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Paola Zavala

Senior Program Cycle Specialist, Latin America & Caribbean

Areas of Expertise

  • Financial mechanisms for conservation

Education & Certifications

  • M.B.A., Valladolid
  • M.Sc. in Environmental Audit and Management, University of León
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Paola is a Senior Program Cycle Specialist at Environmental Incentives overseeing and leading work in Colombia for two USAID-funded contracts, Measuring Impact II (MI2) and the Latin America and Caribbean Environment Support Services Contract (LAC ESSC). She brings over 30 years of international project development experience in environment programs in Latin America.

Paola also serves as the Natural Resource and Climate Change Program Coordinator for Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano—a local Ecuadorian NGO—working in the region and globally on biodiversity conservation and climate change activities. She has served as a Water Fund Specialist, providing technical guidance to local governments and stakeholders in the establishment of source-water protection mechanisms—Water Funds—in Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Bolivia. Prior to that, she served as a Project Development Specialist and Mission Environment Officer for USAID/Ecuador for 25 years, where she led the design and implementation of biodiversity conservation, watershed protection, disaster preparedness and response, and climate change programs.

Paola believes sustainable development is feasible through capacity building of local organizations and stakeholders. She’s passionate about replicating the Water Fund model which has an integrated approach toward protecting ecosystem services while promoting a good governance platform. She hopes EI can play a key role in enhancing local capacities to support environmental sustainability in Latin America and globally.

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