Former IUCN Species Survival Commission Chair wins top environmental prize

Dr Simon Stuart, former Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and a central figure of IUCN’s species conservation work for over three decades, has been awarded the prestigious Blue Planet Prize by the Asahi Glass Foundation. 

Dr Simon Stuart

“We are delighted at the news of such prominent recognition of Simon’s work,” said IUCN Acting Director General Dr Grethel Aguilar. “The whole IUCN family is extremely pleased to see Simon’s unwavering, lifelong commitment to science-based nature conservation acknowledged in this way. At a time when the diversity of life on Earth faces unparalleled threats, such commitment is needed more than ever.”

The Blue Planet Prize recognises Dr Stuart’s contribution to establishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM as “the most reliable, widely used data on species extinction risk”. While Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, Dr Stuart reinforced the scientific basis of the IUCN Red List by leading on the development of categories and assessment criteria. He also warned of the global decline and extinction of amphibian species as the architect of the Global Amphibian Assessment.

“It is an honour to receive this prize, and I am humbled to be included among the list of prominent recipients,” said Dr Simon Stuart. “It is my conviction that the IUCN Red List is a critical tool for species conservation and I would like to recognise the thousands of scientists who have helped build it and continue to contribute their expertise and data so that the world can have greater insight into the threats to biodiversity.”

Dr Stuart has been a key actor in IUCN’s species conservation work since 1985, serving as Director of IUCN’s Species Programme, as Acting Director General, and as Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission between 2008 and 2016.  Following his retirement from IUCN in 2016, Dr Stuart joined UK-based charity Synchronicity Earth as Director of Strategic Conservation.

Every year since its establishment by the Asahi Glass Foundation in 1992, the Blue Planet Prize is awarded to two individuals or organisations whose work contributes significantly to improving the global environment. The other recipient of this year’s prize is Prof David Tilman, Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota.

Previous winners include Prof Jared Diamond, Dr Paul Ehrlich and Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland. IUCN was an organisational recipient of the Blue Planet Prize in 1993.


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