WCPA Steering Committee Members

The WCPA Steering Committee is the principal governing body of WCPA. Its members are appointed by the WCPA Chair and approved by the IUCN Council. The Committee meets once a year to report on WCPA activities and to discuss important upcoming events, initiatives, and priorities.

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Dr Madhu RAO

Commission Chair

Dr. Madhu Rao is the Chair of the IUCN WCPA, Senior Advisor of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore with ...

Commission Chair

Dr. Madhu Rao is the Chair of the IUCN WCPA, Senior Advisor of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore with over 25 years of experience with designing and supporting the implementation of conservation field programmes across Asia.

Mr Andrew RHODES ESPINOZA

Deputy Chair

Andrew John Rhodes Espinoza tiene más de 16 años de experiencia laboral trabajando para la conservación, uso y aprovechamiento sustentable de la riqueza natural de México, cuenta con ...

Deputy Chair

Andrew John Rhodes Espinoza tiene más de 16 años de experiencia laboral trabajando para la conservación, uso y aprovechamiento sustentable de la riqueza natural de México, cuenta con un profundo conocimiento de los desafíos socioambientales de México, política pública ambiental, una sólida experiencia técnica - administrativa, una amplia red de contactos nacionales e internacionales y una gran pasión por México, su cultura y biodiversidad. Actualmente se desempeña como Coordinador para Océanos, adscrito a la Subsecretaría de Asuntos Multilaterales y Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores de México, Sous Sherpa ante el Panel de Alto Nivel para una Economía Oceánica Sostenible y Vicepresidente de la Comisión Mundial de Áreas Protegidas de la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN). Previo a estos encargos, ocupó cargos ejecutivos en la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas; como Comisionado Nacional, Director General de Desarrollo Institucional y Promoción y Director de Estrategias de Cambio Climático. Adicionalmente, se desempeñó como Director General del Sistema Pronatura así como Coordinador Central del Fondo para Áreas Naturales Protegidas en el Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza AC. LOGROS En su trayectoria, Andrew Rhodes contribuyó de manera significativa a la capitalización del Fondo para Áreas Naturales Protegidas que alcanzó durante su coordinación un patrimonio de mas de $75 millones de dólares para complementar el financiamiento estratégico de un grupo selecto de áreas protegidas en México. (https://www.concyteq.edu.mx/amjb/repositorio/documentos/publ_esp/4_Cien_casos.pdf ) Como Director de Estrategias de Cambio Climático, internalizó en la CONANP el tema de cambio climático a través del desarrollo de una Estrategia innovadora, herramientas de adaptación al cambio climático (https://www.gob.mx/conanp/documentos/cambio-climatico-191714?state=draft ) y un proyecto GEF5 sobre Resiliencia (https://www.gob.mx/conanp/documentos/proyecto-resiliencia ); finalmente coordino la Estrategia 2040 primer ejercicio de planeación a largo plazo de la CONANP en su historia (https://www.gob.mx/conanp/documentos/estrategia-2040-una-orientacion-para-la-conservacion-de-las-areas-naturales-protegidas-de-mexico ). Siendo Director General en la CONANP, tuvo la oportunidad de coordinar los trabajos de la Institución en el marco de la pasada COP13 de Biodiversidad en México, motivando no solo una participación activa sino el lanzamiento de múltiples iniciativas entra las cuales se resalta el Plan de Financiamiento Estratégico para la CONANP (https://www.gob.mx/conanp/documentos/plan-de-accion-para-el-financiamiento-estrategico-2016-2018 ). Como Comisionado Nacional gestionó la creación Centro de Educación y Transformación Muros de Agua - José Revueltas (https://www.excelsior.com.mx/nacional/islas-marias-abriran-este-verano-como-centro-cultural-y-medioambiental/1298623 ) y (https://www.gob.mx/semarnat/articulos/centro-de-educacion-ambiental-y-cultural-muros-de-agua-jose-revueltas?idiom=es ) Actualmente como Sous Sherpa asistió a la Sherpa de México en la aprobación y endoso por el Gobierno de México del documento de "Transformaciones hacia una Economía Oceánica Sostenible" (https://www.oceanpanel.org/ocean-action/files/transformations-sustainable-ocean-economy-eng.pdf ) y (https://www.gob.mx/sre/prensa/el-panel-de-alto-nivel-para-una-economia-oceanica-sostenible-lanzo-una-nueva-agenda-de-accion-oceanica-con-la-participacion-de-mexico?idiom=es ).

