UAE's Razan Al Mubarak becomes only second woman to lead global environmental agency

Web Report
Filed on September 8, 2021

Al Mubarak is also the first president from Arab world since 1978 to lead the 72-year-old global environment authority.

UAE’s Razan Al Mubarak on Wednesday was elected president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), becoming only the second woman to lead the IUCN in its 72-year history and also the first president from the Arab world since 1978.

Al Mubarak’s election was announced during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France, following a two-year international election campaign.

A majority of the member organisations, representing more than 150 countries, cast their votes in favour of Al Mubarak.

“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," said Al Mubarak after she was elected as president of IUCN.

"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 organisations in the UAE which have continued to nurture and embrace this rich legacy of nature and its conservation,” said added.

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 Mohamed Al Bowardi, UAE Minister of State for Defence Affairs and Vice-Chairman of EAD and Deputy Chairman of the MBZ Fund.

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. In 2010, she became the youngest person to lead an Abu Dhabi government entity with her appointment as Secretary-General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD). She 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. She was selected as one of the Top 100 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum in 2018.

Al Mubarak also serves on the boards of Panthera, the global wildcat conservation organisation, and Masdar.

IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

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