Award and Assessment Team


Please note updates to the 2018 UIAA Mountain Protection Award Assessment Team are currently in progress

Carolina Adler, PhD

Geographer and Environmental Scientist

Dr Carolina Adler is President of the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission and a geographer and environmental Scientist with over twenty years of professional experience in the public and private sectors internationally. Earlier in 2010, she completed an award-winning PhD on climate change adaptation in mountain regions. Her ongoing research work as Research Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, centre on problem-oriented approaches that clarify on how science can best serve policy and society in dealing with the effects and challenges of global change. As of May 2017, Carolina will take on the role as the new Executive Director of the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), hosted by the Swiss Academies of Sciences.

Maretha Alant

Environmental Planner

Maretha Alant has 18 years of experience in protected area planning and development and environmental management. She has climbed mountains in 18 countries and is currently the Environmental Planner for the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) in South Africa.
Current projects include establishing
mountain catchment to sea corridors in buffer zones of the GRNP, commenting on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in Mountain areas in South Africa and in buffer zones of the GRNP and undertaking GIS based
Connectivity Assessments towards better understanding ecosystem responses to increasing landscape transformation and climate change.

Joop Spijker

Prof. at Research Institute Alterra

Joop Spijker born the 9th of December 1959 in Schiedam, The Netherlands. “My first mountain top I walked in 1974 in Switzerland (The Rautispitz, 2284m)”
Joop started mountaineering in 1980 and guided mountain walking and glacier tours for the Dutch Federation from 1988 till 2009. Since 1991, he is working as a volunteer for Mountain Protection in various commissions like the NMGA, the CIPRA, NKBV and Mountain Protection Commissions.
In professional life Joop works for the Research Institute Alterra of the Wageningen University on the topics management nature, forest and urban green.

Mike Maunsell

F.R.G.S. Mountain Geographer & Environmental Scientist

Mike has worked in mountain environments throughout the world for over 35 years as a Mountaineer, Geographer, Environmental Scientist and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
He is a Lecturer in Conservation & Biodiversity Management at the Department of Applied Science, Limerick Institute of Technology, Ireland.  Mike serves on the Board of Directors Mountaineering Ireland, where he is Chair of Access & Conservation.
Mike’s research Interests are in mountain ecosystems and citizen science, he has lead successful community-based citizen science projects, to protect and record biodiversity in Ireland’s mountain regions. Mike established Mountain Research Ireland to protect mountain environments through research & collaboration.
Mike has worked in mountain environments throughout the world for over 35 years as a mountaineer, Geographer and Environmental Scientist.

Steve Goodwin

Mountaineer and writer

At the turn of the millennium after a career as a political journalist on The Independent and The Times, he quit the surreal “Westminster village” for a real village in Cumbria. For 10 years (2004-2013) he was editor of the Alpine Journal, the oldest mountaineering journal in the world, while also freelance writing on travel, the environment and just a dash of politics.  A climber and ski-mountaineer, in 1998 he reached the south summit of Everest, filing an award-winning diary to The Independent.

Since then he has returned to the Himalaya most years as well as climbing, trekking and ski-touring in the Alps, Andes and Turkey. He is the author of Lake District Climbs and Scrambles (2015, Vertebrate) and Day Walks in the Lake District (2009, Vertebrate).  He also contributed a chapter on Upper Dolpo to Trekking in the Himalaya published in 2013 by Cicerone.


Alton C. Byers, 

Director of Science and Exploration

Alton C. Byers, Ph.D. is Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado at Boulder.  He is a geographer, mountaineer, National Geographic Explorer, and photographer specializing in applied research, glacier flood risk reduction, and alpine conservation and restoration programs. He currently works on a range of applied high mountain research projects that include “Science-driven, community-based approaches to reducing the risk of glacial lake outburst floods in Nepal” (National Science Foundation); “Impacts of yarsugumba harvesting on alpine ecosystems in the Nepal Himalaya” (National Geographic Society); and distribution of his mountain geography textbook, Mountains: Human and Physical Dimensions, to universities throughout the 33-member Himalayan University Consortium (ICIMOD).

Marjorie van Strien

Tourism specialist

Marjorie van Strien is a tourism and livelihood development consultant with over 10 years of international experience. She is based in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she has developed an expertise in sustainable development and management of mountain tourism across the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

She has been engaged as a tourism expert for international development organizations, including International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and UN World Tourism Organisation, as well as different non-governmental organizations in various countries in South and South-East Asia, South America and Europe.

Gabriela Wülser

Project leader at the Network for Transdisciplinary Research (td-net), Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

Gabriela is an expert in sustainability science and transdisciplinarity. In her current position, she is responsible for national funding programmes on sustainability initiatives at universities as well as for tools that support academic knowledge co-production in heterogeneous teams. Gabriela is an Environmental Scientist by training and holds a doctorate from ETH Zurich. Her research has predominantly been in the field of science studies, focusing on how to orientate research for sustainable development to actual real world issues, amongst other things.

Stéphane Lozac’hmeur

Project Manager, Fondation Petzl, France

Stéphane joined the Petzl Foundation in October 2007 having worked for five years in the Petzl company’s communication department.

Today, as a project Manager, Stéphane deals with all the projects supported by the foundation. Every year, the Petzl Foundation supports environmental conservation projects that are related to Petzl’s main area of expertise: mountain and vertical terrain.

More than providing just funding, we offer practical assistance to all of the organizations we support.


Jorge Recharte

Director of The Mountain Institute Program in the Andes region

Jorge is an anthropologist, Director of The Mountain Institute Program in the Andes region.  He has designed and implemented multiple community-based conservation projects, cooperating with a network of mountain conservation groups in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and Brasil.
He is visiting professor in the Animal Science Faculty of Agrarian University La Molina in Lima, Perú, teaching courses on social dimensions of pastoralism in mountain regions, and member of the Board of Directors of the Instituto del Bien Común in Peru.

Meeta S. Pradhan, PhD

Director, Himalayan Program, The Mountain Institute

Meeta S. Pradhan is a Sociologist and has been working in the development sector in Nepal for many years. She has a special interest in research and development work related to poverty reduction, gender equality and social inclusion. With The Mountain Institute, she has been working towards conserving mountain environments, empowering mountain communities and sustaining mountain cultures. She is also on the Board of Tewa – The Women’s Fund – as well as Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), both in Nepal.