Washington D.C. Office


J. Springer - TGER Photo: Jenny Springer Jenny Springer
Director, Global Programme on Governance and Rights  

Jenny Springer is an anthropologist with over 20 years of experience working on indigenous and community land rights, community-based natural resource management, and social dimensions of conservation. She joined IUCN as Director of the Global Programme on Governance and Rights in October 2018. In her previous role as Chair of the IUCN CEESP Theme on Governance, Equity and Rights, Jenny played a lead role in the development of the IUCN Natural Resource Governance Framework (NRGF). From 2013 to September 2015, she was Director of Global Programs for the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), where she oversaw RRI's global analytical and policy engagement work. Prior to joining RRI, Jenny was Senior Director for People and Conservation at the World Wildlife FundUS, where she led WWF's policies and programs on indigenous peoples and rights-based approaches to conservation, and was a co-founder of the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights. Jenny’s work on community tenure, natural resource management and poverty reduction includes broad-based experience across Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has conducted field research in South India and the Philippines, served in the Peace Corps in Ifugao (Philippines), and holds degrees from Harvard and the University of Chicago.


Cate Owren Photo: Cate Owren Cate Owren
Senior Gender Programme Manager

Cate Owren is a women’s rights and gender equality specialist with nearly 20 years of experience working at the unique intersections of gender and environment issues. She has extensive experience working across global, regional, national and more local levels on policies, programming and practice that aim to address gender gaps and improve equality outcomes in tandem with environmental outcomes; she has specific expertise in gender-responsive sustainable development policy frameworks, including as related to climate change and biodiversity. Having joined IUCN in 2013, Cate currently oversees the gender team programme portfolio, which includes a wide range of knowledge development and dissemination efforts; capacity building and technical support; policy guidance; and gender integration across the Union, including with state and non-state members. Prior to IUCN, Cate was the Executive Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), a women’s global advocacy in New York. She has degrees in Socioeconomic Development, Theater and English Literature. She has traveled, lived or worked in more than 30 countries.


Jackelline Siles
Senior Gender Programme Manager

Jackie Siles is a Senior Project Coordinator for the GGO, focusing on the nexus of gender and environment and development in the Mesoamerican, Andean Amazon and African regions. She has more than 17 years of experience in this sector working for CARE, IUCN, Wetland International and CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) as a coordinator for initiatives that promote sustainable and equitable human development, as well as including social and gender issues on public policy. She has provides technical assistance to regional organizations, local and national governments in areas such as watershed management, energy, biodiversity, REDD+, climate change, community participation, organic agriculture, gender, and social issues. She is a professor for the National University of Costa Rica, has several publications on gender and environment, and has developed technical skills to train people on the use of methodologies that promote gender equity. She is an agricultural engineer, with a Masters degree in Natural Resources Management, and currently pursuing her PhD in Natural Resources for Development. Jackie is based in Costa Rica and is fluent in both English and Spanish.


Barbara Nakangu Photo: Barbara Nakangu Barbara Nakangu
Senior Programme Manager, Governance and Rights

Barbara Nakangu Bugembe- is a specialist on natural resources governance with a particular interest in political ecology. She joined the GPGR program at the end of 2018 and in charge for coordinating the Governance of Rights programme. Particularly, Barbara coordinates the implementation of the Natural Resources Governance Initiative (NRGF) that IUCN developed to guide and influence the achievement of effective and rights-based natural resources governance in IUCN and among partners.

Barbara holds a PhD in Political Ecology and over 20 years’ experience in coordinating conservation and development programmes at different levels and contexts. Her primary experience is on Sub-Saharan Africa, where she worked with the IUCN East African Programme for 10 years, including heading the IUCN Uganda country programme.


AT Photo: ATzec Anita Tzec
Programme Officer, Indigenous Peoples and Conservation

Anita Tzec joined the Governance and Rights Program in 2019 as the new Program Manager, Indigenous Peoples and Conservation. In this capacity, Anita plays a key role in globally engaging with all of the IUCN Indigenous Peoples’ Organization members, supporting implementation of their self-determined strategy, and more generally advancing indigenous rights and issues as part of IUCN’s work.

