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Photo of Julia Carabias Lillo Julia Carabias Lillo

Julia Carabias Lillo was born in 1954 in Mexico City, Mexico. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees (1973 - 1981) in the Faculty of Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In the UNAM she developed programs in the areas of scientific investigation and education from 1977 to 1994.

She has taught courses and been a thesis advisor in the Faculty of Sciences of the UNAM, as well as in diverse institutions of research and higher education, in Botany, Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Ecological Restoration and Conservation.

The focus of Ms. Carabias’ research in Ecology has been in the areas of tropical forest regeneration, environmental restoration, natural resource management, productive systems and ecology, urban ecology, calculating the value of environmental heritage, global change, poverty and environment, and environmental policy making. She has published numerous scientific articles on these themes, in addition to co-authoring various books, among which include: Ecology and Alimentary Self-sufficiency; Rural Production in Mexico: Ecological Alternatives; For Earth’s Sake; and Natural Resource Management and Rural Poverty. Additionally, her work has been published in the following compilations: Ecology and Natural Resources; Traditional Practices and Integral Resource Management; Culture and Sustainable Natural Resource Management; Towards a Policy of Sustainable Development; and Poverty and the Environment.

Ms. Carabias has presented her work and delivered speeches in national as well as international forums. Between 1984 and 1994, she coordinated a program of research and rural development in extremely impoverished peasant communities in the four regions of Mexico called the Integrated Use of Natural Resources (PAIR, acronym in Spanish). This was an intersectorial program, with the participation of the UNAM, Federal and State governments, rural organizations and the private sector, which searched for environmentally low-impact alternatives for natural resource exploitation and improvement in the standard of living.

She was a member of the Commission for Developing Countries and Global Change, which published the report For Earth’s Sake during the 1992 United Nations sponsored Conference on the Environment and Development in Brazil.

Ms. Carabias is currently a member of several consultative councils and forms part of the academic councils of various national and international organizations. She was member of the Board of Directors Leadership for Environmental and Development (LEAD INTERNATINAL) until march 2001, President of the National Steering Committee of LEAD Mexico until 2003, and member of the Scientific Committee of SCOPE between 1994 to 2000. She was member of the Board of Directors of the World Wildlife Fund until 2005, of the Board of Directors of Resources for Future until 2004, and member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in 2001 and Chair of STAP until 2004.

In February of 1994, Ms. Carabias was named as President of the National Ecology Institute, at that time a decentralized agency of the Social Development Ministry. On December first 1994, she was asked by the President of the Mexican Republic, Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, to form part of his Cabinet as the Secretary of Fisheries. The following 28th of December, the Ministry of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries was created, of which Ms. Carabias  served as titular until the end of the administration in November 2000.

She represented Mexico in global environmental fora such as UNEP, the Commission for Sustainable Development of the General Assembly of UN, the OECD Committee on Environment Policy, OAS, and to the conventions of climate change, biodiversity and desertification.

She is back to  the Faculty of Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) coordinating a the program of  Master Degree in Restoration Ecology and having her research projects related to conservation, restoration, and management of natural ecosystems in the tropical rain forest of the Selva Lacandona, in Chiapas.

She is the president of a non governmental organization call Centro Interdisciplinario de Biodiversidad y Ambiente (CEIBA) and member of the Board of Natura y Ecosistemas Mexicanos A.C.

In 2001 she received the international Getty Prize of the World Wildlife Fund; in 2004 “The International Cosmos Prize” and in 2005 “Champions of the Earth” given by UNEP.