Protected areas

Trevor Sandwith
Director, IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme

Trevor Sandwith, Director, IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme

Expertise: protected areas, social and economic development, biodiversity and climate change policy

Language: English
Location: Gland, Switzerland

Trevor Sandwith leads IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme. His role includes co-ordinating IUCN’s work to support national governments to achieve their commitments to conserve biodiversity in protected areas, and to ensure that protected areas are effectively managed and well governed. A broader purpose is to ensure that protected areas play their role in helping reconcile conflicts between conservation and development, and to ensure that they are recognised as vital responses to global challenges, such as climate change, water and food security and disaster risk reduction.

A South African national, Trevor Sandwith has worked as an ecologist in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, and most recently in the US and Latin America. In South Africa, he focused on the role of protected area systems in sustaining economic and social development in the transformation of South Africa to a new democracy.

From 2001, he coordinated the World Bank/UNDP/GEF-supported Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.) program at the South African National Biodiversity Institute in Cape Town. Trevor also served as Chairman of the Flower Valley Conservation Trust and as a Council member of the Robben Island Museum World Heritage Site. Before joining IUCN, he was the Director of Biodiversity and Protected Areas Policy for The Nature Conservancy in the USA. His focus has been on finding common ground in biodiversity and climate change policy, articulating this in international policy venues and facilitating national commitments and public funding for effective work on the ground.

In 2014, he managed the preparation of IUCN’s once in ten year event, the IUCN World Parks Congress, hosted in Sydney, Australia. This is the most significant gathering of protected area professionals and stakeholders in the world, and aims to influence a new understanding of the role that protected areas play in addressing critical problems faced by society.


Kathy MacKinnon

Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

Kathy MacKinnon Photo: Salzburg Global Seminar Expertise: protected areas, marine protected areas, tourism, finance, legislation and protected areas, transboundary conservation, World Heritage, nature-based solutions, biodiversity indicators, biodiversity and climate change policy

Location: United Kingdom
Language: English

Dr Kathy MacKinnon is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA).

An Oxford-trained zoologist, Dr MacKinnon has spent more than 30 years working on conservation issues, especially in developing countries. For 16 years, she was the Lead Biodiversity Specialist of the World Bank. She is also the author of over 100 scientific books and publications, including on protected areas as proven and sustainable natural solutions to address climate change.

Dr MacKinnon first served in the WCPA leadership team as Deputy Chair in 2013. She led WCPA’s involvement in co-organising the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress, a key IUCN event on protected areas held every 10 years. Dr MacKinnon became Chair of the Commission in 2015. Her position as Chair was confirmed by the IUCN membership via elections at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016.

In 2018, Kathy won the Midori Prize for Biodiversity, a prestigious conservation award.


Go to top