Ms. Inger Andersen was appointed Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in January 2015.
Ms Andersen has more than 30 years of experience in international development economics, environmental sustainability and policy-making, as well as in designing and implementing projects and generating on-the-ground impact.
Prior to joining IUCN, Ms Andersen held various leadership roles at the World Bank where she worked for 15 years, and served as Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa and, previous to that, as Vice President for Sustainable Development. Previous to the World Bank, Ms. Andersen worked at the United Nations for 15 years, starting in the UN Sudano-Sahelian Office working on drought and desertification issues, and was then appointed Coordinator for the Global Environment Facility for UNDP’s Arab Region.
Ms Andersen’s educational background includes a BA from London Metropolitan University North and a MA degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London with specialisation in development economics.
General Director of the French Biodiversity Agency
Christophe Aubel initially trained as a teacher and started at a young age working as a volunteer for environmental-protection groups. In 2001, he was appointed Director of the Humanité et Biodiversité non-profit presided by Hubert Reeves. At that time, he was also on the Board of the France Nature Environnement non-profit, in charge of its Biodiversity section, and served as Vice-president of the French committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In February 2016, he was appointed by the Ecology minister as the Director of the French Biodiversity Agency in charge of managing the founding of the agency. Then on 1 January 2017, he became the General Director of the agency when it began operations.
Paul Arnould is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the « Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon ». He was Vice-President, then President of the National Council of Universities, for the "Physical, Human, Economic and Regional Geography" section from 2000 to 2007, and Director of the "Environment, City, Society" research Unit at the University of Lyon – CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), from 2007 to 2010.
He was also Secretary General of the French National Geography Committee, from 2000 to 2008, Scientific Delegate of the Agency for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (AERES) for Geography, from 2010 to 2014 and Vice-President of the French Forest History Group (GHFF) from 1983 to 2010.
He currently chairs the Scientific Council of the Versailles' National School of Landscape, the National Steering Committee to label "Forests of Exception" and the Scientific Committee for the inscription of the Forest of Fontainebleau as a World Heritage Site Unesco. He is a member of the National Forest Office's Scientific Counci andof the Ile-de-France 's Regional Mission of Environmental Authority (MRAe).
A specialist in forests and environment, he also works on urban nature, biodiversity, multifunctionality and sustainable development.
He has coordinated many publications and published "Au plaisir des forêts" (Fayard, 2014), "Géographie de l'environnement" with Laurent Simon (Belin, 2007), reissued in 2018 under the title "Géographie des environnements ". He is also co-author of "Le Juste Jardin" (ENS Editions, 2012) and "Géographies de Tintin", (CNRS Editions 2018).
Yildiz Aumeeruddy-Thomas is Director of Research and Head of the Biocultural Interactions team at the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology (CNRS). She is Co-Director of the CNRS program on biodiversity in the Mediterranean region (BioDivMex) and is a Lead Author of the Global Assessment of IPBES. She worked as an ethnoecologist over the last 30 years on human-nature interactions, especially how local and indigenous knowledge shape anthropogenic landscapes. After her thesis in Sumatra (Indonesia), she was the Coordinator for the WWF-UNESCO People and Plants Initiative (Himalayas) of a program including field sites and capacity building in applied ethnobotany for improving plant conservation (Nepal, India, China, Pakistan and Bhutan). Since 2006, her research has focused in the Mediterranean basin, with a range of case studies (Morocco, Sicily, France), focusing on tree components within agroecosystems, their domestication and diversification within the context of interdisciplinary collaborations with archeobotanists, geneticists, linguists and ecologists.
Monique Barbut, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), has over 30 years of experience in sustainable development, international diplomacy, governance and finance. From 2006 to 2012, she was the Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Vice President at the World Bank. Prior to that she was a Director at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), preceding which she oversaw diverse functions in the French international development system, ranging from aid evaluation to serving as Executive Director of Agence Française de Dévéloppement. She played a key role in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit finance negotiations and the GEF’s creation thereafter.
