CI-GCF Agency


© Benjamin Drummond


Miguel A. Morales

Senior Vice President, CI-GCF and CI-GEF Agencies

Miguel Morales is a professional with over 27 years of experience on issues related to conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in developing countries of the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific region. He has worked extensively in multicultural contexts using adaptive management and rights-based approaches to design, implement, monitor and evaluate conservation and sustainable development projects, as well as building capacity for conservation practitioners, local stakeholders and decision makers.

Prior to joining Conservation International in 2006, Miguel worked for the Conservation Data Center, Fundación Moisés Bertoni, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in his native Paraguay. At CI he worked as a Protected Areas Management Advisor, Conservation Strategies Director, and Technical Director for the CI-GEF Project Agency.

Miguel holds a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development and a Ph.D. in Environment & Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Doctorate in Veterinary Sciences from the National University of Asunción.

Languages: Spanish and Guaraní (native), English, and Portuguese


Susana Escudero

Senior Director, Grants Management, CI-GCF and CI-GEF Agencies

Susana joined Conservation International in 2012 and serves as the Director of Grants Management for the CI-GCF Agency. She focuses on financial management and operations of the CI-GEF portfolio of projects and manages the relationship with the GEF Trustee. Previously, Susana served as the Senior Manager of Multilateral Relations, managing Conservation International’s portfolio of GEF projects through Multilaterals. Susana has also worked for the Inter-American Development Bank as a consultant and Cargill. Susana holds a Master of Public Administration with a focus on non-profit management from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University. Susana is a native of Brazil and has spent her adult life in the U.S.

Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish

Steven Panfil

Senior Director, Project Development and Implementation

Steve’s professional focus has been on forests and climate change for nearly 15 years. Much of his work has concentrated on REDD+, including the development and application of social and environmental standards, international and domestic policy, project design, and research. Prior to joining CI, Steve directed a conservation organization in Peru, which engaged with local communities to enhance livelihoods and improve the management of conservation areas while building scientific knowledge of Amazonian forests. A US citizen, Steve was a 10-year resident in Latin America and has also worked extensively with teams in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific region. Steve holds a PhD in plant ecology from the University of Georgia and Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University.

Languages: English, Spanish

Ian Kissoon

Director, Environmental and Social Framework, CI-GCF and CI-GCF Agencies

Ian hails from the South American country of Guyana and joined CI in February 2015. He holds two masters degrees from the University of Cape Town, South Africa; an MSc Degree in Conservation Biology and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). Prior to joining CI, Ian worked at the UNDP’s Office in Guyana where he served as the country’s National Coordinator for the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP). He also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Guyana where he led the work of the Protected Areas Unit, and this included the development of the national protected areas legislation and co-management plans for the Kanuku Mountains and Shell Beach Protected Areas. He developed a passion for ensuring the design and implementation of good conservation projects from having seen the positive impacts such projects can have on the lives of people in communities.

Languages: English

Robert Merritt

Director, Project Development and Oversight

Robert joined the CI-GCF Agency in January 2018 after more than 10 years managing the implementation of development projects in low-income nations. During that time, he lived and worked in West Africa, East Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. Since 2013, Robert has focused on climate change resilience programs, with particular emphasis on forest conservation and reducing coastal communities’ vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change. 

Robert has extensive experience working closely with a wide range of partners and stakeholders including community leaders, NGOs, local & national governments, regional bodies, and international donors. He has conducted socio-economic and ecological vulnerability assessments, developed practical activities through options analyses, and recognizes the critical importance of local buy-in for climate change interventions.

Robert holds an M.S. in Climate Change from University College London and a B.S. from Bates college in Maine.

Languages: English, French


Courtney McCarty

Senior Manager, Grants

Courtney joined Conservation International in 2018. Prior to joining CI, Courtney served for more than five years as an International Program Specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, managing international development programs aimed at promoting economic growth. Previously, she worked as a contractor at the U.S. Department of State and as a foreign policy researcher with a national media organization. She has also worked at the United Nations and the U.S. Congress.

Courtney holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and International Economics from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University.

Languages: English, French

Prapti Bhandary

Manager Project Support, Monitoring, and Evaluation, CI-GCF and CI-GEF Agencies

Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Prapti joined Conservation International in 2020. Prior to joining CI, she was the Flagship Manager/Senior Research Analyst in the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute. She has worked on several projects related to climate resilience, climate smart agriculture, ecosystem services and natural resource management in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

She holds a Master's degree in Environmental Policy from Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Kathmandu University. Prapti is interested in impact-driven programming that builds resilience of vulnerable communities and enables them to adapt to changing landscapes.  

Languages: English, Nepali

Elizabeth Mast

Grants Manager, CI-GCF and CI-GEF Agencies

Before joining CI, Elizabeth lived in Austin, Texas. For 5 years, she worked as a grants manager for the non-profit Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), which provides support and funding to the local CASA programs in Texas, which advocate on behalf of children in the foster system.   

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  Her studies focused on sustainable development and she did her internship with a solar energy start-up for which she co-authored a peer-reviewed case study on the market barriers the company faced.

Languages: English, French 

Olivia Reed

Coordinator, CI-GCF and CI-GEF Agencies

Originally from Pennsylvania, Olivia joined Conservation International in 2021. Her professional background lies in legal studies and communication strategy. Prior to joining CI, she obtained a Master's degree in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development from SOAS University of London and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Temple University. Her studies and thesis work centered around cocoa-related deforestation and ethical consumption. Olivia has a passion for conservation, working towards corporate social responsibility, and environmental justice.  

Languages: English


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