Member's Profile

Dr. Konrad Uebelhör
Director, Indo-German Biodiversity Programme


Dr. Konrad Uebelhör holds a Ph.D. from the University of Munich, specialising in the fields of silviculture, forest ecology and management. Since 1984, he has worked in long-term assignments in the Philippines, Malaysia, Honduras and Namibia on tropical silviculture, natural resources management, and environmental policy. At GIZ head office, Dr. Konrad was responsible from 2004-2010 for the sectoral project "Implementing the Biodiversity Convention". In October 2016, he moved to India for his current assignment, as the Director of the Indo-German Biodiversity Programme.

Dr. Jan Michael Vakily
Team Leader, Conservation of Coastal and Marine Areas (CMPA) Project


Dr. Michael Vakily is the team leader of the Conservation of Coastal and Marine Areas Project. He is a marine scientist who graduated from Kiel University, Germany. Over the past 30 years, he has been involved in various projects in Asia and West Africa dealing with the management and conservation of marine and coastal natural resources.

Thorsten Hiepko
Head of Administration & Finance Team


Thorsten heads our Administration & Finance Team, and also functions as the Deputy to the Programme Director. He is responsible for all administration, human resources, and finance related matters of the Programme, and is also the nodal contact person for portfolio management, as well as all GIZ-internal processes. Mr. Hiepko holds a Masters degree (Dipl.-Pol.) in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin, as well as a dual Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge, and the Berlin School of Economics and Law. For a long time, he worked in the German Parliament, serving as Chief of Staff for several Members of Parliament. In 2009, Thorsten joined GIZ as a Senior Country Manager for East Asia and India. In October 2012, he moved to India for his current assignment. 

Dr. Neeraj Khera
Senior Advisor & Coordinator for Gujarat, CMPA Project


Dr. Khera holds a doctorate in Forest Ecology, and  advanced trainings on ' Managing Global Governance', and ' Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction'. She has over 15 years of experience of working on biodiversity relevant issues including Urban biodiversity, biodiversity inclusive EIA, climate change adaptation, and capacity development approaches.  In the CMPA project, she is coordinating the Human Capacity Development component (HCD) at the national level. She is also responsible for coordinating the project activities in the state of Gujarat.

Piyush Dhawan
Project Coordinator, Business and Biodiversity


After graduating in Business Economics with Honours from Delhi University, Piyush pursued a Masters in Business Administration from Pforzheim University in Germany with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility. He worked with United Nations Volunteers in Germany before joining GIZ India. In the programme Piyush is managing the India Business & Biodiversity Initiative (IBBI) with the Confederation of Indian Industry. 


Ravindra Singh
Team Leader, ISBM Project


Ravindra is an economist with a progressive experience of over 15 years in programme development and management in the fields of natural resources management and rural livelihoods, adaptation to climate change and biodiversity management. After completing his economics training at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ravindra ventured into rural India to see how economics could help understand and find solutions to developmental challenges and trade-offs at the grassroots. He joined GTZ in 2004. He has been involved with designing and implementation of various projects in natural resource management, adaptation to climate change and biodiversity management.

Dr. Joachim Schmerbeck
Team Leader, Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Services (HP-FES) Project


Dr. Joachim Schmerbeck holds a Masters in forest science and a Certificate as State Forester from Germany. He did his PhD in forest science at the Technical University of Munich on the interaction of forest utilization patters of tropical dry forest in India. Since then he worked in India and Europe in capacities such as scientist, project manager and freelancer for several research organizations and international NGOs in the field of disaster management and sustainable natural resource. From 2009-2015, he was Associate Professor for Ecology at TERI University, New Delhi. He is specialized in vegetation dynamics in relationship to human interference, and how this influences the provision of ecosystem services.


Dr. Aaron Savio Lobo
Advisor and Coordinator for Goa & Tamil Nadu


Aaron is a marine conservation practitioner with work experience in South Asia and West Africa. He completed his PhD from the University of Cambridge on the prestigious Gates scholarship. He is also member of the IUCN Sea Snake specialist group and a recipient of the Sanctuary Asia – ABN AMRO Young Naturalist Award.

Dr. Geetha Nayak
Team Leader, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project


Geetha Nayak is an ecologist, with a PhD from Pondicherry University, India. She did her post-doctorate from Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, University of Reading, UK; and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA. She is the recipient of prestigious Fulbright-Nehru Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Her research focused on studying the effect of land use intensification on ecosystem services delivered by pollinators in forests and agro-ecosystems. Dr. Nayak also pursues and enjoys mountaineering. Prior to joining GIZ, she led a project on Access and Benefit Sharing at Karnataka Biodiversity Board, Bangalore. At GIZ, Geetha is involved in the Access and Benefit Sharing Partnership Project and is based at the National Biodiversity Authority in Chennai. 

Supriya Jhunjhunwala
Advisor & Coordinator for Maharashtra, CMPA Project


Supriya has an MPhil in Conservation for the University of Cambridge, UK; a diploma from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences and a Masters in Ecology. She has over 14 years of experience working in biodiversity conservation and has previously worked with the Ark Foundation, The Center for Environment Education and The Bombay Natural History Society. Supriya is an Advisor in the CMPA Project and oversees the protected area management, community participation, development and implementation of project plans and activities components for three sites in Maharashtra; in close coordination with counterparts like the MoEF and State Authorities and in consultation with NGOs and Academia. 