Gilles Boeuf is professor at the University Pierre et Marie Curie/Sorbonne University (UPMC) where he carries out his research within the research team « Integrative biology of marine organisms » at the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls (OOB), in the Pyreneans, on the Mediterranean Sea. He spent 20 years at the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) in Brest, then he was director of OOB, the Arago Laboratory (UPMC and French National Center for Scientific Research “CNRS”). In Banyuls-sur-mer he was director for 6 years of the Observatory of the sciences of the Universe, and director of the research team «Models in cell and evolutionary biology» for 4 years. From 2009 to 2015 he was chairman of the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) in Paris. He was also invited to teach «Sustainable Development, energy, environment and society» at the Collège de France for the academic year 2013-2014, devoting his lessons to the subject of « Biodiversity and its interrelationship with humankind ».
In 2015-2017, he was scientific advisor for life and wildlife sciences, climate and ocean for Ségolène Royal, minister of environment, energy and sea (MEEM) and scientific advisor for the chairman of MNHN. Presently, he is chairman of the national centre for forest entomology (“National Office of forests”), member of the Scientific Council of CIRAD, Centre of international cooperation in agronomic research for the development (Centre de coopération internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement), member of the Committee for Improvement of the Scientific Centre of Monaco (Comité de Perfectionnement du Centre Scientifique de Monaco), member of the bureau of IPBES, International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecological Services of United Nations. In 2013 he received the Albert 1st great medal for his career, devoted to the sea and the ocean. Presently he is the chairman of the Scientific Board of the French Agency for Biodiversity.
GB is a specialist in marine and terrestrialbiodiversity and environmental physiology. He also devoted much of his work to the biological bases of aquaculture. He is the author of more than 400 scientific articles(more than 150 being A-rated, h-index at 39 with more than 4 000 citations), scientific popularisation, book chapters, lectures and he is often invited in France and abroad. He took part to more than 140 missions abroad in more than 100 countries in the world. He participates to many lectures, either public or devoted to community staff, institutions and firms on various subjects: ocean life, living resources, the role of water in life, and biodiversity.He was deeply involved in the organization of COP21. He often appears on radio and TV and holds many conferences (more than 100 every year) in many countries.
Jessica Brown is Executive Director of the New England Biolabs Foundation, a private, US-based foundation, whose mission is to foster stewardship of landscapes and seascapes and the biocultural diversity found in these places. She has three decades of experience with community-based conservation globally, having worked in countries of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, Andean South America, Central Europe and the Balkans. Jessica chairs the Protected Landscapes Specialist Group of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas and serves on the boards of several NGOs, including International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, New England International Donors, and Terralingua. Recent consulting assignments include the UNDP/Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (SGP). Jessica has published widely on topics related to protected areas governance, community engagement, and stewardship of biocultural landscapes. She is an associate member of the Graduate Faculty of Rutgers University in its Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies program, and holds degrees from Clark University and Brown University.
Former French Minister Delegate for Development, Pascal Canfin is Director General of WWF France. He is also member of the European Commission's High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.
A graduate of Political Science at Newcastle University, Pascal Canfin began his career as a journalist with Alternatives Economiques, where he specialized in corporate social responsibility, before being elected to the European Parliament. In the European Parliament from June
2009 to May 2012, then from May to July 2014, he negotiated several legislative projects on financial reform.
In May 2012, Pascal Canfin was appointed as Minister Delegate for Development in the French government.
As Minister for Development, he intends to "make sustainability an imperative for French development policy". To do so, he changes the policies of project financing of the French Development Agency and gives strongly supports the development of the first parliamentary bill which will focuses on on development and international solidarity.
During the Cop 21's preparations, Pascal Canfin was the Senior Climate Advisor for the World Resources Institute (WRI) and co-chaired the Commission for Innovative Climate Finance set up by the President of the Republic of France.
