Story | 25 Mar, 2024

Dr Rashid Sumaila, leading interdisciplinary economist, joins IUCN

Professor of the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, Tyler Prize winner 2023, Volvo Environment Prize winner 2017, and named as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans 2023, Dr Sumaila possesses so many professional positions, accolades, and prizes that they are difficult to list. Described by peers as “a leading interdisciplinary fisheries economist”, he joins the IUCN Union as a welcome member of the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM).   

Work, research, and eventual global recognition 

A long-time science-based Global ocean advocate, his work ranges from bioeconomics and marine ecosystem valuation to the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, marine protected areas, illegal fishing, climate change, marine plastic pollution, and oil spills. He has direct experience working in fisheries and natural resource projects in the North Atlantic region, the Southern and West African regions, and the South China Sea. Norway, Canada, Namibia, Ghana, and Hong Kong have been some of the geographical bases for his work. 

Pictured as a young ocean professional Pictured as a young ocean professional Photo: Rashid Sumaila

His research has been published in outlets such as the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Bioeconomics, Land Economics, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Environmental and Resource Economics and Ecological Economics.  

“Dr Sumaila’s continuing contributions to the natural world and human society are greatly appreciated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and we welcome him as a new member of the CEM”

(Angela Andrade, Chair, IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM))

His luminary ocean research has also hooked attention in general public-facing media, and Dr Sumaila has been cited by, among others, the Economist, the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and the Vancouver Sun. 

As a globally recognised expert he has also provided recent expert advice to the White House and US Congress, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, and parliamentary bodies in Canada and the UK. His work on international fisheries subsidies has impacted the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations as a key representative of the #StopFundingOverfishing campaign to WTO and its national government members.  

“We are proud to have such a prominent global voice associated with IUCN CEM, and we look forward to working with Prof. Sumaila in this capacity to advance Ocean protection.  

I am particularly pleased that he was able to join the IUCN delegation to the ongoing International Seabed Authority 29th Session, contributing his expertise on economic valuation of environmental externalities relating to deep sea mining in the Area.”

(Minna Epps, Global Head IUCN Ocean)

Further information on Dr Sumaila's life and work  

The IUCN Union at work - from left, Clement Chazot, Pradeep Singh, Rashid Sumaila at 1st 2024 ISA meetings, Kingston, Jamaica The IUCN Union at work - from left, Clement Chazot, Pradeep Singh, Rashid Sumaila at 1st 2024 ISA meetings, Kingston, Jamaica Photo: IUCN