In memoriam: Dr Kathy MacKinnon
It is with enormous sadness that IUCN and the World Commission on Protected Areas announce the sudden passing of Kathy MacKinnon, a stalwart of protected areas and of conservation globally.
There are many ways to describe Kathy - friend, mentor, committed conservationist, scientist, passionate advocate, dedicated organiser, funny and inspired, to name just a few. Our hearts reach out to her three sons and grandchildren, who we heard much about. Kathy called IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas her second family, where she made many deep friendships across the Union.
Kathy was an inspiration to the whole conservation community, within and beyond IUCN. Her dedication to the work of the Union on protected areas was unmatched. I am confident I speak on behalf of the Union when I say, the planet has lost one of its main defenders. You will be truly missed, Kathy.
Bruno Oberle, Director General, IUCN
Kathy worked tirelessly, championing protected areas and OECMs as being critically important for biodiversity conservation. Nature has lost one of its greatest allies; we have a responsibility to honour her important legacy by continuing her work the best we can.
Madhu Rao, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas
Kathy had a legendary career in conservation. She received her PhD in Zoology from Oxford University and spent ten years in Indonesia working on tropical ecology research and protected areas planning and management. She worked with many international and national conservation NGOs, as well as government agencies in developing countries. For 16 years, Kathy was the Lead Biodiversity Specialist with the World Bank where she found ways to include conservation outcomes in development investments. She is the author of over 100 scientific books and publications, including recent books that promote protected areas as proven and sustainable natural solutions, helping societies to cope with climate change. In 2007, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Conservation Biology and in 2018, she was awarded the Midori Prize for Biodiversity.
Prominent in many international forums for protected areas, Kathy was on the International Steering Committee for the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 held in Sydney, Australia, and a leading contributor to the development of the programme for that Congress, leading to the Promise of Sydney. Serving firstly as Deputy Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, she then served two terms as Chair until 2021. As an IUCN Councilor, she served on the Finance and Audit Committee, and most prominently in the Preparatory Committee for the IUCN Congress held in 2021 in Marseille. She was also a dedicated member of the World Protected Areas Leadership Forum.
She was a constant member of IUCN's many delegations to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Working Group implementing the Programme of Work on Protected Areas, the implementation of the far-reaching Target 11 on Protected Areas, and the negotiations towards the new 30x30 Target of the Global Biodiversity Framework. She became Chair of the Target 11 Partnership, working closely with the CBD to spur efforts to achieve all elements of the Target. During this time, she was also very active in the many WCPA Specialist Groups and Task Forces that have defined international nature conservation policy and practice. In particular, she championed the linkages between protected areas and climate change adaptation and mitigation, and led the process for defining "other effective area-based conservation measures".
In her words, “Protected areas of many kinds not only give sanctuary to the wonder of 4.5 billion years of evolution but, in holding species and ecosystems, they protect the fundamental underpinning of human livelihoods, economies and wellbeing. They are a key tool in maintaining the sustainability of life on Earth and in combatting the ravages of climate change,”
As Chair, she was particularly dedicated to ensuring the WCPA produced high-quality guidance on many topics related to the governance and management of protected areas. She contributed to the development of the IUCN Green List Standard, and served as the Chair of the Green List Committee that placed the first sites on the IUCN Green List.
Many will remember Kathy's dedication and consistent involvement in many aspects of IUCN's conservation work. For example she co-chaired the International Steering Committees for the Second Asia Parks Congress, and the Inaugural IUCN African Protected Areas Congress, examining and ensuring that every detail was addressed in the planning and organisation of these Congresses. Fearless and objective, she also served on the Independent Panel of Experts that reviewed and assessed allegations of human rights abuses in and around protected areas.
Today we remember her courage, dedication, friendship and leadership in helping define contemporary approaches and challenges for protected and conserved areas worldwide, and the way in which she inspired so many.
Please feel free to reflect on your own experience and memory of Kathy in the comments section below and we will make this available to her family and friends, who will be pleased to know how Kathy touched their lives and work.
Vale Kathy McKinnon
Another sad day with the loss of another valued friend and colleague last night. Kathy and I started work together at the World Bank at the end of 1993 and we worked together on many forest and biodiversity issues. A champion for biodiversity conservation and protected areas she always approached her work with dedication, intellectual rigour, insight and a wonderfully wicked sense of fun. She has left the world a better place for her far too short a stay on our planet.