Graduated in biology and environnemental law, Bernard Cressens began his professional carreer in agriculture. He founded the Conservatoire d'Espaces Naturels (Natural Areas Conservation Society) of Isère, a French Department of the Alpine Region, that he has managed for 12 years. He worked as a consultant in New Caledonia for the North Province and in French Polynesia on environmental projets.
WWF France recruited him for his office in French Guyana and then at its national headquarters as Director of conservation programmes. He is a municipal councillor, an administrator of several environnemental NGOs, and the president of the Marine Natural Park of the « Glorieuses » islands (French territory in the Indian ocean).
The Council of the IUCN French Committee, that brings together 8 publics bodies, 42 NGOs and 2 ministries , has elected him as Chair since the 9 April 2014.
Dr. Helen Crowley is the Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation. In this role, she supports Kering Luxury brands with innovative approaches to sustainable sourcing of raw materials and improved manufacturing processes.
Prior to Kering, Helen worked with Wildlife Conservation Society for 12 years and has a background in field-based conservation and development projects including a focus on market-based approaches to conservation and corporate-NGO partnerships. Prior to WCS, Helen was a consultant to several US-based corporations working on implementation of sustainability strategies.
Helen has PhD in Ecology from the Australian National University and is on the boards of Textile Exchange Europe, Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network and IUCN US.
Chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs, Kering
Marie-Claire Daveu was appointed Kering's chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs in 2012.
She is responsible for the continued development of Kering's sustainability strategy and the direction of the Group's institutional affairs.
She joined the company from the public sector where she served as chief of staff to French politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, within the Ministry of Ecology and other areas from 2007 to 2012. Prior to that, Ms Daveu was senior director of sustainable development at Sanofi-Aventis Group in 2005. She was previously technical adviser to the cabinet of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and principal private secretary to Serge Lepeltier, Minister of Ecology and Sustainability.
A French national, she is a graduate of the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Studies (École Nationale du Génie Rural et des Eaux et Forêts). She also earned a Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées (diploma of specialised higher studies) in public administration from Dauphine University, Paris.
Photography : © Jean-François Robert / modd
Marc Dimanche is an engineer by training and started as professor of agronomy in Algeria at the end of the 1970s. He was development engineer in the Southern Alps in the 1980s, before managing for 22 years the research and development department on pastoralism in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. He is director of the Centre for Studies and Development on Pastoralism of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region since 2012. He held thereby all his career in the Mediterranean Region, and more particularly on Mediterranean and Mountain’s pastoralism conservation issues, so on the agricultural and environmental policy-making towards pastoralism, and finally on the valorisation of ecosystem services provided by pastoral breeding systems. He has held a few Research and Development networks (French Firebreaks Network, Interreg SUDOE project on prescribed fires for Mediterranean matorrals management), and he also participated to the engineering of the proposal for World Heritage inscription of the Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape of the Causses and the Cévennes.
Lazare Eloundou Assomo is the current Deputy Director of the Division for Heritage and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. He is trained as an architect conservator and town-planner specialized in earthen architecture and cultural heritage. Before October 2016, he was UNESCO Head of Office and Representative in Mali and main responsible for coordinating UNESCO’s actions to rehabilitate Mali’s cultural heritage and ancient manuscripts damaged by the 2012 armed conflict. It is in this capacity that he has successfully coordinated the rapid reconstruction of the destroyed mausoleums in Timbuktu by violent extremist groups, in close cooperation with MINUSMA, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. Among his major actions in favor of the protection of Malian cultural heritage, are the fundraising of 4 million dollars to implement the UNESCO-Mali Action Plan, the realization of a Heritage Passport of North Mali, the leading of the first UNESCO assessment mission in Timbuktu in June 2013. Before being posted in Mali, Lazare Eloundou Assomo was the Chief of Unit for Africa at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, where he was in charge of coordinating cooperation between UNESCO and African Member States for all issues related to World Heritage. He particularly conducted several major conservation projects in Mozambique, Uganda and Benin, and designed the World Heritage Earthen Architecture Program. He was also one of the key players for the establishment of the African World Heritage Fund, now a UNESCO Category 2 Centre. He is the author of the book “African World Heritage, a remarkable diversity” published by UNESCO in 2012, and has written numerous articles on the conservation of World Heritage in Africa.