Mr Allan VALVERDE BLANCO

Prof Amran HAMZAH

Regional Vice Chair, Southeast Asia

I am currently a Professor in Tourism Planning at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. My area of specialisation is the interface between community-based ecotourism ...

Regional Vice Chair, Southeast Asia

I am currently a Professor in Tourism Planning at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. My area of specialisation is the interface between community-based ecotourism and protected area management. In addition to my academic duties, I have led more than 100 consultancy projects for national and international clients such as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, state governments, the ASEAN Secretariat, the Ministry of Environment Japan, APEC and IUCN. I am also currently serving on the Advisory Board of the UNTWO Best Tourism Villages of the World Initiative. I served as a Deputy Vice Chair (South East Asia) for IUCN-WCPA Asia from 2011 to 2013 and Co-Chair of IUCN TILCEPA from 2014 to 2016. I was elected as a Regional Councillor for the 2016-2020 term. As Regional Councillor, I was actively involved as the Deputy Chair of PPC and a member of several task forces, such as the Urban Task Force, and leading working groups (Resolution 003) and Council Motions (Sustainable Agriculture). At the regional level, I was actively involved in activities organised by IUCH Asia Regional Office (ARO) and the IUCN Asia Members Committee. I actively participated in training workshops organised by ARO and provided strong support at the Asia Members Committee meetings and Regional Conservation Forum (RCF). Currently, I am supporting ARO in planning the 2nd Asia Parks Congress to be held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in 2022. I am also the Focal Point for the IUCN Natural Resource Governance Framework (NRGF) and one of the founding members of the Asian Protected Areas Partnership (APAP).

Ms Erika STANCIU

Regional Vice Chair, Europe

Erika Stanciu started to work in and for protected areas after 12 years of activity in forest management. She contributed to the establishment of the protected area ...

Regional Vice Chair, Europe

Erika Stanciu started to work in and for protected areas after 12 years of activity in forest management. She contributed to the establishment of the protected area management system in Romania as the first national park director.

Dr Florence PALLA

Regional Vice Chair, West and Central Africa

Coordinator of the regional project to support the Central African Forest Observatory with a focus on the observation of Protected Areas in synergy with ...

Regional Vice Chair, West and Central Africa

Coordinator of the regional project to support the Central African Forest Observatory with a focus on the observation of Protected Areas in synergy with the BIOPAMA programme (including marine ones). I was from 2019 to 2021 in support of the RVC for Central Africa. I am a member of NatureForAll and work closely with other PA networks, especially those in West Africa. Through the activities of the Observatory, there is a strong contribution to the updating of the WDPA for the data of the 10 Central African countries.

Mr Lou SANSON

Regional Vice Chair, Oceania

Lou Sanson has 40 years experience in conservation. He originally trained as a research scientist in mountainland management with Forest Research Institute in New ...

Regional Vice Chair, Oceania

Lou Sanson has 40 years experience in conservation. He originally trained as a research scientist in mountainland management with Forest Research Institute in New Zealand. He helped establish the Dept of Conservation in 1987 and became the youngest District Conservator at the time. Email: lsanson@doc.govt.nz

Mr Mike WONG

Regional Vice Chair, North America

Michael has over 25 years of leading ecosystem science programs for environmental conservation and protected area management, in Canada and internationally. These ...

Regional Vice Chair, North America

Michael has over 25 years of leading ecosystem science programs for environmental conservation and protected area management, in Canada and internationally. These activities include the development and management of national conservation programs and policies, such as Canadian Water Quality Guidelines and national endangered species strategies; the design and management of Ecological Monitoring and Assessment, and State of the Environment Reporting programs, as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies using protected areas. Michael also advances strategies for sound decision-making and the integration of science and other knowledge systems into directives and best practice guidelines. He also promotes innovative partnerships and stakeholder engagement for solving conservation issues for protected areas. As the Vice Chair for the IUCN`s World Commission for Protected Areas for North America, and the Vice President of the Canadian Committee of the IUCN, he has recently championed the campaign to connect people to nature in order to ensure the relevance and support of protected areas in the future.

Mr Nizar HANI

Regional Vice Chair, North Africa, West Asia, Middle East

Nizar Hani, Biochemistry Diploma, Master in Agricultural Sciences, PHD student in Ethnobotany, his PHD research includes an ethnobotanical ...

Regional Vice Chair, North Africa, West Asia, Middle East

Nizar Hani, Biochemistry Diploma, Master in Agricultural Sciences, PHD student in Ethnobotany, his PHD research includes an ethnobotanical survey of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, IUCN Green listed Protected Area (PA). Nizar Hani is currently the Director General of Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR), the largest PA in Lebanon and covers 5% of its territory. His focus lately is on the forest and landscape restoration programs and all related activities, biomass management, sustainable agriculture, value chains, grazing management, ecotourism, environmental awareness, and local community practical involvement. Nizar Hani recognized in 2021 from Italy with the Knight of the order of the star of Italy because of the effective partnerships that he created with the Italian PAs and Italian nature protection partners as well as IUCN in 2020 awarded him the WCPA Kinton Miller Award for his advanced management of the SBR. He is also the Co-chair of the Lebanon IUCN national committee, President of the Mediterranean Experience of Eco-tourism (MEET) Association and he is a member of the IUCN Green List EAGL group of West Asia. He is the winner of the UNESCO Youth scientist award in 2013 and the UNESCO (Man and Biosphere Reserve program), Miche l Batisse Award in 2011 as well as awarded the UN volunteers in Lebanon in 2005.

Mrs Paula BUENO

Regional Vice Chair, South America

M.Sc. in Sustainability Science, Resilience and Global Change. With over 15 years of experience, I have an on-going career in biodiversity conservation at the ...

Regional Vice Chair, South America

M.Sc. in Sustainability Science, Resilience and Global Change. With over 15 years of experience, I have an on-going career in biodiversity conservation at the international, regional and national levels, with specialized knowledge in equitable governance, multilateral environmental agreements and cooperation for marine and land area-based conservation measures, with a sustainable use and climate-smart view. Sound performance in project design and implementation, multi-country/multi-sectoral programme management, capacity development, fundraising, high level advisory, large event leadership, negotiation and multi-stakeholder engagement, as well as a combination of in-the-field work and office management within private, public and international organizations.

Mr Sabelo LINDANI

Regional Vice Chair, East and Southern Africa

Sabelo Lindani is the Managing Director of Contour Enviro Group, an environmental consulting company based in Cape Town, South Africa. He is also the ...

Regional Vice Chair, East and Southern Africa

Sabelo Lindani is the Managing Director of Contour Enviro Group, an environmental consulting company based in Cape Town, South Africa. He is also the founder of a not-for-profit organization called Youth for the Environment (Y4Enviro), which is about giving youth access into Protected Areas.

Dr SONALI GHOSH

Regional Vice Chair, South Asia

I bring in more than 15 years of field experience of living and working in some of the critical ecosystems such as Terai grasslands of the Indian subcontinent. In ...

Regional Vice Chair, South Asia

I bring in more than 15 years of field experience of living and working in some of the critical ecosystems such as Terai grasslands of the Indian subcontinent. In addition, I have served as a master trainer for capacity development skills for furthering the awareness on such ecosystems in the last 3 years. I have documented traditional knowledge that builds community resilience and currently also serving on the panel of UN-IPBES which has helped in documenting the ecosystem services of some of these threatened ecosystems in the Asia-Pacific region. As a member of IUCN-WCPA and IUCN -TBPA groups, I will also strive towards seeking convergence between these thematic groups.

Ms Tatjana ROSEN

Tatjana (Tanya) Rosen Michel received a Masters of Science in Social Ecology at Yale University, Master of Laws at Harvard University and a Juris Doctor from Italy’s Universita Statale di Milano ...
Tatjana (Tanya) Rosen Michel received a Masters of Science in Social Ecology at Yale University, Master of Laws at Harvard University and a Juris Doctor from Italy’s Universita Statale di Milano. After practicing law in the United States and Italy, Tanya’s interest in large carnivores led her back to school. Tanya studied bear ecology with the USGS Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team and conducted work on human-carnivore conflict in Yellowstone and Italy, and in Pakistan with Project Snow Leopard. Prior to joining Panthera, Tanya also worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on human-wolf conflict in Montana, and developing a framework for trans-boundary Marco Polo sheep conservation between Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Tajikistan.