My heartfelt condolences. May God bless the parted soul.
Her book 'Managing Protected Areas in the Tropics' was the main reference when we started the protected area management training courses for reserve managers from China in 1990. Rest in peace, Kathy.
I was Kathy MacKinnon’s assistant in Indonesia
I was broken hearted leaning the passing of Dr.Kathy ‘MacKinnon.I was her assistant when she was writing The Ecology of Kalimantan.I lived with her in Bogor (West Java) and the. Worked for WWF in Jakarta.Yes,I was on a shoulder of the Giant. A very proud Texan indeed.
Dr Kathy and Ken Proud
I have very fond memories of Kathy and her boys. We spent some exciting childhood days together in Bogor, Indo, Haddenam, UK and Scotland.
My father Ken Proud passed away on the day of her funeral.
I hope they had a good catch up on their onward journey x x x
In Memory of Kathy McKinnon
Kathy was a great leader and mentor to me. Her kind and inclusive approach to get young people like me involved in protected areas conservation will forever live in my memory. I still remember our very recent discussion and the genuine attention she gave me. I also believe that this is a sad lost for the conservation sphere, for humanity and the beautiful nature she tirelessly dedicated her life to.
I hope she will be happy of all the people like me that she inspired.
It's a sad news and big loss of a great influencer in the field of Environmental issues and a great contributer to IUCN family
You'll always be missed
REST IN PEACE
My sincere condolences
Though I knew Dr Kathy McKinnon only slightly, I am very saddened to get the news of her untimely passing. Her death will be a great loss to the world in the protection and conservation of biodiversity. My condolences to her family and her dear ones.
I feel a personal loss over this sad news. Kathy was a not just a colleague but a dear friend. Her dedication and support to African Protected Areas practitioners will forever remain a legacy to us. WCPA has lost a champion who fought hard for deserved attention and support even within IUCN. Rest well my friend......!
Condolescens for Kathy McKinon
A great loss for the world in the protection and conservation in biodiversity. My condolescens to her family. Rest in Peace Kathy.
My sincerest condolences to the family of Kathy and to IUCN community for this great loss. Kathy was a peaceful and loving person that we enjoyed working with. I remember her smile and her tireless efforts in making our world more beautiful with protected areas for biodiversity conservation. I knew her when we were both Councillors at IUCN and talked together many times during the IUCN Congress. May her soul rest in peace and give her family strength to bear this heavy burden.
Farewell Kathy McKinnon
Your generosity was always at least on par with your tremendous commitment, passion, intelligence, discipline, ingenuity and sense of service. We made a great team at WCPA. Thank you for being the better part of it. Those were great years and your legacy is well and growing.
We will all honor your life and example by continuing to contribute to conservation.
You will be close to my heart, my mind and my soul forever. Farewell.
Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich and the Enkerlin Madero Family.
I am shocked by this news.
I first learned to know Kathy during the time she worked in Indonesia in the seventies.
Kathy was very passionate about everything what she did for conservation.
We developed a friendship in Indonesia and after that period I met her many times at World Conservation Congresses and other IUCN events. I am very sad by her passing away. Her contribution to conservation is immense. She will be remembered.
I personally met Kathy at the first African Congress on Protected Areas in Kigali, Rwanda. I keep from our meeting a person who has dedicated her life to the conservation of nature.
All is vanity, you are born dust and you will return to dust. Your work on this earth is done, go and rest in peace Kathy.
In memory of Kathy MacKinnon
It is with heavy heart that I heard today of Kathy's passing. A visionary, inspiring, tireless conservation leader, Kathy used her position and influence to create the space for young and diverse leaders across the conservation movement through her decades of work in the field, with the World Bank and at the helm of WCPA. She made me laugh and showed the importance purpose-driven action. I am a better person for knowing her and am grateful for the privilege of working alongside her greatness.
Her work will live on
This is such sad news, we have lost a conservation legend and inspiration to generations. Farewell Kathy, your work will live on in all the people you guided and mentored.
