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. Since May 2017, Carolina has taken on the role as Executive Director of the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), hosted by the Swiss Academies of Sciences.

Maretha Alant

Environmental Planner

Maretha Alant has 20 years of experience in protected area planning and conservation management. She has climbed mountains in 18 countries and is currently the Environmental Planner for South African National Parks (SANParks) in the Garden Route and Frontier Regions. Current projects include establishing conservation corridors on private land, invasive alien vegetation clearing in mountain catchments and high priority biodiversity areas and commenting on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in Mountain areas and on private properties that could affect the ecological integrity of National Parks.

Jan Ivar Bøe

Media Relations

Jan Ivar Bøe is a member of Norwegian Alpine Club, and has earlier been a board member for the club. Since the late 1980 he has been a climber and ski-mountaineer. In his professional life, Jan Ivar works at the Akershus County Council, where he is responsible for media relations.

Valeska Buchemi de Oliveira

Environmental Researcher

Valeska was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Initially purely a hobby, Valeska’s interest in the mountains became part of her studies at college with a focus on research and environmental protection. In 2011, she started to practice rock climbing and mountaineering in both Asia and South America. Since 2013 she has been associated to Serra do Cipo Climbers Association (AESC), and to “Mineira” Climbing Association (AME), contributing to climbing development. Valeska is currently running a Working Group at AESC dedicated to trail management and minimal impact, as well as running a management plan at Baú Rocks (a noted rock site in her home state). She has also worked with local guides at Serra do Cipo to construct an association, one involved in directly combatting fires at the Serra do Cipo National Park. She also is founder of a Research Institute ( that deals with scientific and conservation research, and scientific tourism. She also is affiliated to CEM, a state trekking club, where she lectures about environmental conservation, and performs reforestation programmes with volunteers.

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.

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.

Amin Moein

Air pollution engineer – mountain guide – alpinist

Amin, a member of the MPC since 2014, is a full member of the BMC and President of the MP Commission of the Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation.

His published work includes: Noshaq, a different peak 2010 (about his journey in Hindukosh) . Climbing Dictionary 2016 (English to Persian mountain terms). Mountain Environment Protection 2018 (about mountain ecosystems and the ways of protecting the mountains). Amin also conducted a research paper ‘Assessment of SO2and H2S emission from Damavand volcano 5610m and it’s dispersion in south face’ in 2015/2016.

Amin founded Iran’s first mountain environment course which has educated some 3,000 mountaineers in three years.

Mattia Sella

Earth Science Lecturer

Graduated in Geological Science with a thesis on Geochemistry and later employed at the Italian National Hydrocarbons Authority (Eni) for more than thirty years, Mattia has been member of many international research projects on Geosciences (Geology and Geophysics), as the CROP (acronym for CROsta Profonda) Project (CNR, Eni & ENEL convention) and Transalp (Italy, Germany, Austria), for the study of the deep Earth crust under the Alpine Chain using seismic profiles. He has presented speeches on energy, petroleum research, petroleum geology at International Conferences and he published papers on international journals (as Geology and Geophysical Research Letters). He participated in the organisation of some International Petroleum Exploration and Geological Conferences. From 2008 Mattia is lecturer at the Earth Science Department of the University of Milan.

He works as private consultant and delivers lectures on Petroleum Geology, Reservoir Engineering, Petroleum Economy and Unconventional hydrocarbons. From August 2008 to December 2013 he was President of the Central Scientific Committee of the Italian Alpine Club and since 2009 Mattia is a full delegate of the Mountain Protection Commission at the UIAA, representing the Italian Alpine Club.

He carries out researches on History of Science, in particular on Geology and Mountaineering History, and he delivers lectures and public speeches.

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 Wageningen Environmental Research on the topics management nature, forest and urban green.



Björn Alfthan

Climate Change and Mountain Waste Expert

Björn Alfthan works within the Polar and Mountain Environments Programme at GRID-Arendal (, a Norwegian foundation and collaborating centre of UN Environment. Since 2014, he has led GRID-Arendal´s involvement in the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), working to communicate the impacts of climate change on the region and possible solutions through innovative and visual communication products and interaction with policy makers. He also has an interest in mountain waste, biodiversity and sustainability issues, and was the editor of the 2016 UN Environment report, “Waste Management Outlook for Mountain Regions”.

Alton C. Byers, PhD

Senior Research Associate and Faculty
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
University of Colorado at Boulder

Alton C. Byers, Ph.D. is Senior Research Associate and Faculty 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, high mountain climate change, community-based glacier flood risk reduction, and alpine conservation and restoration programs. He regularly lectures and has published widely on a range of applied high mountain research topics in the Himalayas, Andes, East African Highlands, Altai, Appalachians, and other mountain ranges of the world.  His most recent book is titled “Khumbu Since 1950” which documents cultural, climate, and landscape change in the Mt. Everest region of Nepal through a unique collection of historic and repeat photographs.

Matthias Jurek

Programme Management Officer

As Programme Management Officer of UN Environment, based in Vienna, Matthias manages a number of flagship projects and initiatives related to sustainable mountain development with a particular focus on climate change adaptation, ecosystem management, environmental governance and use of earth observation.

Matthias, born in Vienna, graduated in law at the University of Vienna (Faculty of Law) and has specialized himself in international law and relations with a particular focus on environmental issues. Previously he worked with the UN Environment’s collaborating centre GRID-Arendal, European Research and serving in the Legal Office of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs as well as has been working for various NGOs, think tanks (inter alia dealing with security and peace/conflict issues) and other institutions before that. Matthias is a passionate mountaineer and climber; and has also a strong passion for Arctic-related issues.

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, the Petzl Foundation offers practical assistance to all of the organizations supported.

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.

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.

Marjorie van Strien

Tourism specialist

Marjorie van Strien is a tourism and livelihood development consultant with over 10 years of international experience. In recent years, she has developed an expertise in sustainable development and management of mountain tourism across the Hindu Kush Himalaya. She is currently based in Idaho, USA, where she is pursuing her PhD.

Marjorie 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. She has been managing funding programmes on sustainability initiatives at universities and working on tools to 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.