In recent years María has contributed to the implementation of the Convention in the Neotropics, both in her position as Technical Officer at CREHO, the Ramsar regional initiative office in Panamá, and before that in her work at the Ministry of the Environment in Colombia. María received a Bachelors degree in Biology and Chemistry from the Universidad Libre de Colombia, and a Masters in Natural Resources Management from the Ezequiel Zamora National University, Venezuela. She has also both organized and participated in courses in wetland management, notably at the RIZA Institute for Inland Water Management in the Netherlands, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Ducks Unlimited. María has served as a member of the Wetlands Synthesis group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and since 2006 has been the member for the Neotropics of Ramsar's STRP. She joined the Secretariat in 2007.