CMS Office - Abu Dhabi: New staff on board


Abu Dhabi, April 2022 - Spring has visited the CMS office - Abu Dhabi with several staffing changes. In April 2022, the CMS office - Abu Dhabi hired four new staff members to support its Dugong MOU and Raptors MOU and conserve these migratory species. Learn more about the background and experience of the Office’s new staff in this article.

Rouba Abou-Atieh joins the CMS Office - Abu Dhabi as the new Executive Coordinator, replacing the retiring Lyle Glowka, who led the office for nine years. She joins the Office with over seventeen years of experience, graduating from Said Business School, University of Oxford with a Postgraduate Diploma in Organizational Leadership. Rouba joins the CMS office - Abu Dhabi from her most recent role as the Regional Environmental and Climate Change Practice Lead and Technical Director for an international consultancy company. Her extensive experience in supporting international financial institutions, governments, and the private sector on high-profile projects and policy development, identifying and managing their environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, will lead the Office - Abu Dhabi to a new level.

Gabriel Grimsditch joins as the Dugong MoU Programme Management Officer (Dugongs) and the Project Director for the IKI Seagrass Ecosystem Services Project. With a MSc degree in Environmental Conservation from the University College London, and a sincere passion for the ocean, he has spent the last 18 years working on the science-management-policy interface of coastal ecosystems. Gabriel joins CMS from UNEP (Nairobi), where he led UNEP’s global work on coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass and blue carbon. His career has included working also for IUCN and CORDIO East Africa. With his field and project management experience across many regions, Gabriel will lead the Dugong MOU Secretariat.

Yasmeen Tel Wala joins the Office as IKI Seagrass Ecosystem Services Project Manager. She holds a PhD degree in climate change and its impact on biodiversity for Sikkim Himalaya, and research on benefit sharing mechanism of REDD+ for her postdoctoral with United Nations University, Japan. With working experience in various capacities at the United Nations University, UNCCD, and FAO, she has supported countries in developing policies and projects focusing on multiple benefits such as climate change, biodiversity conservation, and carbon sequestration using community-based approaches. Yasmeen has also developed projects with countries on land degradation including for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Gabriel and Yasmeen join our colleague Philippa Loates who has been doing a fantastic job as Interim Dugong MoU Coordinator and IKI Seagrass Ecosystem Services Project Manager. Philippa holds a MSc in Geography from University of Manchester and a MSc degree in Near and Middle Eastern Politics from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has spent over 20 years managing international project portfolios, fundraising and  developing communications. She has worked with the CMS Dugong MOU in various capacities since 2015 and supported the launch of the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project and the IKI Seagrass Ecosystem Services Project.

Lauren Lopes joins the team as Associate Programme Management Officer. She holds a BSc degree in Biology and a MSc degree in Global Change Ecology. Prior to joining the Office, she worked for the CITES Secretariat managing an international project on marine turtle trade and supporting the implementation of the Convention for marine and terrestrial species. She has since worked with fisheries and environmental legislation, assessing countries’ legal compliance with multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) requirements. Prior to joining CMS, Lauren also dealt with EU marine and fisheries policies, and worked in Mozambique analyzing national park buffer-zone baseline data and supporting the creation of strategic plans.

This diverse, talented, and entrepreneurial team, which now joins Umberto Gallo-Orsi (Programme Management Officer - Raptors) and Rima Almubarak (Administrative & Finance Assistant), will lead in taking innovative steps to promote and implement conservation activities for dugongs, and African-Eurasian raptors and other migratory species of regional importance.

Last updated on 17 June 2022