Prof Yoshitaka KUMAGAI

Regional Vice Chair, East Asia

Dr. Kumagai is currently the Vice President, trustee, and Professor at Akita International University in Japan. He has been serving as Regional Vice Chair of IUCN ...

Regional Vice Chair, East Asia

Dr. Kumagai is currently the Vice President, trustee, and Professor at Akita International University in Japan. He has been serving as Regional Vice Chair of IUCN WCPA for East Asia since 2012. His research interests are carrying capacity, governance, and sustainable tourism in protected areas.

Mr Brent MITCHELL

Thematic Vice Chair, Scaling Natural Solutions

Brent A. Mitchell, American, began his career in the Caribbean and Latin America, developing the first national parks in Haiti and the Turks and ...

Thematic Vice Chair, Scaling Natural Solutions

Brent A. Mitchell, American, began his career in the Caribbean and Latin America, developing the first national parks in Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and conducting field research in wildlife ecology in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. He worked as a field biologist for America's oldest land trust, The Trustees of Reservations, before joining the Quebec Labrador Foundation in 1987 to promote land trusts in eastern Canada. He worked extensively in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and has consulted in East and Southern Africa. As a member of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, he led the specialist group on privately protected areas (PPAs) for its first 14 years. He now serves as WCPA vice chair for "Scaling Natural Solutions." He is a founding partner in the (U.S.) National Park Service Stewardship Institute, and developed an Urban Agenda for the national parks for their centennial in 2016. He was lead co-author of the first summary report of large landscape conservation in North America. He is a past president of the George Wright Society, the protected area professionals association of North America.

Mr Cyril KORMOS

Thematic Vice Chair, World Heritage and Primary Forests

Cyril is Founder and Executive Director of Wild Heritage, a project of the Earth Island Institute. He also serves as IUCN-WCPA Vice-Chair for ...

Thematic Vice Chair, World Heritage and Primary Forests

Cyril is Founder and Executive Director of Wild Heritage, a project of the Earth Island Institute. He also serves as IUCN-WCPA Vice-Chair for World Heritage, sits on IUCN’s World Heritage Panel and chairs the IUCN-WCPA World Heritage Network. He was a Lui-Walton Innovator’s Fellow at Conservation International from 2016-2018 and became a National Geographic Explorer in 2018. Cyril also serves as a member of Project Drawdown’s Scientific Advisory Board, a member of Treesisters’ Advisory Board and an Advisor to Nature Needs Half. Cyril is also a co-founder of, and on the Steering Committee for: IntAct: International Action for Primary Forests and a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Primary Forest Task Team. Cyril has edited several books, including A Handbook on International Wilderness Law and Policy (Fulcrum Publishing) and two books in the CEMEX Nature Series: Earth’s Legacy: Natural World Heritage and A Geography of Hope: Saving Primary Forests. He has also published extensively in scientific and policy journals. Prior to Wild Heritage, Cyril was Vice President for Policy at the WILD Foundation, and before WILD, was Senior Director for Program Management in the President's Office at Conservation International. Cyril holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.Sc. in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. Cyril was a Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management in 2015-2016.

Dr Felipe PAREDES

Thematic Vice Chair, Marine

Felipe Paredes is a marine biologist from Chile, with more than 20 years of experience in scientific research, education and marine conservation public policy. He is ...

Thematic Vice Chair, Marine

Felipe Paredes is a marine biologist from Chile, with more than 20 years of experience in scientific research, education and marine conservation public policy. He is currently the National Coordinator of the Marine Protected Areas of the Chilean Ministry of Environment, a MPA systems that covers more than 43% of the Chilean oceans. He has extensive experience in marine protected areas, leading the designation, planning and implementation processes of MPAs in Rapa Nui, Juan Fernandez and Chilean Patagonia, among others, and coordinating the National MPA committee of Chile. He also leads a GEF project on marine and coastal ecosystems governance. In 2017 he organized the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress IMPAC4 in La Serena, Chile and today coordinates the CPPS Southeast Pacific MPA working group. In 2019 he coodinated the marine theme of IUCN´s 3rd Latin American and Caribbean Protected Areas Congress III CAPLAC in Lima, Perú. Felipe is a marine biologist from the University of Valparaiso, Master in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Maine.

Ms Helen TUGENDHAT

Thematic Vice Chair, Governance, Equity and Rights

Helen Tugendhat coordinates the Environmental Governance programme at the Forest Peoples Programme, a human rights organization based in the ...