Another conservation giant has disappeared
We mourn the disappearance of Kathy, a true giant of conservation. When I sat my first steps into this field, "Managing protected areas in the tropics" authored by Kathy and John, was the bible. Over the years I got to know Kathy and appreciated her dedication and passion for conservation. An inspiration for all of us. Bon voyage Kathy, we willmiss you. Heartfelt condolences to the entire family.
Such a sad and unexpected news.. selamat jalan Ibu Kathy
Ibu Kathy, selamat jalan. Doa kami bersama Ibu dalam perjalanan abadi ini.
Knowing her for more than decades, from my childhood until my professional time, made me realize that Dr. Kathy MacKinnon is a true inspiration - a role model. I still remember the first encounter at her house in Bogor, Indonesia when she worked together with my father on forest and species conservation. Years later, we met again and talked about MPA, OECM, and Green List. This is such really sad and unexpected news.
Kathy was a joy to work with - vast knowledge, boundless energy, and always so much fun to talk to, even (or maybe especially) if she didn’t agree with you! She worked all her life to make the world a better place, and the world seems smaller without her in it. She will be missed by everyone who knew her.
Dr. Kathy MacKinnon
It is the wonderful knowledge and experience sharing by Dr.Kathy that the world Nature Conservation Community has lost. Dr Kathy as a great biodiversity expert had guided and showed many unbiased leadership qualities. May her soul rest in peace.
Kathy was such an inspiration to conservation and so passionate about the role IUCN could play as the world's pre-eminent conservation organisation. So great to have spent time with her in my conservation career as DG of Dept of Conservation in NZ and CEO of Antarctica NZ. We will all miss her so much!
My deepest condolences
Dr Kathy MacKinnon's lifelong advocacy for protected areas served as an inspiration. I am heartened that she was able to witness the recent agreement to the high seas treaty and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Let her legacy serve as an inspiration for us to rededicate ourselves to championing these landmark agreements, especially as we continue to move forward through this crucial decade for nature and climate. May her soul rest in peace and her legacy live within all of us.
In deep appreciation...
May you rest in eternal peace, your contributions to conservation are immense, and may we all continue to be inspired by your life's work, sending peace and love to the McKinnon family.
A great loss
I met Kathy at the inaugural APAC in Rwanda last year. Kathy was kind, generous, humble and hilarious. She didn't know me but she treated me like she had known me for a long time. Kathy was a kind hearted heap of joy and I am truly grateful I got to meet her in 2022. Her commitments to conservation are unparalleled. May she live on in the many hearts and lives she touched while she walked this earth.
She was a bright light
I knew her at the World Bank where she was a bright and inspiring light, pretty darn funny too with a twinkle in her eye. May the world be filled with more people like Kathy ❤️
Kathy's publication on PAs has assisted us in Malaysia greatly in the designation and managent of PAs. My heartfelt condolences to her family and friends
Unforgettable Memory with Kathy
I am saddened to know this shocking news and my sincere condolences to the family of Kathy. She was always my mentor at the Counci meetings of IUCN. Above all, she gave me good advices for mainstreaming Youth throughout IUCN. We danced together with joy when she was awarded MIDORI PRIZE of AEON!
May her soul rest in peace.
Kathy was a stalwart and an early visionary of the inseparability of biodiversity, climate, and protected area solutions. I honour her life and her contribution to our planet and our broad community. Thank you Kathy!
Thank you Kathy
For all you did to help and support the global conservation community. You gave me direction, inspiration and advice and eve after so many years since briefly meeting you, I still remember your charisma and feel a great sense of loss at the sad news. My deepest condolences to your family and my thoughts and prayers are with them. Your legacy will never be forgotten. May you rest in peace.
Deeply saddened by the news. Heartfelt Condolences 🙏.
Go, Kathy. It's time for you to rest. You have done your best. It's now our obligation to carry forth your legacy. So, rest where the wilderness is pristine, where wildlife roams free, and where waters run wild. Rest in Protected Areas...
Our deepest and sincerest condolence to the loved ones of Ms McKinnon. She's a great loss.
What a loss
Kathy McKinnon was dedicated, hard working and effective. An inspiration to women colleagues also. The biodiversity of the planet will be lesser because of her untimely passing.
