If the Amazon rainforest are the lungs of the planet, then the Andes are its lifeblood. Andean ecosystems are exceptionally rich in unique biodiversity, cultural diversity and natural resources. As a global hotspot of agrobiodiversity, the Andes are the center of origin of key crops and highly nutritious foods that underpin ecosystems, economies and diets, with enormous investment potential for high-value markets and inclusive businesses that prioritize sustainability and diversity.

Andean ecosystems are also key in providing water to major cities in South America, and offer a unique opportunity to mitigate climate change, given the fact high-altitude Andean peatlands have excellent water retention capacity and contain the biggest soil organic carbon stocks globally. These ecosystem services are essential to Latin America and the globe, yet the Andean Region receives little reinvestment in return.

On the other hand, climate change in the Andes is literally occurring at the frontline. Not only is the incidence and intensity more pronounced compared to other ecologies, it is also occurring in a geography that hosts the greatest range of mountain biodiversity on the planet and with the highest altitudinal frontier of agriculture in the world, where climate extremes are embedded in traditional smallholder management practices. By better understanding climatic extremes experienced in the Andes and how the environment, agrobiodiversity and people adapt to them, we can be better prepared for what might happen elsewhere in the world as a result of extreme and unpredictable weather patterns.


July 23, 2020
09:00 am (Peru standard time)


Viviana Infantas
Institutional Relations Specialist, CIP


View event

Facilitate a high-profile, forward-looking online forum where influential voices and prominent experts will discuss how, in a rapidly changing global context, the different options of firmly elevating agrobiodiversity, climate resilience and healthy diets in the Andes can help to build robust food systems that are sustainable, inclusive and beneficial for both human and planetary health.

Issues to be discussed
  • Importance of the Andes region to planetary health.
  • Role that staple foods play from both a nutritional and environmental standpoint.
  • Role of the Andean agrobiodiversity in our global food supply.
  • Key challenges in the Andes and mountain environments and their implications for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Opportunities from the changing dynamics between the rural and the urban as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Has 20 years of experience in agricultural R&D with emphasis on community-level mapping of climate change impacts, agrobiodiversity, land use, food systems and human nutrition in mountain regions and vulnerable communities. Works for the International Potato Center (CIP), coordinating the Andean Initiative (https://hdl.handle.net/10568/105862). Has published more than 60 publications between science articles and books, many related to the Andes.

Ginya A Truitt Nakata is the Director of Latin America and the Caribbean where she provides programmatic oversight, leadership and strategic direction for International Potato Center’s (CIP’s) research-for-development portfolio in the region, and represents the center at a range of fora.

Truitt Nakata has more than 25 years of international development experience in agriculture and food security with organizations across the development spectrum, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Agricultural Cooperative Development International.
At TNC, Ginya was the Latin America Director of Lands where she led the development and implementation of strategies that address systemic barriers to sustainable agricultural production and their impact on habitats critical to long-term growth and the planet’s health.

With IDB she spear-headed development of a comprehensive policy paper on the potential of Latin America’s agriculture sector in addressing the global food security challenge—harnessing expertise from a wide range of fields and interests. That process catalyzed the publication of the 2014 report The Next Global Breadbasket: How Latin America Can Feed the World and the establishment of AgroLAC 2025—a multi-donor funding platform to identify and support sustainable agricultural practices and market systems in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ginya holds an MA in International Development from the American University’s School of International Service and a BA in International Management/Spanish from Gustavus Adolphus College. In 2016 she was named a New Vision for Agriculture Ambassador with the World Economic Forum, an honor extended to 20 senior representatives from around the world.

Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, CIP


Horacio brings stakeholders together to foster innovation within the Andean Initiative. He has more than 10 years of experience leading innovation platforms and knowledge-sharing initiatives across Latin America.

He joined CIP in 2019 as Senior Manager of Operations and Impact at Scale, after working at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as Climate and Food Security Coordinator for Latin America. Previously, Horacio served as Agricultural Extension Coordinator for Latin America at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and as Family Farming Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Before that, he worked as Agricultural Specialist at the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Horacio has also worked as international consultant on sustainable development at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Global Fund for Cities Development (FMDV), and the Iberic-American Union of Municipal Governments (UIM). He is adviser to the World Rural Forum (WRF), as well as member of the Mexican Network of Family Farming, and the Mexican Network of International Cooperation for Development.

Horacio holds a Master in Systems Transformation (Stanford University), a Master in International Cooperation for Development (Instituto Mora) and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering (Tec de Monterrey). He was recognized as Mexico’s Best National Agricultural Engineering Graduate in 2005 by the National Association of Engineering Schools and Faculties (ANFEI).