Born in a nomadic area, in the northern part of Niger, Mohamed EWANGAYE DIDANE, grew up in the pure tradition of nomadism and went to a nomadic school perfectly integrated in the pastoral environment. He very young, he acquired the essential values of nomadism and all the philosophy that defines it. This nomadic child has followed a school and university curriculum that has never cut him off from his roots. Later, his career was dictated by the political circumstances that characterize the political life of Tuaregs in the Sahel and the Sahara. From militant life, he has embraced a career as a researcher in anthropology and history, to scientifically advocate for pastoralism as conservation of nature and environment in terms of management land management and adaptation to climate change for millennia.
Engineer at Bouches-du-Rhone Chamber of Agriculture and representing sheep transhumant breeders, he participated in the creation and management of the National Nature Reserve of coussouls de Crau, the only French reserve managed by environmental and breeding actors. He is currently the Head of "La Maison de la Transhumance", a center of interpretation of Mediterranean pastoral cultures (Salon de Provence, France). He is the author of many books and articles and designers of several traveling exhibitions and interpretation tools (discovery trails, educational trunks, resource center ...) around the profession of shepherd and transhumance. He recently conducted an important photographic and ethnographic campaign titled "Herders, Landscapes, Pastoralism in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur".
Magdalene Setia Kaitei is a representative of the Maasai people, a pastoral community of around 800,000 individuals living in the regions of Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia and Samburu, in Kenya. She is the Executive Director of the Emayian Integrated Development Organization, which fights for the improvement of the life conditions of the Maasai, for the protection of natural resources and of forests menaced by land grabbing and farm exploitation, as well as against change in the department of Kajiado. Magdalene worked with the Maasai community for fifteen years, focusing on issues related to development and social injustice. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians.
Dominique Lang is a doctoral student in molecular biology, with a graduate degree in fundamental theology. He is a journalist for Bayard group (La Croix and currently Pèlerin magazine), and is a member of the editorial board of the monthly Terre Sauvage magazine.
He also acts as webmaster for the French language "Churches and ecologies" blog.
Joseph King received a degree in Architecture from the University of Maryland (1983) and a Master of City Planning and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania (1995). He also attended the Architectural Conservation Course at ICCROM (1991).
Since 2004, he is the Unit Director of the Sites Unit at ICCROM, responsible for capacity building programmes for the conservation of immovable cultural heritage around the world. He also leads a team of professionals in all aspects of ICCROM’s role as an Advisory Body to the World Heritage Committee. Previously at ICCROM, he was a Senior Project Manager working on the AFRICA 2009 programme, a long-term regional programme for the conservation of immovable cultural heritage in Sub-Saharan Africa. He was also involved in the development of the first Integrated Territorial and Urban Conservation course and the development and implementation of courses related to the conservation of stone, wood, and modern architecture.
Before joining ICCROM, he worked as a consultant to UNESCO on a project to write a conservation plan for the Old Town of Mombasa in Kenya. He has also worked on projects related to urban planning and conservation in the United States and Italy.
From 1999 – 2002 he served as Secretary-General of the ICOMOS International Training Committee.
Raphaël Larrère, an agronomist and a sociologist, has been Research Director at The National Institute of Agronomical Research. He is now retired. After having studied the uses and representations of forests, he turned himself toward Environmental Ethics –both respect of nature and responsibility for technical interventions. He is currently in charge of an editorial collection named Sciences en questions (Quae publishers).
