Téa Garcia-Huidobro is the UNEP-DGEF Biosafety Coordinator for Latin America. She was born in Chile but grew up mostly in England, where she graduated as a biochemist from Bristol University.
Once back in Chile, she initiated her professional career as a cellular and molecular researcher in the laboratories of the Catholic University of Chile. Having published several papers, she decided to specialize in environmental management and returned to England to complete a Master of Science in Environmental Technology, at Imperial College, London. After this, she returned once again to Chile where she joined the Department of Natural Resources, at the National Commission of the Environment (CONAMA), which to date is Chile’s equivalent of an environment ministry. There, she took on responsibilities relating to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), working on issues such as access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing, conservation of endangered species, control of exotic invasive species and the Cartagena Protocol for Biosafety (CPB).
She became closely involved in biosafety capacity-building (for the safe use of biotechnology) as the national coordinator for Chile’s UNEP-GEF biosafety project, which aimed to propose a national framework for the CPB and support the responsible management of genetically modified organisms in Chile. From there, she left Chile to join UNEP’s Regional Office in Panama City, where she now forms part of a team of UNEP staff who coordinate GEF-funded (Global Environmental Facility) biosafety projects around the world. As Regional Coordinator for Latin America, she is currently involved in finalizing other UNEP/GEF biosafety projects and in preparing a new generation of projects for implementing previously defined biosafety frameworks and making them operational. These project proposals are to be presented to the GEF (the financial mechanism to the CBD and CPB, among others) for their financing and executed from 2009 onwards.