New Commissions Chairs – take your seats

The IUCN election results were announced today, with a new President, Treasurer, Commission Chairs and Regional Councillors all appointed.

Election Results Photo: IUCN/Group J. Muntaner

Members of IUCN elect the 32-member Council every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. Along with a President, Treasurer and three representatives from each of the Union’s eight regions, the Council also includes the Chairs of the six Commissions.

Ashok Khosla (India) will take over as IUCN President from Valli Moosa. Aroha Mead (New Zealand), Simon Stuart (UK) and Piet Wit (Netherlands) are all newly elected Chairs of the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), Species Survival Commission (SSC) and Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) respectively.

Aroha Mead 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 the Co-Chair of CEESP’s Theme on Culture & Conservation (TCC), a member of Theme on Indigenous and Local Communities Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA), and a member of the Executive Committee of CEESP.

Simon Stuart has worked in the IUCN Secretariat since 1986 as the Head of Species Programme, Acting Director General, and, most recently, Senior Species Scientist.

“Despite some successes, we know that we are not stemming the loss of species and the potential for biodiversity to provide sustainable benefits to people is being eroded,” said Simon Stuart. “To make headway in the face of such challenges, the SSC must work with a much broader set of partners.”

Piet Wit has 35 years experience in ecosystem management and has been a member of the CEM since 1996. Prior to his election he held the Deputy Chair position. Piet sees the need for a new focus to retain IUCN’s value in conservation.

“CEM should work on bridging gaps in ecosystem management across sectors and across disciplines; creating synergy with groups of experts and practitioners actively applying the ecosystem approach, such as in integrated water management or in sustainable forest management,” he said.

Keith Wheeler (USA), Sheila Abed (Paraguay) and Nikita Lopoukhine (Canada) were all re-elected as Chair for their Commissions; Commission on Education and Communication, Commission on Environmental Law and the World Commission on Protected Areas.

Kurt Ramin (Germany) will also continue as the IUCN Treasurer.

The Council functions in a similar way to a Board of Directors, meeting once or twice a year to direct IUCN strategy, approve finances and oversee programme implementation. The Council may appoint up to six additional Councilors. All elected candidates will serve their Council term from the close of the Congress until the close of the following Congress.

Voting rights for the IUCN elections are given to participants from member organizations whose credentials are in order.

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