Project's beneficiaries & coordination

Meet our transdisciplinary team

Jorge Jiménez

General Director – MarViva Foundation

Dr. Jorge Jiménez is the General Director at MarViva Foundation. Dr. Jiménez, specialist in biology and marine ecology, has developed extensive knowledge in the areas of: Marine Spatial Planning, Wetland Conservation and Biodiversity, Biodiversity Inventories, inter-institutional and multi-sectoral coordination, Information Systems Administration, and Database Development & Management. He has written over 70 peer- reviewed journal articles, 4 books and over 12 chapters in contribution to additional publications, including “Marine Spatial Planning: A Guide to Concepts and Methodological Steps”. He has acted as international speaker and Visiting Professor at institutions in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia and Europe.

Sonia Jurado

Consultant, coordinator Thermal Dome Component in the SARGADOM project – MarViva Foundation

Sonia is a lawyer with a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the University Externado de Colombia. Since 2016, she has been working in the field of international affairs, environmental multilateralism, ocean governance and sustainable development.

Sonia joined the SARGADOM project in May 2023 and currently holds the role of Project Manager. As a consultant, she works with governments, NGOs, and International Organizations to design marine conservation and management policies in the High Seas. She is passionate about achieving effective agreements that enable the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.

From 2016 to 2023, she worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, where she led the ocean international agenda and environmental affairs in regional and global scenarios. From there, she led the development of public policy for marine conservation and prioritised ocean issues in the national and international agenda.


Created in 2002, MarViva Foundation is a regional non-profit organization that contributes to spatial and marine planning, the promotion of responsible market dynamics for marine products and services, and the strengthening of institutional and local capacities to optimize the sustainable management of the sea.
From its operational offices in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, MarViva collaborates at national and regional levels, with authorities and civil society, in the advancement of information and public participation processes for the organization of human activities in the sea.
Its main objective? To promote the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP).

Sargasso Sea Commission

The Sargasso Sea Commission promotes international awareness,scientific research, and stewardship of the Sargasso Sea. Initially the Sargasso Sea Alliance, the Commission was established in 2014 with the signing of the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea, and operates as a stand-alone legal entity established by Bermudian and US law.

It is a unique institution as Commissioners are appointed primarily according to their scientific and technical expertise, and serve in their personal capacity rather than being representatives of the Signatory Governments. The Commission’s role is to act as the Steward of this iconic high seas ecosystem and to keep its health, productivity, and resilience under review, as well as to develop safeguard measures for its conservation.

David Freestone
SARGADOM Project Coordinator – Sargasso Sea Commission

Dr. David Freestone (LL.D.) is Executive Secretary of the Sargasso Sea Commission, established in 2014 pursuant to the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea, which now has ten Signatory Governments. The Secretariat is housed in the North American office of IUCN in Washington DC. From 1996-2008 he worked at the World Bank in Washington DC, first as head of the International and Environmental Law Group and from 2004-08 was Deputy General Counsel and Senior Adviser in the Office of the General Counsel. He is Visiting Scholar and Professorial Lecturer at The George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. He has written widely on the Law of the Sea and international environmental law, and is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law established in 1985.

Fae Sapsford

Communications Officer – Marine Research Fellow

Fae Sapsford is a Marine Research Fellow with the Sargasso Sea Commission. Fae supports the Commission with science communications, academic and financial tasks, and administerial activities. Her previous experience includes working for The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, The Bermudian Magazine, and BBC Wildlife in a science communications capacity. Fae has also participated in conservation research, including collecting data for a juvenile fish study with the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, and participating in the Bermuda Turtle Project. Fae has a BA in English with Creative Writing from the University of Nottingham and an MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic from the University of Cambridge, and her dissertations for both degrees were ocean-related. She has recently completed a post-graduate diploma in law.
University of Brest

The University of Western Brittany is based in Brest, France. The team involved in the project is based in the Joint Research Unit AMURE, a multidisciplinary research and training center in social and human sciences applied to the sea. AMURE is specialized in the study of public policies and institutions for management and development of coastal and maritime activities and for protection of marine and coastal ecosystems.

Denis Bailly

Professor of Economics – University of Brest

Dr. Denis Bailly is a lecturer in economics at the University of Brest; he is specialized in the fields of resource management and the marine environment. He’s the coordinator of the Ocean University Initiative which aims to create the conditions for the establishment of a United Nations University institute dedicated to the ocean and coasts, and with the means of carrying out prefiguration actions in three fields: research, training and communication.

Joëlle Richard

Capacity building officer – University of Brest

Dr. Joëlle Richard is a capacity building officer for the Ocean University Initiative at the University of Brest with a background in benthic ecology. She collaboratively creates interdisciplinary pedagogical material related to ocean governance with the aim to train present and future actors of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.

Charline Guillou

International Affairs Officer – Océanopolis

Charline Guillou is in charge of the communication of the Ocean University Initiative. Specialized in matters of communication related to the marine environment, she particularly appreciates working on the interface between science and policy with the aim of promoting more sustainable maritime activities.
Phénia Marras

Europe and International Directorate – French Biodiversity Agency (OFB)

Phénia Marras – Aït Razouk is a Marine Adviser, Project Engineering for International Cooperation at the French Biodiversity Agency. She believes that cooperation and networking are the means to challenge global issues for the oceans. She leverages expertise in project engineering for European & international cooperation between marine protected areas managers (Caribbean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean), as well as in social economy and media building capacity (Latin America, Cuba, Western Africa, Eastern France).
French Biodiversity Agency

Steering Committee

Its role is to oversee the implementation of the project and contribute to the strategic direction and development of the project.

Advisory Board

Its role is to contribute to the strategic direction and development of the project jointly with the Steering Committee. It provides the necessary scientific and technical input as required.

  • Representatives of the FFEM: Secretariat, French ministry of the Environment, French ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs
  • Representatives of the GEF: Sargasso Sea project as key co-financer: IOC UNESCO, UNDP
  • Representatives of the Advisory Board
  • Digna Barsallo, Dirección de Costas y Mares, Panama Ministry of Environment
  • Bolívar Cañizales, Head of the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Panama Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Paul Fiedler, Oceanographer, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Marine Mammal & Turtle Division, NOAA
  • Kristina Gjerde, IUCN Marine Policy Advisor, President of SSPI, High Seas Alliance
  • Lea-Anne Henry, Marine Ecologist, Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • David Johnson, Director of Seascape Consultants Ltd, former Executive secretary of OSPAR
  • Dan Laffoley, Emeritus Marine Vice Chair of IUCN’s WCPA, Advisor for SSC, on SSPI board
  • Nele Matz-Lück, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Walther Schücking Institute for International Law, University of Kiel
  • Daniel M. Palacios, Endowed Associate Professor in Whale Habitats, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Blue whale migration, Oregon State University
  • Linwood Pendleton, Marine economist, Executive Director, Ocean KAN, University of Brest (UBO)
  • Mariamalia Rodríguez Chaves, Environmental Lawyer, Lecturer and Consultant, High Seas Alliance, World Maritime University
  • François Simard, Consultant, Former head of IUCN Marine and Polar Programme
  • Viviana Tinoco Monge, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations in Geneva
  • Alice Vadrot, Political Scientist, PI of MARIPOLDATA, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna

Implementation partners

Meet our transdisciplinary team

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

Duke University

Global Fishing Watch

Imperial College of London

Neptune and Company, Inc.

NLA International Ltd

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration

University of Edinburgh


With the valuable financial support of 

French Facility for Global Environment 

French Biodiversity Agency

Global Environment Facility