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UNEP Regional Directors

Mounkaila Goumandakoye
Regional Office for Africa,
Kaveh Zahedi
Regional Office for Asia and
the Pacific, (ROAP)
Jan Dusík
Regional Office for Europe, (ROE)
Margarita Astrálaga
Regional Office for Latin America
& the Caribbean, (ROLAC)
Patricia J. Beneke
Regional Office for North
America, (RONA)
Iyad Abumoghli
Regional Office for West Asia,

Mounkaila Goumandakoye

Regional Office for Africa, (ROA)

Mounkaila GoumandakoyeMr. Mounkaila Goumandakoye has taken up his position recently after his appointment in June 2008 as the Regional Director for UNEP in Africa.

Mounkaila joins UNEP from UNDP Drylands Development Centre where he started first as Policy Advisor and since 2007as Acting Director. Previously, he was Regional Coordinator for West and Central Africa of the United Nations Soudano Sahelian Office (UNSO).

While new to the UNEP family, he has obtained a wealth of experience in the field of environment and therefore brings extensive leadership and management experience in environment both at the policy and grassroots levels. He also combines an understanding of the geopolitical and socioeconomic situation in Africa with practical experiences on how UNEP can further strengthen its role and relevance on the continent.

Prior to joining the United Nations, Mounkaila, a national of Niger, has worked at the national and regional levels on the nexus between environment and sustainable development. He was Director of Environment of Niger after holding the position of Head of the Ecology and Environment Division of CILSS, a Sub Regional Organization devoted to drought mitigation in the nine Sahelian countries of West and Central Africa.

As a diplomat with the aim of serving global citizens, Mounkaila has also served as a senior member and advisor of many international and regional committees that deal with cross-cutting environment and development issues and has authored a series of comprehensive environmental publications. As part of his personal impact and achievements in society, he is a recipient of international awards and a Merit Order in Niger.

Mounkaila holds a Msc in Watershed Management and a degree of Engineer in Applied Sciences - Â Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife. With his educational background in the environment sciences, and his list of achievements and successes including senior positions held in a wide range of national, regional and international institutions within and outside the UN, Mounkaila will certainly be an asset and an inspiration to UNEP and particularly to the Regional Office of Africa and the continent at large, in shaping UNEP's programmes in the region in a way to effectively respond to the needs of African countries.

Kaveh Zahedi

Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, (ROAP)

Kaveh ZahediKaveh has been developing, implementing and managing climate change, ecosystem and sustainable development programmes for two decades. In 2012 Kaveh was appointed the Deputy Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) at UNEP, overseeing work covering green economy, resource efficiency, energy, chemicals, ozone and waste. In addition during this period he was also the interim Head of the Secretariat of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) for reducing short lived climate pollutants - a major initiative to help countries protect human health and the environment and slow the rate of near term climate change by reducing key pollutants such as methane, black carbon and HFCs.

In his wide ranging UNEP career Kaveh has also held the role of Climate Change Coordinator and responsible for the organisation’s climate programme and work with the UNFCCC as well as setting up major partnerships such as the UN-REDD Programme (with UNDP and FAO). Kaveh was the Acting Director of the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (2004-2007) and also worked at UNEP headquarters in Kenya (1995-1999) and the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Mexico (1999-2004).

Before joining UNEP, he worked at a Non Governmental Organisation in the UK as project manager for development microfinance and credit projects in Latin America and the Middle East.

Kaveh holds a Masters degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA, and a BSc (Econ.) first class degree in Economics & Geography, from University College London.

Jan Dusík

Regional Office for Europe, (ROE)

Jan DusikJan Dusík was born in Plzeň, Czech Republic. He graduated from the Law School of Charles University, Prague in 1998 and received a doctorate in 2001. In 2001-2002, he undertook a Master of Science Programme on Environmental Change and Management in the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

After the democratic changes in Czechoslovakia, Mr. Dusik became involved with the environmental movement in 1990 - first in the Brontosaurus Movement, from organising youth camps to managing the Movement's central office and international activities in 1993-1995. In 1994, he co-founded the Environmental Law Service, initially an environmental law clinic, which gradually evolved into a highly respected public interest environmental advocacy.

After finishing his law studies in 1998, he joined the International Relations Directorate of the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic. His service for the Ministry involved managing accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union (as Deputy Director and then Director of the EU Department in 1999-2003), coordination of international activities, legislative drafting and procedure and supervision of environmental public administration (as Director General in 2005-2006; Deputy Minister for International Co-operation, Legislation and State Administration from 2006, and First Deputy Minister from 2007). In 2003-2004, he worked for the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission in Brussels, handling cases of infringements of EC environmental legislation.

Over the years in the Czech civil service, Jan has been active in international environmental relations, both bilateral and multilateral. He was the Head of the Delegation of the Czech Republic to numerous meetings of parties of multilateral conventions and international organisations and their bodies (e.g. EU, UNEP, UN CSD, UN ECE, OECD). He served as the Vice - President of the Bureau of the UNEP Governing Council for 2007-2009, as the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole during the 24th session and 10th special session of the UNEP Governing Council. He was the Chairman of the Bureau of the Aarhus Convention for the period 2008-2011 and chaired the 4th Meeting of Parties to the Convention in 2011. He was the leading coordinator for the Czech Republic's Presidency of the EU Environmental Council in the first half of 2009.

