Dr. Jan Steffen is IUCN Oceania’s new Regional Marine Programme Coordinator, having joined the Office in January, 2011. Jan’s diverse experience is a testimony to his motivation and commitment to conservation of marine areas.
Having received his Masters Degree in Marine Ecology, Zoology and Physical Oceanography at the University of Kiel, Germany, he carried out field research on applied aspects of coral reef assessment, monitoring and conservation and received his PhD at the Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology at the University of Bremen. From 1998 to 2002, Jan initiated and supported marine conservation projects in Indonesia as marine program advisor for the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation KEHATI.
During that period he founded the Indonesian Coral Reef Foundation in 1999, with an emphasis on marine education, science and policy programs. He continues to serve as its technical advisor and Chair of its Steering Committee.
In 2002 Jan joined UNESCO as Program Officer for the Platform on Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands, based in UNESCO’s Regional Science Bureau in Jakarta. In this role he supported integrated marine resource management projects, particularly in the Philippines, Indonesia, Timor Leste and Colombia, and served as a technical advisor on the Board of Directors of the International Marine Aquarium Council.
Early in 2009 Jan took over the responsibility for UNESCO’s natural science programs in the 16 Pacific member states, based in the UNESCO Apia Office. He worked with Governments and partner organizations on a wide range of issues, including water resource management, community-based disaster risk reduction and tsunami warning, climate change adaptation, science policy and science communication as well as applied management aspects of Pacific Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites.