María Pía Hernández Palacios is a lawyer specializing in international environmental law at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.
She worked as a regional program manager at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s regional office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, mainly developing strategic coordination and alliances with key stakeholders at national, regional and international levels. She has also worked as a supervisor for the implementation of programs on biodiversity conservation, climate change, landscape restoration, risk reduction and the promotion of the rights approach of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in conservation and the sustainable management of natural resources. She was a coordinator of the regional interdisciplinary team that developed the map of Indigenous Peoples, protected areas and natural ecosystems of Central America from 2014 to 2016. Since March 2023, she has been acting as regional manager at the Territorial Mesoamerican Fund, which is an alternative financial mechanism that serves as a “vehicle” to facilitate territorial investment, designed by the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests to benefit Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and local communities in areas of natural and cultural heritage importance in Mesoamerica. Despite being a recent three-year initiative, the Fund has already allocated more than USD 2 million for small and medium-sized donations implemented by Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Mesoamerica.