Conservationists meeting in person and virtually at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress have elected two WCS scientists to IUCN’s 2021-2025 Council.

Dr. Madhu Rao, Senior Advisor for WCS Asia, will chair the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA); and Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President for International Policy, will serve as a Regional Councilor for North America and the Caribbean.  

Dr. Rao is a long-term WCPA member, with deep experience in protected areas and species conservation. She supports field programs at priority sites across Asia, implementing protected area creation and management, addressing human-wildlife conflict, and engaged with policy development.

Dr. Lieberman has worked in international biodiversity conservation, at the intersection of science and policy, for her entire professional career. Currently, she directs and leads WCS’s policy engagement in multiple intergovernmental fora, including CITES, CMS, CBD, and the UNESCO-World Heritage Convention, and she is actively engaged with the CBD post-2020 biodiversity framework.

The role of the IUCN Council is to set strategic direction and policy guidance for the work of the Union. It provides oversight and guidance on the performance of the components of the Union as a whole and of the Director General in particular.

Said WCS President and CEO Dr. Cristián Samper, “We congratulate our colleagues Dr. Madhu Rao and Dr. Sue Lieberman whose decades of experience and commitment to conservation will serve the IUCN Council and members of IUCN well in these challenging times. We are grateful to Dr. John Robinson, former Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science at WCS, for serving on the IUCN Council for the past nine years. These dedicated conservationists will help advance IUCN’s ambitious global mission in the coming years.

“We also congratulate the newly elected president of IUCN, Razan al Mubarak of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi. Her experience and commitment to species conservation will be important to IUCN in the coming years, and we stand ready to support her in this new role.”

WCS supports IUCNs commitment to combat biodiversity loss, climate change, and emerging diseases, and to make IUCN the foremost scientific authority on environmental issues by elevating the voice and strengths of its members across global platforms to promote conservation and sustainable development.

Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) brings together conservation leaders and decision-makers, representing the more than 1,400 IUCN members.  These include governments, government agencies, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The goal of the IUCN Congress is to influence the direction of conservation and global sustainable development for the next four years and to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development.

The IUCN Council in the coming years will need to guide IUCN and its membership in multiple ways, including to combat the interconnected biodiversity, climate change, and pandemics. WCS looks forward to working with IUCN, its members and the newly elected Council on these endeavors.