Dr. Aeshita Mukherjee-Wilske
Team Leader, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project


Aeshita holds a doctorate degree in Ecology focusing on the documentation of "Sarus Crane” and further recipient of a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship in Israel, China and Canada. She has over 19 years of experience working on biodiversity and conservation related issues in different ecosystems. In her last assignment, she has worked as a Gujarat State Project Coordinator with the UNEP-GEF-ABS Project focusing on the Biodiversity Act and ABS in India.

Dr. Priya Narayanan
Technical Expert, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project

Priya is a Geographer, holding a Master’s degree in Geography from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and PhD from TERI University, New Delhi. Her doctoral research focussed on studying cloud – aerosol- rainfall interactions using satellite retrievals. Prior to joining GIZ, she worked on aspects of urban resilience in coastal cities, climate change adaptation and ecosystem services evaluation in the coastal states in India at the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai. At present in GIZ, she works as a Technical Expert for the Access and Benefit Sharing Partnership Project and is based at Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board, Chennai.

Patricia Dorn
Junior Advisor - Programme Management

Patricia Dorn holds an interdisciplinary Master in Sustainabilty Studies with a focus on Marine Governance and Social Ecology. She has been working across South-East Asia in the previous years and joined the team in December 2016.

Dr. Peerzada Ishtiyak Ahmad
Technical Expert, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership

 Dr. Ishtiyak has attained PhD in Forestry from Forest Research Institute (FRI) Dehradun. He has vast experience in designing and implementing the research and consulting projects on forest conservation, management, certification, NTFPs and carbon forestry, across Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining GIZ, he worked as a Scientist cum Principal Investigator (SERB) at Faculty of Forestry, SK University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology (SKUAST) of Kashmir, and lead an Integrated NTFPs and livelihood project for evidence based policy actions in Kashmir Himalayas. At GIZ, he is working on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources and is based at UK State Biodiversity Board, Dehradun.

Marimuthuram Mahendran
Junior Technical Expert, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) partnership project Tamil-Nadu

Marimuthuram Mahendran has a master’s in “Tropical and International Forestry” from the University of Goettingen, Germany and a post-graduation in “Plant Genetic Manipulation” from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. He has work experience in various facets of forest management, preparation of REDD+ project development plans, reference emission levels and incentive mechanisms. Previously, he worked as a senior research associate at IORA Ecological Solutions Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, where he was involved in USAID Forest-PLUS program. Marimuthuram has undergraduate degree in Agricultural Biotechnology from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and has strong foundation in subjects like Agriculture, Biotechnology and Genetics. Marimuthuram is currently working as a Junior Technical Expert in ABS Project and based at the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board.

Neena Elizabeth Koshy
Advisor & Coordinator for Tamil Nadu, CMPA Project


Neena has done her Post Masters in Natural Resources Management from the Indian Institute of Forest Management (Bhopal) Madhya Pradesh, after completing Masters in Marine Biology from the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Kochi) Kerala. Neena worked for eleven years, in various capacities in organizations (International Collective in Support of Fishworkers and Samaj Pragati Sahayog) working in the development sector. Her work experience range from organizing at grassroots to policy advocacy at national, international and multilateral platforms. She has social and environmental justice as her core values. She is Technical Advisor  for the CMPA project and the State Coordinator for Tamil Nadu.

Ritesh Sharma
Technical Expert, Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Services (HP-FES) Project


Ritesh Sharma is an Advisor with HP-FES project. He is Masters in Forestry with specialisation in Economics from FRI, Dehradun. He has previously worked with NABARD as Forestry expert and for a UK based development organisation where he coordinated natural resource management based projects. He has research experience with Forest Research Institute, Dehradun. His exposure includes working on biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation as well as application on Environmental economics. Presently he is looking after implementation of Forest Ecosystem service based demonstrations and learning from TEEB India Initiative through PES pilots. He enjoys bird watching and nature photographer in his leisure time.

Abhinav Mehta
Junior Project Coordinator, CMPA Project-Gujarat.


Abhinav, experienced in Wildlife Ecology and GIS-Remote Sensing techniques, has worked on Desert Ecology and Climate Change projects in arid areas of Kutch, Gujarat. He has also worked in a World Bank Project titled Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement Project as a GIS Specialist at Gir National Park & Sanctuary. There he focused on the Conservation and Research aspects of Gir and surrounding regions, aimed to increase Landscape and Regional Planning Capacity for Biodiversity of Asiatic Lion landscape and local people. In the CMPA project he is working for coordinating the project activities in the state of Gujarat.

Mithilesh Kandalkar
Technical Expert, Access & Benefit Sharing Partnership Project


Mithilesh holds a Master's degree in Rural Management from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. He has experience in establishing Agriculture Value Chains, specifically for horticulture crops across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. Prior to GIZ, he was working with NCDEX as Assistant Product Manager handling the portfolio of two major crops, Maize & Wheat. His former assignment at GIZ was with Rural Insurance Services Program, in partnership with NABARD & Dept. of Agriculture, GOI.  Currently, he is working as Technical Expert with the Access & Benefit Sharing Partnership and looking after the project coordination for the state of Maharashtra.

Anil Kumar Joshi
Technical Expert, ABS partnership project Uttarakhand


Anil Joshi is an expert in the field of Development project management, having more than 8 years of progressive experience in various aspects of development sector like Natural Resource Management through watershed development, participatory project planning, Renewable energy project management, science communication etc. Anil has a master’s degree in Rural Management alongwith Master’s Degree in Science. Previously he has worked with GIZ on watermill upgradation programme and UNIDO for community based Micro Hydro Power project implementation in Uttarakhand.

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