After a first career in the banking and asset management industry, Marie-Laure Lavenir decided to develop her career in the management of non-profit organizations and in fundraising in 2008 as a new legal framework was offering new perspectives for charity fundraising in France.
She has been Secretary General of one of the first University Foundations created in France in 2011 and worked, as a consultant, for major French cultural institutions such as Louvre, INHA (National Institute for Art History) or Orchestre de Chambre de Paris.
Since 2014, she is Director General of ICOMOS, a unique non-governmental, not for profit international organization, committed to furthering the conservation, protection, and enhancement of the world’s cultural heritage. As Director general, her mission is to develop ICOMOS network and presence over the world and strengthen ICOMOS evaluation and advisory activities as official advisory body to the World heritage Committee for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
Marie-Laure graduated from HEC Paris and from IEP. She lives in Paris.
Thomas E. Lovejoy is a conservation biologist who has worked in the Amazon since 1965. He was the first to use the term “biological diversity” (1980). He serves as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. From 2008-2013 he was the Biodiversity Chair at The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment (a non-profit institution dedicated to improving the scientific and economic foundation for environmental policy through multi-sectoral collaboration among industry, government, academia, and environmental organizations). He was President of the Heinz Center from 2002-2008.
In 2010 he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University.
Hélène Melin is a Senior lecturer in sociology and anthropology at the University of Lille since 2006 and researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Clersé. Her research broadly focuses on nature-culture relationships in the context of environmental crisis. Specifically, she studies the intersection of green development, local knowledge and environmental policies of landscapes. For several years she has been working on the development and sustainable management of the French Mediterranean coast and the practices and policies related to peri-urban and seaside hiking trails. She also works on environmental risk in wetlands.
She is Director of the editorial committee of Sustainable Development and Territories magazine since 2013.
Razingrim Ouedraogo is currently working with the International Union for Concervation of Nature (IUCN) as Senior Programme Officer of the Global Drylands Initiative. His domaine of expertise extends to natural ressource Governance, ecosystem management and conservation. He has a great experience and knowelge in rangelands and pastoralism. He coordinated at one time the World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP) and currently engaged in global inititves related to rangelands and pastoralism. He contritubed to various high level policy dialogues and publications on rangelands and pastoralism.
Prior to joining IUCN, Razingrim worked with various local and International NGOs and private sector and has about 10 years of experience in sustainable development. His educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Ethic and Governance with specialization in Economic Ethics and Sustainable Development, and a Bachelor Degree in Philosophy.
Adrian Phillips is a geographer and a planner. He has worked for the UK government, for UNEP in Kenya, and for IUCN in Switzerland. He was CEO of the UK-based Countryside Commission from 1981 to 1992. From 1994-2000 he was chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and then for four years WCPA vice-chair for World Heritage. In the past twenty-five years he has been a professor at Cardiff University, and served on the boards of many environmental NGOs in the UK. He has written and lectured on landscape issues, nationally and internationally, promoted the idea of Protected Landscapes/Seascapes (Category V protected areas) within IUCN and been an enthusiastic advocate of the European Landscape Convention and WH Cultural Landscapes in the UK and elsewhere.
As Chief Conservation Officer, John G. Robinson oversees conservation programs of the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Americas, Africa and Asia. After receiving a doctorate in zoology in 1977 from the University of North Carolina, and postdoctoral studies at the Smithsonian Institution, he joined in 1980 the University of Florida, where he established the Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation, a graduate program providing training to students from tropical countries. He joined the WCS in 1990. He is a Past President of the Society for Conservation Biology, served as Chair of the Board of The Christensen Fund and Foundations of Success. He chairs the Council of United for Wildlife, and is a Board member of Science for Nature and People Partnership. In 2003, he received the Royal Order of the Golden Ark by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, in recognition of lifetime achievement and service to conservation, and in 2016, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Zoological Society of London, England. He has served as Councilor for North America and Vice President with the IUCN since 2012.
