&D of Embrapa.
He was responsible for the coordination of the process that led to the development and implementation of Embrapa´s current R&D Management System.
Mauricio was also visiting scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO, in Rome, member of the Scientific Council of Agropolis Foundation, in Montpellier, France, and coordinator of Labex Korea, an international cooperation program of Embrapa in South Korea.
He was the Executive Director of Research of Development of Embrapa until October 2012, when he became the President of the Organization.
Former Chair of the Executive Board and Member from 2010-2017
After his studies in public administration/international relations at the University of St. Gallen, Ambassador Fust commenced his diplomatic career serving at the Swiss Embassy in Geneva, Baghdad and Tokyo.
He subsequently assumed various functions in the Federal Administration and in the private sector, including the role of personal assistant to the President of the Confederation.
He was then Managing Director of the Swiss Trade Promotion Office (OSEC) and Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior (Research, Environment, Culture, Health etc.).
Ambassador Fust headed the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for 15 years. Since his retirement, he has held mandates in the UN (Broadband Commission ITU/UNESCO, Committee of Experts on Public Administration).
He furthermore serves on the Board of a number of international institutions (Coalition for a Dialog on Africa (CoDA); International Risk Governance Council (IRGC); Library of Alexandria) in addition to Philanthropy Foundations and Funding Funds.
Ambassador Fust served as a member of the Interim Panel of Eminent Experts, which acted as the interim Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust prior to the establishment of the Executive Board.
Ambassador Fust was a member of the Executive Board of the Crop Trust from 2010-2017.
Executive Board Meetings
2021 Executive Board Meetings
38th Meeting of the Executive Board (April 2021)
Summary Report EB38
37th Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2021)
Summary Report EB37
2020 Executive Board Meetings
36th Meeting of the Executive Board (December 2020)
Summary Report EB36
35th Meeting of the Executive Board (November 2020)
Summary Report EB35
34th Meeting of the Executive Board (July 2020)
Summary Report EB34
33rd Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2020)
Summary Report EB33
2019 Executive Board Meetings
32nd Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2019)
Summary Report EB32
31st Meeting of the Executive Board (May 2019)
Summary Report EB31
30th Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2019)
Summary Report EB30
29th Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2019)
Summary Report EB29
2018 Executive Board Meetings
28th Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2018)
Summary Report EB28
27th Meeting of the Executive Board (September 2018)
Summary Report EB27
26th Meeting of the Executive Board (May 2018)
Summary Report EB26
25th Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2018)
Summary Report EB25
2017 Executive Board Meetings
24th Meeting of the Executive Board (July 2017)
Summary Report EB24
23rd Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2017 )
Summary Report EB23
2016 Executive Board Meetings
22nd Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2016)
Summary Report EB22
21st Meeting of the Executive Board (May 2016):
Summary Report EB21
20th Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2016):
Summary Report EB20
19th Meeting of the Executive Board (February 2016):
Summary Report EB19
2015 Executive Board Meetings
18th Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2015)
Summary Report EB18
17th Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2015)
Summary Report EB17
2014 Executive Board Meetings
16th Meeting of the Executive Board (November 2014):
Summary Report EB16
15th Meeting of the Executive Board (May 2014):
Summary Report EB15
14th Meeting of the Executive Board (February 2014):
Summary Report EB14
2013 Executive Board Meetings
13th Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2013):
Summary Report EB13
12th Meeting of the Executive Board (May 2013):
Summary Report EB12
2012 Executive Board Meetings
11th Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2012):
Summary Report EB11
Tenth Meeting of the Executive Board (March 2012):
Summary Report EB10
2011 Executive Board Meetings
Ninth Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2011):
Summary Report EB9
Eighth Meeting of the Executive Board (June 2011):
Summary Report EB8
2010 Executive Board Meetings
Seventh Meeting of the Executive Board (November 2010):
Summary Report EB8
2009 Executive Board Meetings
Sixth Meeting of the Executive Board (November 2009):
Summary Report EB6
Fifth Meeting of the Executive Board (April 2009):
Summary Report EB5
2008 Executive Board Meetings
Fourth Meeting of the Executive Board (November 2008):
Summary Report EB4
Third Meeting of the Executive Board (April 2008):
Summary Report EB3
2007 Executive Board Meetings
Second Meeting of the Executive Board (October 2007):
Summary Report EB2
First Meeting of the Executive Board (April 2007)
Summary Report EB1