Juan Mayr Maldonado, former Colombian Minister for the Environment, has dedicated his life to the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity as the mainstay for cultural diversity, sustainable livelihoods and good governance. A professional photographer, he immersed himself in environmental issues and protecting the ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, on Colombia’s northern coast, in the 1970s. His experience in both government and non-government sectors includes key roles such as Minister for the Environment (1998-2002) and IUCN Vice-President (1993-96). He has presided over major conferences and negotiations on environment and sustainable development, including sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Biosafety Protocol negotiations. As a member of the National Conciliation Commission and advisor to the UNDP (Colombia), he has consistently promoted ecological and social justice as core elements for a sustainable path towards peace and reconciliation. He recently served as Colombian Ambassador to Germany (2011-16), and is currently part of the government team negotiating for a peaceful settlement with the ELN (Ejercito de Liberación Nacional).