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Viguera, Bárbara

Bárbara is a researcher and climate change adaptation specialist at EfD-CA. She has an academic background in natural sciences and over ten years of work experience in socioeconomic and environmental issues, mainly in Central America.

Bárbara has been devoted to development-oriented research, project management, and transference toward socio-ecosystem resilience in response to multiple needs and priorities. Her experience includes the conduction of climate change adaptation and risk assessment, the estimation of ecosystem services flows, the development of participatory studies in environmental economics, natural and social sciences, the leadership of rural development initiatives, the execution of tools for decision-making, and the implementation of capacity-building processes with a wide range of stakeholders in Central America, the Caribbean, and Spain.

She has collaborated with national climate actions and initiatives such as NAMAs for the agricultural sector, accompanied decision-making processes in several countries in the region, and provided technical advice in Nature-based Solutions, among others. The resilience of ecosystems in response to climate change and other anthropogenic pressures, social-ecological interactions, multidimensional challenges toward conservation in both natural and anthropogenic pressures, social-ecological interactions, multidimensional challenges toward conservation, landscape optimization for the provision of ecosystem services drivers, and decision-making at different levels are among her current research interest. 

Research interests

Barbara's research interests focus on the following themes:

  • Ecosystem services 
  • Social-ecological interactions
  • Spatial planning
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Participatory approaches


Barbara has mentored students since 2018, as a secondary supervisor. 

At the same time, between 2019 and 2021, she was a lecturer at the National University of Costa Rica (UNA), for the course Climate Change and Ecological Agriculture, which was part of the master's program in Ecologic Agriculture. 

Barbara has also been a reviewer of scientific journals such as Conservation Letter, Land Degradation & Development, Journal of Sustainability Science and Management, and Environmental and Sustainability Indicators. 

Grants and consultancy

Barbara has experience working in consultancies for institutions such as FAO, IUCN, EUROCLIMA+ Programme, the International Climate Initiative (IKI-BMU) by GIZ, the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) of the United States Department of State, and the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI), among others. 

Regarding the grants, Barbara has received the following fellowships:

  • 2020 GROW Summer School, Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate: Sustainable production, fragile ecosystem, and resilience to global changes. Mountain Partnership Secretariat (FAO), Sapienza University of Rome, and Bioversity International. 
  • 2015 FAO Mountain Partnership Fellowship
  • 2013 COST Action: FP1206, Training School. European Cooperation in Science and Technology, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 2012 International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Fellowship
  • 2011 Mobility Aid for Researchers and Master Students. Ministry of Education and Culture of Spain.
  • 2008 Sigue-Seneca Mobility Exchange Program 2008-2009

Policy Engagement

Through her participation in research and development projects, Barbara has worked directly with environmental and agricultural authorities in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and other countries in the region. At the same time, she has worked with local governments and other key stakeholders such as donors and international agencies. 

Some examples of policy engagement in the Latin American region include the establishment of an Agricultural Extension Training Curriculum of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) and Disaster Risk Management in Belize, with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development of Belize (MAFFESDI) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), or the development of a Thematic Week (Training and Policy Forum) on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in Honduras, aiming the Institute of Forest Conservation of Honduras (ICF), the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras (SAG), the Secretary of Development and Social Inclusion (SEDIS).

In Costa Rica, Barbara has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (MIDEPLAN), the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), and the National Forestry Financing Fund (Fonafifo), among others, responding to national needs and even producing joint publications of national interest. 

Currently, Barbara is CATIE's focal point at the Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Committee of UNESCO.

People | 5 September 2014