Concha Salguero was born in Cáceres, in the region of Extremadura (Spain) and has a first degree in law and master’s degrees in International Commerce and on International Economic Law. She has been working in environmental law and policy since 1992, first in Spain as an environmental legal adviser to industry, and later at EU level for different organizations on water, natural resources, agriculture and rural development issues. In 2004 she became the environmental representative in two European Commission Advisory Groups. From 2009-2012 she worked in the UK for various organizations, amongst other topics, on EU Fisheries Policy reform. Currently she lives in Madrid and works as a Project Coordinator for the NGO Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza, within the M6 Cultural Landscapes Group supported by MAVA Fundation.
Currently Concha´s work is focused on the support and promotion of pastoralism as key to maintain unique cultural landscapes in the Mediterranean such as dehesas/montados. Another main work focus is on policies that favour or impact on the conservation of natural resources and rural development, especially the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). She is also part of international initiatives on gender and biodiversity in pastoralism such as the 'OneSquare Meter' Project, and on global pastoral initiatives such as Road lessTravelled. She also works on communal governance issues and is a Steering Committee member of Iniciativa Comunales.
Sean Southey, the resourceful and award-winning CEO of PCI Media Impact, is deeply committed to community empowerment and to the use of creative broadcast and social media to facilitate powerful social and behavioral change. With over 30 years of experience in the international development and communications field, he leads PCI Media's burgeoning portfolio of Environment, Public Health and Social Justice programs that now span over 60 countries, in addition to an impressive list of global media campaigns.
Dr. Eleanor Sterling is Jaffe Chief Conservation Scientist at the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Building on her interdisciplinary training and over 30 years of field experience in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania, her work focuses on the intersection between biodiversity, culture, and languages; the factors influencing ecological and social resilience; and the development of indicators of wellbeing in biocultural landscapes.
She is a world authority on the aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur endemic to Madagascar and collaborates on an initiative integrating biology and econometrics across multiple scales for sustainable wildlife trade in Vietnam. She is also an expert in strategic planning and in implementation and evaluation of capacity development. She is currently Deputy Vice Chair for the International Union for Nature and Natural Resources World Commission on Protected Areas Core Capacity Development group where she co-leads working groups on Capacity Development Evaluation and on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
She co-founded the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology and the Women in Natural Sciences New York chapter of the Association for Women in Science. Dr. Sterling is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where she served as Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology for ten years. Dr. Sterling received her B.A. degree from Yale College, and M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology and Forestry and Environmental Studies from Yale University.
Frederic Valletoux was born in 1966. After completing his high school and high school years at Fontainebleau, he embarked on a career in journalism. He worked as an editor for Les Échos newspaper and editor of the Gazette des communes published by the Groupe Moniteur, which he later joined as editorial delegate.
In 2001, Frédéric Valletoux decided to commit to serving his city and became Municipal Councilor of Fontainebleau. He became Mayor in 2005 and was re-elected in 2008. In 2010, he was elected Regional Councilor of Île de France Region and acquired the title of President of the Community of Communes of Fontainebleau-Avon the same year (until February 2017).
In 2011, he became President of the French Hospital Federation.
He is re-elected Mayor of Fontainebleau in 2014.
In 2016, Valérie Pécresse appointed him President of the Regional Committee for Tourism of the Île-de-France Region. In September, his functions evolve : he is appointed Special Delegate for Trade and Handicrafts.