Kathy was a household name in conservation and a key architect of the contemporary conservation paradigm. Though I did not know her on a personal level, I have always been connected through her works and being in the same meetings with her, more recently at the inaugural IUCN APAC in Kigali, Rwanda and CBD COP15 in Montreal, among many others. My heartfelt condolences to her family and May Her Soul Rest In Peace.
My sincere condolences
My sincere condolencias to family and comunity IUCN specially WCPA for this great loss. For ever, remember his action for conservación and preservation of biodiversity. Kiss
I am sorry we did not get to meet in person at last in Bishkek this summer. Your untimely passing is shocking and we will do our best to further your work and your ideas, especially on OECMs, in Central Asia. Sending my love to your family, children, grandchildren and community of friends and colleagues. tanya
Kathy was a welcoming and warm hearted lady and a highly effective warrior for the preservation of our planet - her legacy lives on!
Mes Sincères condoléances à la famille et l'UICN, que son Âme réponse en paix, tout en souhaitant que nous puissions continuer à promouvoir ses efforts et son combat pour la conservation de la Nature.
Elle restera à jamais dans nos mémoires.
Very very sad news. This is a a great loss to the world of protection and conservation of biodiversity. My deepest condolences to her family, friends and IUCN community for this great loss. May her soul rest in peace. Pray Almighty to give her family strength to bear this heavy burden.
She will always be missed
It's shocking and very sad news. A big loss to nature conservation. Sincere tribute to this great conservationist. Heartfelt condolences to bereaved family and friends. May the noble soul rest in peace
Rest in Peace
May you rest in peace Dr. Kathy!!
a tragic loss
Kathy has been a dear friend of my wife Suze and mine since we met in Indonesia in 1980. Kathy helped ease us into life there and many culinary adventures. That was her very human side. We remained friends and colleagues bound by our commitment to protected areas, mine primarily in or beside the sea. Kathy set an inspiring example through her prodigious energy devoted to WCPA, IUCN matters, and conservation broadly. We will miss Kathy enormously and all the good she did for our planet.
My sincere condolences
My sincere condolences
Kathy will be forever remembered
We are shocked and so saddened by the tragic loss of Kathy!!
Her passion, her contribution, her great widsom will inspire us forever.
Kathy's legacy will continue to inspire generations of conservationists to come. Her work has helped to shape the way we think about conservation and has paved the way for a more sustainable future. Her passing is a great loss to the scientific community, and she will be dearly missed.
Please forward our deepest sympathy to Kathy's family and all her loved!
In Memory of Kathy MacKinnon.
It is with great sadness that I learned of Kathy's passing. As a member of WCPA, I worked a lot with her on PAs as Natural Solutions to climate change. I was able to present the experiences of Madagascar on this theme at several side events organized by IUCN WCPA. Thank you very much Kathy for all these opportunities and for the examples you have given us. May your soul rest in peace. My sincere condolences also to James MacKinnon and all the family.
Champion of local language fieldguides
In addition to the accolades of Kathy's great commitment to protected areas and WCPA, I wanted to highlight another of her contributions, from her days at the World Bank alongside the late Tony Whitten (himself Chair of the IUCN SSC Cave Invertebrate Specialist Group). Kathy and Tony set up a long-running programme to support writing and publication of fieldguides in local languages, opening the door to biodiversity knowledge for a subatantial proportion of the world's people. Thank you, Kathy!
My condolence to the family and friends of Kathy, and all IUCN community, Kathy build a strong bridge for us, to keep closing on , and we shall all keep remembering her on the foundation she had raid in our organization .
May her soul rest in peace
Tribute to Cathy
This is a huge loss for the family - my sincere condolences!
This is also a big loss for WCPA - Cathy was a wonderful supporter of World Heritage globally and we will deeply miss her. Her contribution to protected areas will be always remembered! Mechtild Rössler (Director UNESCO World Heritage Centre 2015-2021)
Honouring Kathy and her legacy
It is with great sadness that we hear of Kathy's passing. She was a stalwart of conservation within a development paradigm. She was also a great mentor, funny and kind. It was an honour and an education to work with her on WCPA and the faith she placed in me and others, over the years and Congresses. She leaves an inspiring legacy.
My deepest condolences
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