Honorary Membership of IUCN

Honorary Membership of IUCN, which recognizes outstanding services to the conservation of nature and natural resources, is presented by the World Conservation Congress, on the recommendation of the IUCN Council, to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to furthering the goals of the Union.

Honorary members include distinguished former Presidents and Directors General, members of IUCN’s Council, members of Commissions and international figures who have contributed their valuable time and energy to implementing the Mission of IUCN.

New honorary memberships will be bestowed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in January 2021.  

In 2016, Honorary Membership of IUCN was awarded to two outstanding individuals:

  • Ashok Khosla, India
  • Valli Moosa, South Africa

Dr. Ashok Khoslais a former IUCN President and Indian environmentalist.  He is currently Chairman of the Development Alternatives Group, a social enterprise he founded 30 years ago to design and deliver practical solutions for speeding up and scaling sustainable development efforts worldwide.

For the past decade, he co-chaired the International Resource Panel, set up by UNEP to advise governments on the sustainable management of natural resources in the global economy; he also presided over the Club of Rome, a group dedicated to promoting systems-based strategic understanding of the world problematic and the human predicament.

Dr. Khosla has undertaken numerous official assignments throughout his career, including senior positions with the Brundtland Commission, the two Earth Summits at Rio de Janeiro, and as board member of several environment and conservation organisations and many official, NGO and academic bodies.

His work for the environment includes having helped to design and teach the first university course on the environment at Harvard University; to set up and head the first governmental agency for the Environment in a developing country; to set up the original international information system on environment (INFOterra); and at the DA Group, pioneering the concept of social enterprise, creating business-like approaches for eradicating poverty and conserving the natural resource base. 

He has been integrally associated with the IUCN for over four decades, as Councillor for Asia, Deputy Chair and Chair of CEESP, and as head of an active Member organisation. [He was also a key contributor to the World Conservation Strategy.] During this time, he has played an important part in the policies and activities of the Union.


Valli Moosa was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1957. He is a veteran of the South African Freedom struggle and was imprisoned by the Apartheid Regime. He worked closely with Nelson Mandela during the settlement talks and served as a negotiator for the ANC. He participated in the drafting of the South African Constitution.

He served in President Mandela’s cabinet as Minister of Constitutional Development and in President Mbeki’s government as Environment Minister.

He joined the corporate sector in 2004 and currently serves as Chairman of Anglo American Platinum and Sun International. He is also established a Johannesburg based renewable energy fund.

He is Chairman of WWF (SA); has served as an informal facilitator in the global climate change negotiations; he previously served as President of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and Chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.  He was also the convener of the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.

Valli is a passionate environmentalist. During his time as environment minister he established the globally significant Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Under his leadership, South Africa was one of the first countries to regulate the use of plastic bags in 2003.

He is also responsible for environmental rights being entrenched in the South African Constitution as a Fundamental Human Right.

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