Blue finance Team
Blue finance brings a comprehensive mix of expertise for effective management and sustainable financing of Marine Protected Areas. The current team consists of permanent staff members and associates distributed worldwide.
Our team brings over 2 decades of managing MPAs under collaborative management and financially sustainable. The team has also a long history and expertise in marine ecology, conservation finance, fisheries management, business development, public-private partnerships, and community development.
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Nicolas’ expertise combines marine science, economics, finance and policy; all aimed at protecting marine ecosystems. On the marine side, his more than 50 economic studies, scientific publications and technical reports on ecosystem services of coral reefs, have been used globally, to inform and convince policy makers. On the business side, Nicolas’ former positions include investment director and project developer for multinational companies as well as founder and CEO of a B2B company. These dual skill sets now inform marine conservation, inspiring alternatives and new approaches. Nicolas completed a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from ICN (France) and received his PhD in Marine Science from the Universidad de Barcelona (Spain).
Director Wider Caribbean & Co-Founder
Angelique is coordinating Blue finance works with MPAs in the english-spoken Caribbean. Before joining Blue finance, Angelique headed the Marine Research Section of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (Ministry of Environment) in Barbados, for over a decade. Her work involved developing and implementing coral reef related research projects; as well as management of reef systems within an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) framework and communication of the results. She has recently developed specific knowledge and expertise on Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) for marine conservation in the Caribbean and South Pacific Region.
Country Manager for Cape Verde
Antonio collaborates with the design and implementation of the project in Cabo Verde. Antonio is an expert in Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation with more than 30 years’ experience in that field. He supported directly the development of the national network of Marine Protected Areas in Guinea Bissao, focusing on participatory management and community development. He was also responsible for project coordination of the Banc d’Arguin International Foundation in Mauritania and advisor to the Banc d’Arguin National Park Directorate. He managed also a large portfolio of projects focused on biodiversity conservation in West Africa, as Manager of the MAVA Foundation.
Senior MPA Practitioner
Newton is a senior MPA practitioner expert in Blue finance and collaborates with the design of the management plans and revenue mechanisms of our projects. He is also the operation director of the Clear caribbean project focusing on community livelihood enhancement strategies. He has been the manager of the world renowned Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) in St. Lucia where he focused on implementing innovative sustainable financing mechanisms for the marine managed area and developed closer partnerships between the private sector and the local community. Newton is a Caribbean citizen and holds a MSc degree from the University of the West Indies in Marine resource and Environmental management.
Marina is our Blue Carbon project expert. Marina is specialized in natural solutions for GHG sequestration and storage, climate change, results-based funding and Payments for Ecosystems Services schemes. Since 2003, Marina gathered experience in project design, management and monitoring, notably in the scope of sustainable landscape projects in terrestrial and marine areas working with a multitude of international donors, research institutions and private stakeholders. She has developed, certified and managed more than 15 carbon projects, alongside more than 40 social and environmental sustainability projects worldwide. In addition, she has developed participatory methodologies for social engagement, impacts evaluation and strategic planning. Marina is a Brazilian forestry engineer from the University of São Paulo with a master in Sustainable Development and International Relations from the Graduate Insitute in Geneva.
Nicolas is an underwater film maker and collaborates with Blue finance for the development of the Virtual Reality exhibit solutions. Nicolas has worked for more than 20 years in many film and TV productions. Passionate about the sea as well as computer graphics and video editing, this tech addict became a professional in underwater filming. Nicolas has realized more than 70 nature productions covering a wide variety of subjects, from institutional and educational films to scientific documentaries and ecological reportages. He is the co-founder of Oceanica Productions managing all phases of underwater audiovisual production. He also created GEOM, an organization developing multimedia educational tools for children to promote awareness of the fragility of the marine world. Nicolas was trained as a diver from COMEX; a company specialized in deep-water engineering operations.
Captain Joseph Ierna Jr.
MPA Revenue expert
Joseph is a senior MPA practitioner expert in Blue finance and collaborates with the development of sustainable tourism activities and revenue generating mechanisms for our MPA projects. Joseph has been the administrator of Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, Bahamas National Trust during several years. Under his command, the park achieved financial sustainability , for the first time in the parks 60 year history. Before that, he was the Founder/Director of a non-profit organization working in marine and land conservation in Bahamas and Florida. He successfully developed a Research and Education Facility in Long Island, Bahamas in conjunction with 257,000 acre Marine Protected Area — Long Island Marine Management Area (LIMMA). Joseph is also a confirmed 500-ton Captain that has successfully navigated the globe’s oceans, built Team Americas Cup IACC Class Sailing Vessels and worked as a naval architect.
Marine legal advisory
Manpreet has a wide range of experience in transactions with a Public-Private Partnership focus, including landlord and tenant matters, investment sales and acquisitions (single assets and portfolios) and real estate finance transactions and restructurings (including bilateral and syndicated loans, private and publicly listed bond issues and securitisations). Manpreet Kaur joined Ropes & Gray in April 2015 as an associate in the firm’s private equity real estate group in London.
Ramón de León
Senior MPA Practitioner and Sustainable Finance
Ramón is a senior MPA practitioner expert in Blue finance and collaborates with the design of the management plans and revenue mechanisms of our projects. During 10 years, he served as manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park, a world renowned MPA recognized for its biodiversity conservation programs and pioneering “diver tag” user fee system. Bonaire Marine Park has been under a collaborative management for the last 25 years and is financially sustainable, generating most or all revenue through tourism. Ramón regularly supports professional development of other park managers in the Wider Caribbean. He has a keen understanding of how to effectively engage community stakeholders, resolve conflicts and promote alternative livelihoods that foster sustainable use of coastal and marine resources. Born in Uruguay, Ramón moved to the Caribbean in 1997. He holds a Master of Science from Universidad de Concepcion in Chile and has completed additional training in Environmental Engineering from Universidad de Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Country Manager for Philippines
Alain collaborates with the design and implementation of the Blue finance investments schemes in Philippines. Alain has more than 3 decades of experience on policy research, project and business planning, development, management and monitoring. His expertise includes sustainable financing and resource mobilization in areas such as agro/ecotourism, women and development, sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity-friendly enterprises. He has served into the Sub-Committee on Finance, Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016. His work includes competitiveness projects in the Philippines, Greater Mekong Subregion and India with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank.
Coral reef scientific expert
Serge is a coral reef scientist collaborating with Blue finance in the development of marine conservation planning. Over the past 20 years, he has published more than 200 papers in international journals mainly dealing with the population genetics of coral reef fishes as well as papers dealing with ecology, ecology of marine protected areas and recruitment of marine fishes. ISI Essential Science Indicators (ESI) analyzed research into coral reef ecosystems in the past decade (1995-2005) and ranked his work at #19 in the world out of 5,060 authors (see http://esi-topics.com/coralreef). His views have major implications for conservation planning.
Underwater Tourism Expert
Thomas is a shark and wildlife tourism expert collaborating with Blue finance in the development of sustainable tourism activities and revenue generating mechanisms. Thomas experience comes from both scientific research and the blue-tourism industry. He created several sustainable tourism projects benefiting both nature and people. He completed his PhD on sharks, and participated in several scientific missions, mainly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In Fiji, Thomas designed and managed a shark diving and conservation project that led to the development of a local MPA along with other benefits for communities.
His work focuses on revealing, empowering or rebuilding coral reef ecosystems, as well as designing sustainable tourism strategies and businesses. His latest projects are turn-key solutions designed to boost tourism economy, scientific research while improving ecosystems health. Thomas is also a diving and freediving instructor as well as an award-winning underwater photographer.
Our Expert Advisory Board
Tundi is an internationally renowned expert in marine conservation, with extensive field and policy experience in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, North America, and the Pacific. Tundi specializes in coastal planning and assessment, marine protected areas, fisheries management and ocean zoning, and has published widely in these fields. She founded Sound Seas in 2001 as an independent group working at the nexus of policy and science to promote marine conservation. She has served as Senior Scientist for the World Wildlife Fund and began Conservation International’s Global Marine Program, which she oversaw as Senior Director. She also led the coastal portion of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment – a 3-year global analysis released in 2005 that represents the consensus of over a thousand scientists on the state of the world’s ecosystems. She completed her undergraduate work at Wellesley and Dartmouth Colleges and then received her Ph.D. in biological sciences and Masters in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and was postdoctoral fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Eleanor is the Successional Director of the award winning Chumbe Island Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where she was the first Project Manager through the design, development and implementation phase in the mid-nineties. This first financially self-sustaining MPA in the world continues to flourish today, with all operations fully funded by cutting-edge zero-impact ecotourism, where 100% of funds generated from visitors are re-invested into MPA management, research, and education for school children.Eleanor is also the founder of Sustainable Solutions International Consulting (SSIC), and has more than 20 years of consulting experience supporting sustainability initiatives in Africa, Asia, Pacific islands, Mediterranean, and West Indian Ocean regions. Eleanor areas of specialism include: marine and coastal management (MPAs, ICZM, EAFM), training and capacity building, sustainable tourism, multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAs), and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Eleanor has also held posts as the Senior Advisor to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Executive Director of Environment and Development Consulting.
Christian has worked on the development and implementation of marine conservation policy for more than a decade. Before joining GRID-Arendal in 2011, Christian has been with WWF Germany for seven years. He has been advocating for Marine Protected Areas in European waters and in the High Seas. He also has worked on the certification of sustainable seafood.Christian’s academic background is in Marine Ecology. He has graduated from the Centre of Marine Tropical Ecology and the University of Bremen, Germany. For his master thesis, he described biological and socio-economic characteristics of the fishery in Kirinda, Sri Lanka, where he spent a field semester measuring some 6000+ herring.
Kristin is the CEO of the NGO Dynamic Planet to scale successful conservation initiatives through business. Prior to founding Dynamic Planet, Kristin was Senior Vice President of Global Programs and Partnerships at the National Geographic Society, where over 14 years she helped lead its global expansion by launching and growing its international cable channels, global corporate partnerships division, and global research, conservation, and exploration programs. Before joining National Geographic, Kristin lived in Seoul, Korea and explored Asia as a Luce Foundation Fellow, designing informal educational systems and traveling extensively producing documentary films. In 2009, Kristin was selected to join the Young Global Leader community of the World Economic Forum where she currently serves on the Advisory Council and works with several initiatives including oceans, the shared economy, and the future of global development. Kristin has a public policy degree and documentary film certificate from Duke University.
Gustavo defines himself as an entrepreneur, business transformer & mentor. He is the co-Founder & Member of the Board of ActivaMente WW Group. ActivaMente Group is conformed of three specialized firms: ActivaMente Consulting – Digital Business Transformation and Acceleration Consultancy, TanGente – Integrated Advertising Agency and ActivaMente Digital – Digital Marketing Agency. AM WW is a proud neuron of the WPI network, with presence in over 50 countries around the Globe. WPI is the largest network of independent professional services companies in the marketing industry with an annual turnover of over $3.2 billion USD. ActivaMente WW Group has been recognized as a top digital business partner by leading marketing and business magazines and by large corporations in the region as well. Academically he holds a degree in Electronic Systems Engineering and specialized in multimedia and business administration. He mainly enjoys self-learning and cross-knowledge. As a professor he works with students on innovation, business modeling, market disruption and post-digital era business ecosystems.