Aroha Te Pareake Mead has been elected Chair of IUCN’s Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) for the next 4-year period. Aroha succeeds Taghi Farvar, who completed his term as Chair this year.
CEESP is one of IUCN’s six commissions, which unite over 11,000 volunteer professionals from a range of disciplines to provide expert advice on conservation and sustainable development issues. CEESP helps to improve national policies and local practices on access, equity, participation and benefit sharing of natural resources. The Commission currently focuses on four key themes: Governance of natural resources; Economics, markets, trade and investment; Sustainable Livelihoods and Pro-poor Conservation; and Culture and Conservation. Under these themes CEESP addresses a wide range of issues ranging from genetically modified organisms through mining and biodiversity to indigenous rights, biodiversity governance and community-based conservation areas.
“The appointment of Aroha Mead as Chair of CEESP presents a fresh opportunity for increased involvement of Oceania members in the work of IUCN,” says IUCN Oceania Regional Director, Taholo Kami. “Aroha’s dedication and commitment to indigenous and cultural issues in the conservation arena are well-recognised and I am confident that under her leadership, CEESP will see new innovations and direction.”
Aroha has a long-standing record in environment and development issues, particularly in relation to indigenous and local community rights. Prior to being elected she was an IUCN Councillor with special responsibilities for indigenous issues, the Co-Chair of CEESP’s Theme on Culture & Conservation (TCC), a member of the Theme on Indigenous and Local Communities Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA) and a member of the Executive Committee of CEESP.
In her current role at the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, she focuses on Maori and indigenous intellectual property issues and business development.
Aroha’s vision for CEESP in the short term is for increased membership in CEESP and, in particular, from the Oceania region, which is currently under-represented in the Commission.