Gamez-Lobo, Rodrigo

Gamez-Lobo, Rodrigo (Rodrigo Gamez-Lobo, Costa Rica)

President, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)
The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity 2012 Prize Winner

Dr. Rodrigo Gámez-Lobo (b. 1936) holds a PhD in Plant Virology from the University of Illinois (1966) and was a research professor at the University of Costa Rica for over three decades (1958- 1990), where he also held numerous administrative positions, including Head of the School of Plant Sciences, Vice-Rector for Research, and Director of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Research Center. During the course of his scientific career, he worked and published extensively on viruses of basic food crops in Central America, insect transmission of plant viruses and molecular characterization of those viruses. He was also active on numerous national and international boards and institutional committees of organizations such as Costa Rica's National Research Council, the Organization for Tropical Studies and the American Phytopathological Society-Caribbean Division. He is currently a member of the Costa Rican National Academy of Sciences and is also associated to several local educational and sustainable development foundations..

As Biodiversity Advisor to President Oscar Arias (1986-1990), Dr. Gámez ran the process that led to the establishment of the National System of Conservation Areas within the first Ministry of Natural Resources (presently the Ministry of the Environment), and to the creation of the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio), as a private, non-profit, public interest organization. He served as General Director (1989-2003) and has been President of the Board of INBio since the institution's foundation in 1989. This organization has rapidly consolidated as a leading institution in the generation, management and transfer of biodiversity information, and became to be well known as a worldwide model of the institute for biodiversity research. INBio was founded as a NGO, and has worked in close coordination and collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment. The objectives of the organizations are to conduct an inventory of Costa Rica´s biodiversity, organize and process the information, and promote the flow of this information nationally and internationally. Its activities include the Inventorying and Monitoring, Education and Bioliteracy, Bioprospecting, Policy and Legislation, Land use management and Technical Assitance and Capacity Building. According to its great contributions, INBio has received numerous national and international recognitions and awards.

Dr. Gámez has been also associated with numerous national and international initiatives in biodiversity conservation. He made significant contribution in making "Global Biodiversity Strategy" (WRI, IUCN, UNEP, 1992). As a Costa Rican Government delegate, he was active in the formulation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and served on a number of UNEP biodiversity-related advisory committees. He also coordinated the National Biodiversity Advisory Board of the Ministry of the Environment (1994-1998) that played a fundamental role in the formulation of the Costa Rican National Biodiversity Law and the National Biodiversity Strategy. Dr. Gámez has written and lectured extensively (1990-2012) on Costa Rica's pioneering efforts in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.