Her Excellency Razan Al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, has been elected President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). HE Al Mubarak is the second woman to lead IUCN in its 72-year history and its first president from West Asia.
HE Al Mubarak’s election was announced today at IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France, following a two-year international election campaign. A majority of the 1,400 IUCN member organizations, representing more than 150 countries, cast their votes in favor of HE Al Mubarak to be the 15th president of the IUCN. Representing a new generation of leadership for IUCN, HE Al Mubarak will succeed Zhang Zinsheng of China and serve a four-year term.
“Thanks to her passionate, innovative, and decisive leadership, the MBZ Fund has become a global model, showing the world that small but focused interventions on the ground can make a big difference in saving species. We know that she will bring this same sense of commitment, creativity, and collaboration to IUCN as it sets the global agenda for this crucial decade for conservation.” said His Excellency Mohamed Al Bowardi, UAE Minister of State for Defence Affairs and Vice-Chairman of EAD and Deputy Chairman of the MBZ Fund.
HE Al Mubarak, said of her election as President of IUCN, “I am truly honoured to have been elected as the 15th President of the IUCN, especially in this critical moment when we need to elevate nature conservation to the forefront of the global sustainability agenda. I am grateful to the UAE leadership and its institutions for their support, trust, confidence, and their belief not only in me but in the importance of elevating the issue of nature conservation globally. I am truly honoured to pay homage to a conservation journey commenced by our forefathers and foremothers, led by our Founder, the late Sheikh Zayed and institutionalized by so many organizations in the UAE which have continued to nurture and embrace this rich legacy of nature and its conservation.”
HE Al Mubarak began her career in conservation in 2001 when she helped to establish Emirates Nature WWF, an NGO associated with the World Wildlife Fund. At EN-WWF, she spearheaded initiatives to protect the UAE’s coral, conducted research leading to the establishment of UAE’s first mountain national park, and created the framework to protect nesting and migrating sea turtles.
In 2010, HE Al Mubarak became the youngest person to lead an Abu Dhabi government entity with her appointment as Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), an organisation for which she now serves on its board as Managing Director. In her role leading a government agency of over 1,000 employees, EAD was instrumental in the successful reintroductions of the Arabian Oryx in UAE and the Scimitar-horned Oryx in Chad.
HE Al Mubarak has also helped build the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund) into one of the world's largest philanthropic endowments supporting direct species conservation. Since 2009, the MBZ Fund has supported more than 2,250 conservation projects in 180 countries. Since spring of 2020, the MBZ Fund has also worked to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on species conservation efforts by providing relief grants to conservation organizations to help cover core overhead costs.
HE Al Mubarak was selected as one of the Top 100 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum in 2018. She also serves on the boards of Panthera, the global wildcat conservation organization, and Masdar, a future energy and sustainable development company.
The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union that harnesses the world’s most influential organizations and experts to conserve nature and accelerate a global transition to sustainable use of natural resources. Composed of more than 18,000 conservation experts and 1,400 member organisations, including states, government agencies, NGOs and indigenous peoples’ organizations, IUCN is considered the global authority on the state of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard the planet.
The only international permanent observer organization in the UN General Assembly with expertise in issues concerning biodiversity and nature conservation, IUCN has been instrumental in the creation of international conventions, including the Convention on Biodiversity, RAMSAR, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and it maintains the Red List of Threatened Species, the most comprehensive source on the conservation status of vulnerable animal and plant species, and the Green List of Protected and Conserved Species.