GAIA operates with the support of a 12-person international Steering Committee, which is responsible for helping to develop the overall strategy and direction of the alliance while providing input on regional needs and issues. In consultation with GAIA’s members, new Steering Committee representatives are nominated and appointed from each region of the world. GAIA’s priorities are also developed at larger member gatherings, such as regional and global GAIA meetings.
Silvana Buján (Mar del Plata, Argentina)
Silvana is a journalist and president of the non-governmental organization BIOS. She is a former coordinator of the National Environmental Action Network of Argentina (RENACE), as well as a member of the Citizen’s Anti-Incinerator Coalition of Argentina, and has been working with communities for many years to stop the construction of waste incinerators, including within her own municipality. Silvana also produces and runs a radio show on environmental struggles in Latin America, which has received 5 Martin Fierro Awards. She also received an award in 2007 from the National Journalism Academy of Argentina.
Jayakumar Chelaton (Kerala, India)
Jayan is a founder of Thanal, a GAIA member organization that has initiated and sustained a highly successful zero waste project in the tourism town of Kovalam. A leading zero waste visionary from the developing world, Jayan brings to GAIA his grassroots appreciation of how society can benefit from alternative approaches to building healthy and sustainable communities. Thanal in January 2007 hosted the GAIA Waste Not Asia Meeting in Thiruvananthapuram. Jayan is also a partner of the Pesticides Action Network Asia-Pacific and the International Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Elimination Network.
Von Hernandez (Quezon City, Philippines)
Von is Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia operating from Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. He was also a founder of GAIA, co-coordinated GAIA for three years, and received the 2003 Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia for his work supporting zero waste programs and helping to achieve an incineration ban in the Philippines. His other affiliations include Waste Not Asia and the Eco-Waste coalition.
Ivaylo Hlebarov (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Ivo has worked since 2003 with Za Zemiata, and since June 2005 he has co-coordinated the waste working group of the Central and Eastern Europe Bankwatch Network. He has successfully campaigned against the construction of a hazardous waste incinerator in a highly polluted area of Bulgaria, with the support of local affected people and cooperation with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Ivo also works with Bulgarian and international NGOs on waste issues, as well as with many other environmental health NGOs in Central and Eastern European countries.
Wael Hmaidan (Beirut, Lebanon)
Wael is Executive Director of the Beirut-based IndyAct, the League of Independent Activists, where he leads a Zero Waste campaign in the Arab World and coordinates GAIA’s work in the region. He has many years of experience as an environmental activist and policy advisor for NGOs, including working as a regional Greenpeace Campaigner for three years. Wael also acts as regional advisor on network development in the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and hosts a weekly reality environmental show on the satellite news channel “Future News.” Wael has played a key role in fighting incineration in Lebanon and rallying Lebanese groups around Zero Waste.
Hemsing Hurrynag (Vacoas, Mauritius)
Hemsing is coordinator of Pesticide Action Network Mauritius (PAN-Mauritius) and adviser to the Development Indian Ocean Network. He has many years of experience working on social welfare, debt, agriculture, chemical safety and waste issues. Hemsing also has a long history of involvement with GAIA. He is currently involved in opposing the construction of a “waste to energy” project in Mauritius. He has written several articles in newspapers and works with the local groups and communities.
Anabela Lemos (Maputo, Mozambique)
Anabela is a founding member of GAIA, as well as the director of Justicia Ambiental or JA!, a group formed in 2004 to promote the cause of environmental health and justice in Mozambique. In 1998, Anabela co-founded her country’s first environmental group, which campaigned against the incineration of banned pesticides in cement kilns. In 2004, she received Mozambique’s first National Environmental Prize in recognition for her dedication and work in defense of the environment. Anabela is also a member of the Southern Africa Advisory Board of the Global Greengrants Fund.
Jeni Mackay (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Jeni is currently the Scottish Campaigns coordinator for Communities Against Toxics Scotland, working on toxics, waste and nanotechnology campaigns. She has worked with several NGOs such as Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth Scotland on European chemicals regulation, recycling, incineration and zero waste issues. Jeni has experience in activism, lobbying and campaigning on Scottish, United Kingdom and European Union policies, in addition to supporting local groups fighting new incinerator proposals. Jeni is also a director of Zero Waste Alliance UK and of Scottish Education and Action for Development (SEAD).
Ricardo Navarro (San Salvador, El Salvador)
Ricardo is founder and president of the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CESTA), the first environmental organization in his country. He is an engineer, and has also served as president of Friends of the Earth International. He received the 1995 Goldman Environmental Prize for South and Central America and the United Nations Environment Program’s Global 500 award the same year. He is also a member of the San Salvador City Council government, and is promoting a city-wide policy on zero waste.