Senior Manager, Operations and Impact at Scale

Máximo Torero Cullen

Dr. Máximo Torero Cullen is the Chief Economist and Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Development Department (ES) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) since January 2019. Prior to joining FAO, he was the World Bank Group Executive Director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay since November 2016 and before the Bank Dr. Torero led the Division of the Markets, Trade, and Institutions at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). His major research work lies mostly in analyzing poverty, inequality, importance of geography and assets (private or public) in explaining poverty, and in policies oriented towards poverty alleviation based on the role played by infrastructure, institutions, and on how technological breakthroughs (or discontinuities) can improve the welfare of households and small farmers. His experience encompasses Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.

Dr. Torero, a national of Peru, holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of the Pacific, Lima, Peru. He is a professor on leave at the University of the Pacific (Perú) and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at University of Bonn, Germany and has also published in top journals (QJE, Econometric Theory, AER-Applied Microeconomics, RSTAT, Labor Economics and many other top journals).

Dr. Torero has received in 2000 the Georg Foster Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, won the Award for Outstanding Research on Development given by The Global Development Network, twice, in 2000 and in 2002 and received the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole in 2014.

 Chief Economist and Assistant Director General, FAO


Roger Thurow joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy in January 2010 after three decades at The Wall Street Journal.   For 20 years, he served as a Journal foreign correspondent, based in Europe and Africa.  His coverage of global affairs spanned the final years of the Cold War, the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany, the release of Nelson Mandela, the end of apartheid, the wars in the former Yugoslavia and the humanitarian crises of the first decade of this century – along with 10 Olympic Games.

In 2003, he and Journal colleague Scott Kilman wrote a series of stories on famine in Africa that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting.  Their reporting on humanitarian and development issues was also honored by the United Nations.  Thurow and Kilman are authors of the book, ENOUGH: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty.  In 2009, they were awarded Action Against Hunger’s Humanitarian Award.

In May 2012, Thurow published his second book, The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change.  His third book, The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children – And the World, was published in May 2016.

Senior Fellow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs


Elizabeth Jiménez Zamora is currently a professor and the academic coordinator of the Masters Program in Development Economics at CIDES – UMSA, the Graduate Center for Interdisciplinary Research that is part of Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, Bolivia. As coordinator, she is in charge of organizing the academic program, selecting the students, and in charge of the thesis’s seminaries. Her activities at CIDES – UMSA also involve lecturing for the MA and Ph.D programs offered by CIDES, supervising theses, and participating in research projects. Currently, she is Coordinator and Senior Researcher for a project aimed at studying the process of feminization and agricultural transformation among quinoa producers in the Southern Bolivian Highlands. This research is part of the R4D research projects financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and led by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Elizabeth Jiménez Zamora has also been Coordinator of the South America regional office JACS-SAM NCCR North South (a National Centre of Competence in Research) funded by the SNSF and SDC, and Co-Investigator and Research Coordinator in Bolivia of the SANREM CRSP project ‘Adapting to Change in Vulnerable Ecosystems in the Andes’ funded by NSF and led by the Department of Applied Economics of the University of Missouri, USA.

Scientist at CIDES-UMSA & Science Leadership Council MRI

Luis Germán Naranjo

Luis Germán Naranjo is a Colombian naturalist with more than 40 years of experience. Originally trained as a Marine Biologist, he holds a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Ecology from New Mexico State University and has worked in a wide range of ecological settings. Dr. Naranjo was a Professor and researcher at the Valle University in Cali, Colombia for 17 years. Between 1999 and 2001, he was Director of International Programs for the American Bird Conservancy. Between 2001 and 2006, he worked as Ecoregional Coordinator for the Northern Andes for WWF, and was in charge of implementing an action plan for a conservation portfolio in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Northern Peru. He currently works as Conservation and Governance Director for WWF Colombia, where he oversees the design and implementation of conservation projects dealing with forest, freshwater, and marine ecosystems and species.

Conservation & Governance Director
World Wildlife Fund Colombia (WWF)


Has 20 years of experience in agricultural R&D with emphasis on community-level mapping of climate change impacts, agrobiodiversity, land use, food systems and human nutrition in mountain regions and vulnerable communities. Works for the International Potato Center (CIP), coordinating the Andean Initiative (https://hdl.handle.net/10568/105862). Has published more than 60 publications between science articles and books, many related to the Andes.

Coordinates CIP’s new Andean Initiative with emphasis on climate action, food systems, agrobiodiversity and inclusive value chains. Stef’s current areas of research include seed systems, farmer agrobiodiversity use, food and nutrition security, food system transitions. He previously worked with the Dutch development cooperation (1998-2002) in the Andean region, International Potato Center (2002-2015) in Peru, and International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Vietnam (2015-2019).

Holds a PhD in Biosystematics and MSc. in Agroecology from Wageningen University, as well as a BSc. in Agronomy. Stef is a Dutch national and is currently based in Peru.

Andean Initiative Coordinator