Jan was appointed as the Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic in the care-taker government on 30 November 2009. He resigned from this post on 18 March 2010, following a political escalation concerning a project of a major thermal power plant reconstruction. Subsequently, he provided consultancy on international environmental policy and law in a number of countries worldwide, and served as an external advisor to the Czech Minister of Environment.

Jan speaks English, French, Czech and Slovak, some German and Russian.

Jan joined UNEP in July 2011 as the Deputy Director of the Regional Office for Europe and in December 2011 assumed functions of the Acting Director and Regional Representative in that office. In january 2014, Jan Dusík was confirmed as the Director and Regional Representative for UNEP's Office for Europe, (ROE).

Mrs. Margarita Astrálaga

Regional Office for Latin America & the Caribbean, (ROLAC)

Mrs. Margarita AstrálagaMargarita Astrálaga is a Colombian biologist, specialist in environmental management from the Danish Water Institute, and a Master in Regional Planning and Development. She has over 25 years of experience in the environment and sustainable development sector, including a wide-range of responsibilities, at the national and international levels.

The first part of her career was devoted to the Colombian Environmental Agency, having responsibilities at the national level. In 1988 she was recruited by the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya and was given responsibility for the Latin American and Caribbean Region of the Oceans and Coastal Areas Programme.

In 1994 she joined the Secretariat of the Convention of Trade on Endangered Species (CITES), in Geneva, Switzerland, as Head of the Capacity Building Unit until 1997 when she left for Argentina where she worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank, on institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Environment and designing a biodiversity strategy for Patagonia.

In 1999 she joined the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as the Americas Senior Advisor, working extensively with the Latin American and Caribbean Governments and International and National NGOs, as well as being responsible for global marine issues within the framework of the Convention. In addition, she was a member of the Board of the Conservation Trust and was a council member of Wetlands International. She has been actively involved in marine and coastal issues throughout her career, participating actively in ICRI, (International Coral Reef Initiative), Law of the Sea meetings and the Global Oceans Forum.

Until April 2010 she was working for the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the Director of the IUCN Mediterranean Cooperation Centre, located in Malaga, Spain.

Patricia J. Beneke

Regional Office for North America, (RONA)

Patricia J. BenekePatricia J. Beneke was appointed Director and Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America in May 2014.  Prior to that, she served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for nearly 20 years, specializing on legislation and oversight matters relating to energy policy, water resources, and environmental issues.

In 1995, Ms. Beneke was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, and served in that capacity until 2000. As Assistant Secretary, she played a leadership role with respect to several ecosystem restoration efforts, including those involving the Florida Everglades, the California-San Francisco Bay Delta, and the Platte River. In addition, she was responsible for programs of the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey.  She was heavily involved in water resource issues and in initiatives to provide quality science for natural resource decision-making.

Early in her career, Ms. Beneke was an attorney at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and she also handled environmental litigation as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.  In addition, Ms. Beneke served as the Associate Solicitor for Energy and Resources at the U.S. Department of the Interior, and she has also worked in the private sector.

Ms. Beneke has taught natural resources law and policy on an adjunct basis at Harvard Law School, Columbia University Law School, the University of Virginia School of Law, the Georgetown University Law Center, and the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy.  She holds a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. degree from Iowa State University.

Iyad Abumoghli

Regional Office for West Asia, (ROWA)

Iyad AbumoghliResponsibilities: Lead the regional team of UNEP West Asia in identifying and assessing relevant needs, priorities, trends, developments, and policies at the national, sub-regional, and regional levels, in order to incorporate them into UNEP policy and programme development. Identify and build/strengthen strategic partnerships at all levels, both with West Asia Governments, the private sector and civil society at large to mobilize support for sound environmental action. Represent the Organization at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conferences

Expertise: Senior level expertise in sustainable development, environment, innovation and knowledge management. Strong knowledge in strategic planning, visioning and programme implementation and oversight working with local, national, regional and international organizations.

Professional Background: Twenty seven years of experience with the private sector, scientific and international organizations on sustainable development, water resources management and Environmental Impact Assessment. Before joining UNEP,

He served 14 years in UNDP in a number of positions starting as Assistant Resident Representative for programmes in Jordan, then as the Global Practice Manager of the Energy and Environment Group in New York.

He worked as a Senior Policy Adviser on Environment and as a Knowledge Management Team Leader and head of Innovation unit at the Regional Center in Cairo. Having served in a diverse development domains, Iyad adopts a holistic multi-sectoral approach to development ensuring cross-thematic integration with internal and external partners.

Education: Doctorate degree in Bio-Chemical Engineering from the University of Bath/UK, an outstanding graduate of the Virtual Development Academy - John Hopkins University, and a BA in Chemical Engineering from University of Jordan.

Language: Arabic and English