Simon is the Director of Strategic Conservation at Synchronicity Earth, having recently retired as Chair of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The SSC is a science-based network with more than 7,500 experts (mostly volunteers) from all over the world who give their time through Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities and Task Forces. SSC's major role is to provide information to IUCN on biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of species, their role in ecosystem health and functioning, the provision of ecosystem services, and their support to human livelihoods. Simon has undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Cambridge, with fieldwork in Tanzania and Cameroon. He has over 25 years of experience with the IUCN and the SSC. Simon started work on the African Bird Red Data Book in 1983. He joined the IUCN Secretariat in 1986, and was Head of the Species Programme (1990-2000), Acting Director General (2000-2001), Head of the Biodiversity Assessment Unit (2001-2005), and Senior Species Scientist (2005-2008). He was elected as Chair of the SSC at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008. Simon recalls "My interest in conservation started as a child, earlier than I can remember. A fascination for wild animals and plants has always been in my blood. A career in conservation was the only option for me. I have been privileged to have been closely associated with IUCN and the Species Survival Commission (SSC) for 25 years, most of that time as a member of the IUCN Secretariat. The SSC is in many senses my home." Simon has been instrumental in the species conservation movement, working on a number of global initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals Biodiversity Target and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Simon has also produced numerous high impact reports and books. Simon joined Synchronicity Earth as the species advisor, chosen for his years of species conservation experience, his passion and his excellent network of global contacts.
Bas Verschuuren PhD is a freelance biocultural conservation adviser and associate researcher at the Department of Sociology of Development and Change at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Bas combines his experience in conservation projects with applied research on the cultural, spiritual, and sacred
dimensions of nature on which he has published over 50 articles, book chapters and five books. His latest book (Verschuuren and Brown, 2018) is titled: "The Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature in Protected Areas, Governance, Management and Policy" and demonstrates current developments and academic thinking on the interweaving of the conservation of nature and culture. Bas is co-Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas' Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA) www.csvpa.org. On this topic, he is currently guiding the development of IUCN Best Practice Guidelines and Training Modules for those involved in protected and conserved area management and governance. See: LinkedIn profile, Academia, Research Gate, www.sacrednaturalsites.org.
IUCN President since 2012, Zhang Xinsheng is also Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the NGO Eco-Forum Global (EFG), President of China Education Association for International Exchange, Member of China Government Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.
As President of IUCN, Mr. Zhang has spent the last four years ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of its governance, fostering constructive relations between all of its components so as to oversee the complex policy, strategic and governance issues of the Union, as well as to guide its constructive engagement with critical international processes including the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement. All this has been possible only with the committed support and cooperation of the Council, Director-General and Secretariat, the Commissions and Union members. Concurrently, he has been serving as Co-founder and Executive Chairman of EFG, a leading Chinese NGO striving to build global consensus for a green and sustainable future.
EFG, which has been instrumental in transforming the poverty-stricken province of Guizhou into a model of sustainable development and conservation, is at the forefront of advancing the Eco-Civilization strategy that is akin with the mission of IUCN and its focus on ecosystem-based approaches. Besides, Mr. Zhang has previously served as Chairman of UNESCO Executive Board and World Heritage Committee, China’s Vice Minister of Education and has been elected for two consecutive terms as Mayor of Suzhou municipality (pop. 6.7 million), turning it into a model city of economic growth and environmental protection. These roles have given him high-level experience in leading large and complex organisations, consensus building, and promoting science-based approaches and innovative solutions.
Mr. Zhang’s passion for and commitment to nature conservation and sustainable development have been nurtured through his life experiences and further strengthened by the formal education in the leading Chinese universities and Harvard University in the US. His professional and leadership experience in governments at central, provincial and municipal levels, along with inter-government and non-government positions, has given him a deep understanding of how to formulate national/global strategies and policies as well as implement programs and on-ground solutions. A key life experience for Mr. Zhang has been the importance of the processes used for decision making and policy development, particularly when dealing with complex problems and divergent stakeholders. Mr. Zhang has endeavoured to provide leadership based on strategic thinking, patiently engaging with, listening and responding to all components of the Union including the core constituency of IUCN members, while continuously striving for a democratic consensus on difficult issues, and will continue to do so if re-elected.
IUCN faces challenges and opportunities in the coming years, and important decisions will need to be made in light of the changing circumstances. Such diverse experiences will allow Mr. Zhang to provide continuity of leadership at a crucial time in IUCN’s history and global developments in support of biodiversity and nature-based solutions.
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