My interests are in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and its interface with indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights and livelihoods, and with broader human economic activities and social trajectories. I have particular interests in sustainable use of wild resources, community wildlife management and conservation, wildlife trade and its regulation, poaching and wildlife crime, the precautionary principle and its application to various sectors, biodiversity offsets, and national and international biodiversity governance and policy. I am a disciplinary and sectoral boundary-crosser, with a history of engaging knowledge from diverse quarters and convening dialogue to address topical issues, and analysing and distilling research findings to inform practice and policy.
I have spent most of my career in international conservation organisations (mainly IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature), with stints in academic roles (as a Research Fellow at Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW and convening International Environmental Policy at Fenner), in government, and as a consultant (to international organisations, governments and the private sector).
From 2012 until recently I led an active program of work for the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (a joint initiative of IUCN’s SSC and CEESP), a diverse and interdisciplinary expert network of >300. I convened global interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral groups to generate new thinking on topical conservation issues (such as community-based responses to illegal wildlife trade and the use of indigenous and local knowledge in IUCN Red List assessments), led the synthesis of research findings into policy-relevant guidance and briefing papers (such as on the conservation and livelihood impacts of trophy hunting), and carried out research and analysis to inform policy deliberations (for instance on community-based wildlife management for the UN Environment Assembly). A strong focus in recent years has been supporting the inclusion of indigenous and community voices and perspectives in conservation deliberations, through supporting community leaders to participate in global meetings and debates.
Leadership roles include:
- UN Secretary-General’s Science Advisory Board
- Deputy Chair, Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife
- Advisory Council, Luc Hoffmann Institute.
I currently sit on the Science and Technical Advisory Panel to the Global Environment Facility (GEF-STAP), which provides strategic scientific and technical advice on GEF policies, programs and projects. I am currently carrying out these responsibilities while carrying out consultancies for international organisations, and developing a number of research ideas and projects.