Anita is a Maya Yucatec sociologist from Belize. She holds a Ph.D. and has worked as an indigenous rights activist, academic and independent consultant in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Combining analytical and advocacy work, she has engaged in national, regional and international processes to advance the recognition of indigenous rights, particularly as they relate to lands, territories and resources, conservation and natural resource management, cultural heritage and indigenous women and children. In the last few years, her work has focused mainly on the socio-political dynamics of the Maya land rights struggle in the south of Belize, as well as on overcoming implementation challenges faced by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). She played a key role in the process that led to the drafting of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DADIN) and the last years of the UNDRIP drafting. Her previous experience includes work as an independent consultant with IUCN in Central America.


Jamie Wen-Besson
Knowledge and Communications Officer

As the Knowledge and Communications Officer to the Global Programme on Governance and Rights, Jamie oversees the programme's strategic communication approaches. With an outlook rooted in stakeholder analyses and strategic planning, Jamie is a communications and advocacy specialist with experience across international organizations and diplomatic institutions. Prior to joining the IUCN, Jamie served as the Influence and Communications Officer for the UK Ministry of Defence’s British Defence Staff in the United States for four years, assisting the department in engagement strategies with US interlocutors in the think tank community. She has also served a Communications Consultant for the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat in France, supporting work on South-South cooperation in renewable and sustainable energy solutions; as a Communications and Advocacy Officer for the UN Women Liaison Office to the African Union and UN Economic Commission in Africa where she focused on the women in peace and security portfolio; and supported several associations with communications and branding work.

Jamie has a Master of International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris in International Security and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Southern California. A traveler, passionate home cook, and co-parent of three rescue dogs, Jamie enjoys the fullest version of every experience. 


Seline Meijer
Programme Officer

Seline Meijer is a Programme Officer with IUCN’s Global Programme for Governance and Rights, supporting projects related to both gender and governance. Since joining IUCN in 2015 at HQ in Switzerland, Seline moved to the DC office in July 2017. As part of her role, she also provides programmatic support to the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP). Prior to joining IUCN, Seline worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher conducting research on conflict between forestry objectives and the conservation of the hen harrier, a raptor species of conservation concern, and as a temporary Lecturer coordinating and teaching a graduate course on the post-2015 development agenda, both at University College Dublin (UCD) in Ireland. In 2014, Seline completed a Ph.D. in Forestry at UCD, carried out in partnership with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Malawi. Her research focused on smallholder farmers’ perceptions and attitudes towards farm-level tree planting and forest degradation as well as the gender dynamics of household decision-making. In addition, Seline has degrees in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management (M.Sc., University of Oxford), Forest and Nature Conservation (M.Sc., Wageningen University) and Environmental Sciences (B.Sc., Utrecht University). Born and raised in Amsterdam, Seline enjoys traveling, hiking and exploring the outdoors, practicing yoga and enjoying good food with friends.


Laura Sabater Photo: Laura Sabater Laura Sabater
Gender Programme Officer

Laura Sabater is a Gender Programme Officer with the Global Programme on Governance and Rights. Prior to joining us, Laura did various gender-environment consultancies, including for IUCN. She was, in particular, one of the lead researchers and authors of IUCN’s 2020 Gender-based Violence and Environment Linkages publication and advance next-step work on this topic. She brings significant knowledge in gender and environment data, statistics and indicators, as well as gender mainstreaming in international environmental policy frameworks. With a journalism background, Laura has varied experience in communications, including as communications manager for a local non-profit organization focusing on gender and environmental issues in rural India. She holds a Master of Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark, and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Zaragoza, Spain. She speaks Spanish, English and French and she’s currently learning Arabic. In addition to learning languages, Laura enjoys travelling, mastering her cooking skills and spending time outdoors. 


Laura Cooper Hall Photo: Laura Cooper Hall

Laura Cooper Hall
Gender Programme Officer

Laura Cooper Hall is a Gender Programme Officer with the Global Programme on Governance and Rights - she joined IUCN in April, 2020. Laura brings with her a background in gender, gender based violence, gender and climate change, and reproductive health and the environment. Prior to IUCN Laura worked on the link between reproductive health and the environment as a Policy Advisor in the People, Health, Planet team at the Population Reference Bureau. She also worked at the Women’s Environment and Development Organization as a Gender and Climate Finance Research Fellow and, while completing her master's, she worked at both YouAct and dance4life, organizations advocating for youth in sexual and reproductive health and rights policies. Prior to her master's she worked at Population Services International in Yangon, Myanmar for two years. 

Laura holds a graduate degree from the Erasmus Mundus Masters Program in Public Policy and a bachelor’s in anthropology from McGill University. She speaks Spanish as well as Taxi Burmese, and is attempting to learn French.


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