The Nature Conservancy Welcomes New Director of Food Security

Ricardo Sánchez López will coordinate the Latin America Conservation Council’s efforts to make food production more sustainable across Latin America

Bogotá, Colombia | January 28, 2013

The Nature Conservancy has announced the hiring of Mr. Ricardo Sánchez López as its new Director of Sustainable Food Security. In this role, Sánchez will coordinate the efforts of the Latin America Conservation Council on this issue, one of three priority issues the Council has elected to focus on.

 “There is a real commitment by the Council to make a difference on issues that matter to the people and biodiversity of Latin America,” said Council Co-Chair and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. “We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Sánchez to the team of professionals implementing the Council’s vision, as we move forward to address food security by testing and bringing science-based solutions to decision-makers around the Region.”

The Latin America Conservation Council (LACC) is a group of 35 business and political leaders from Latin America and other parts of the world, working in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental organization, to promote Latin America’s sustainable future. The Council supports the development of innovative, pragmatic and scalable solutions to three of the region’s greatest challenges: water security, sustainable food security, and smart infrastructure.
The Council’s sustainable food security activities focus on bringing together a wide array of stakeholders —small- and large-scale producers, companies, research institutes, non-profits, financial institutions and governments— to simultaneously intensify production and discourage habitat conversion. Council actions promote the protection of key landscapes and seascapes through actions like greening supply chain management, models of sustainable grazing, farming and fisheries, and policy and incentive reform. Such models are already being used in several Latin American countries, and specific pilot projects are being implemented in Pará and Mato Grosso states in Brazil, the Llanos grasslands in Colombia, and Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

For the past two years, Mr. Sánchez López served as Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia, leading a very demanding, broad and innovative agenda. Prior to this assignment, from 2004 to 2010, he worked as Secretary General to the National Farmers’ Association of Colombia, one of the country’s most influential and internationally acclaimed producers’ associations. As Director of Agricultural Policy at the Ministry of Agriculture —from 2002 to 2004— he coordinated policy strategies in crucial Colombian sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, cattle and forestry, which resulted in the promotion of a law aimed at a better use of agricultural land for long-term crops like cocoa, palm oil, fruits, forestry and rubber. 

Born in Colombia, Ricardo holds a BA in Economics from the University of the Andes, with a minor in regional development and sustainable agriculture, and an MSc degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of London. He has worked on several studies linking trade and environment issues in Colombia’s agricultural and textile sectors, among other topics. 

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.


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