Thematic Vice Chair, Governance, Equity and Rights

Helen Tugendhat coordinates the Environmental Governance programme at the Forest Peoples Programme, a human rights organization based in the United Kingdom that works to create political space for indigenous and forest peoples to secure their rights, control their lands and decide their own futures.

Ms Karen KEENLEYSIDE

Thematic Vice Chair, People and Parks/Nature for All
Email: karen.natureforall@gmail.com

An ecologist by training, Karen has over thirty years’ professional experience in the environmental field ...

Thematic Vice Chair, People and Parks/Nature for All
Email: karen.natureforall@gmail.com

An ecologist by training, Karen has over thirty years’ professional experience in the environmental field in Canada and internationally, both in the private sector and with the Canadian government. During 15 years with Parks Canada, Karen led the development of evidence-based strategic approaches to ecological restoration, climate change, and urban parks, among other topics. Most recently, she has been bridging natural and social-scientific disciplines to develop collaborative relationships and find solutions for building and diversifying the constituency of support for conservation.

Karen led the Inspiring a New Generation Stream of the IUCN World Parks Congress in 2014, which was the foundation for the subsequent launch of #NatureForAll in 2016. Since then, she has been instrumental in shaping the strategic direction of #NatureForAll and contributing to its growth and influence. Karen was the Vice Chair responsible for #NatureForAll for both the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas from 2016 and 2021. She continues to play a leadership role on both Commissions and is currently one of three global Co-Chairs who are collaboratively leading #NatureForAll.

Mr Michael APPLETON

Thematic Vice Chair, Capacity Development

Mike’s work as a conservation practitioner focuses on applied, area-based conservation, working in more than 40 counties to help establish protected areas ...

Thematic Vice Chair, Capacity Development

Mike’s work as a conservation practitioner focuses on applied, area-based conservation, working in more than 40 counties to help establish protected areas, create legal frameworks and governance systems, develop management strategies and plans, and build the capacity of staff and organizations.

Dr Nick SALAFSKY

Thematic Vice Chair, Conservation Outcomes

Dr. Nick Salafsky is the Executive Director of Foundations of Success, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the practice of conservation. 

Thematic Vice Chair, Conservation Outcomes

Dr. Nick Salafsky is the Executive Director of Foundations of Success, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the practice of conservation. 

paola

Ms Paola MEJÍA

Thematic Vice Chair, Conservation Outcomes

With more than 20 years of experience in Protected Areas and other area-based conservation measures in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and South Africa ...

Thematic Vice Chair, Conservation Outcomes

With more than 20 years of experience in Protected Areas and other area-based conservation measures in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and South Africa, Paola has an on-the-ground understanding of different protected area models. She has worked with national protected area agencies, national and international Civil Society Organizations (Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund), and local communities. Through her work, she seeks to improve biodiversity conservation outcomes and associated benefits. She has developed innovative approaches to implement adaptive management within systems of protected areas. Paola promotes the use of meetings between Agencies of Protected Areas on the topic of adaptive management, considering these exchanges as a strategy to support innovations, and contribute to an effective management of protected areas and protected area systems. Since 2017, Paola has been part of the Green List Expert Assessment Group (EAGL) for Peru. She joined Foundations of Success in 2019 and provides coaching in adaptive management and conservation effectiveness to teams across the globe. She has a Master in Environmental Sciences (Uruguay), Master in Conservation and Biodiversity Management in the Tropics (Spain) and Bachelor in Tourism with a major in Ecotourism (Ecuador).

Dr Stephen WOODLEY

Thematic Vice Chair, Science and Biodiversity Policy

Stephen Woodley is an ecologist, who has worked in the field of protected areas for 35 years. He worked as a consultant, a field biologist ...

Thematic Vice Chair, Science and Biodiversity Policy

Stephen Woodley is an ecologist, who has worked in the field of protected areas for 35 years. He worked as a consultant, a field biologist, manager of a national fire restoration program and forest ecologist before becoming the first Chief Scientist for Parks Canada in 1992. In that position he worked on a number of issues related to protected areas, including ecological monitoring, species at risk, wildlife disease, ecological restoration and science policy. In July, 2011, Stephen began working as Senior Advisor to the Global Protected Areas Program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and continues that work as Co-Chair of the Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, jointly established by the World Commission on Protected Areas and the Species Survival Commission.