Since 2006, Mr. Fernando Casas is Co-Chair of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, the body that was mandated to negotiate an international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The regime is to be concluded by 2010.
In 1990, Mr. Casas was named Special Advisor for Environmental Affairs to the Minister of Foreign Relations and acted on behalf of the Government of Colombia in the following 18 years as a negotiator for various processes and international fora, such as the UNCED, the Andean Law (Decision 391/96), the Regional Biodiversity Strategy of the Tropical Andean Countries, the Free Trade Agreement between the governments of Colombia and the United States, as well as the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, the United Nations Forum on Forest; and the FAO Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources.
Mr. Casas was a member of the delegation of Colombia to relevant meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Biosafety Protocol. He was also a member of the Bureau to the CBD (1995-1996; 2002-2004) and of the Bureau to the Biosafety Cartagena Protocol (2002-2004) representing the Latin America and the Caribbean region.
From 1979 to 1990, Mr. Casas served both as a professor and researcher of the Interdisciplinary Center for Regional Studies (CIDER) and was the general coordinator of the Program for Environment and Development Studies of the University of Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.
For more than 25 years, he has been part of numerous research and consulting projects both in Colombia and in the other four countries members of the Andean Community. He also has been teaching at the Universidad de Los Andes, the Smithsonian Tropical Institute and the McGill University, and the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Relations Ministry of Colombia, as well as at Universidad Internacional de Andalucía in Spain.
Currently, Mr. Casas is a senior advisor of the General Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for international affairs. He is also the president of “Corporacion Educativa Los Alcaparros”, a non profit organization since 1990.
Mr. Casas holds a B.S. in Administration and Economics as well as a M.A. in Environmental Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds a PhD in development and the environment from the same University.