Article | 11 Oct, 2018

IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Chair Dr Kathy MacKinnon wins top conservation prize

Dr Kathy MacKinnon, a British zoologist, has won the Midori Prize for Biodiversity, a prestigious conservation award.

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Kathy MacKinnon, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (2015-2021)

Photo: IUCN

Dr MacKinnon is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), the largest global network of protected area experts.  WCPA is one of six Commissions whose members give their time voluntarily to the goals of the Union.  She is also a member of the IUCN Council.

IUCN is very proud of Kathy’s achievement. Midori’s recognition celebrates her outstanding personal contribution to global conservation, but also the unique resource IUCN gains from its six Commissions of 13,000 experts who voluntarily contribute their immense experience, resources and networks to the work of the Union,” said IUCN Director General Inger Andersen.

Dr MacKinnon is well known and highly respected in many parts of the world for her expertise, diverse experience and policy knowledge. She is the author of over 100 scientific books and publications, including recently on protected areas as proven and sustainable natural solutions helping societies to cope with climate change.

Protected areas of many kinds not only give sanctuary to the wonder of 4.5 billion years of evolution but, in holding species and ecosystems, they protect the fundamental underpinning of human livelihoods, economies and wellbeing. They are a key tool in maintaining the sustainability of life on earth and in combatting the ravages of climate change,” said Dr MacKinnon

An Oxford-trained zoologist, Dr MacKinnon has spent most of her life working internationally on conservation, having started her long career in Indonesia.  “Ibu Kathy” is admired by generations of government and NGO managers across Indonesia for the contribution she made to the protection and management of biodiversity in their country, assisting them throughout the life of the projects and beyond.

 For 16 years, she was the Lead Biodiversity Specialist of the World Bank, where she mainstreamed conservation into development programs, including promoting protected areas as natural solutions to climate change and other global challenges.

She serves on the boards of Wetlands International and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. In 2007, she was bestowed the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Conservation Biology in appreciation of her extraordinary scientific contributions to the preservation of Earth's biodiversity.

Dr MacKinnon is a contributor to knowledge sharing, and a key instigator of the influential publication Natural Solutions (WWF 2010) on the role of natural systems and protected areas in addressing climate change. The increasing acknowledgement of ecosystem approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation in UNFCCC owes much to this publication.

Her on-going leadership in WCPA is helping countries achieve their CBD 2020 Aichi biodiversity targets as part of the massive global challenge of nature conservation and sustainable development.
Established by the AEON Environmental Foundation in 2010 in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Foundation and the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, the Midori Prize is a $100,000 award which honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions to conservation and sustainable use at local and global levels, and who have influenced and strengthened various biodiversity-related efforts, as well as raised awareness about biodiversity.

2018 Laureates are Dr Kathy MacKinnon, Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas; Mr Assad Serhal, Director General of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, former Board Member of the Lebanon National Committee of IUCN Members and former WCPA member; and Dr Abdul Hamid Zakri, Former Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Previous laureates include WCPA member Yury Darman, Angela Merkel and Vandana Shiva.

For more information on the Midori Prize see here.

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