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Elizabeth Mrema confirmed head of UN Biodiversity Convention

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on Monday, June 8, 2020 appointed Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, a Tanzanian, as the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

Ms. Mrema has served as the CBD Acting Executive Secretary since December 1, 2019. She becomes the seventh Executive Secretary to head the UN Biodiversity Convention.

“It is my great honour to assume the leadership of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity at this critical time for biodiversity,” said Ms. Mrema.

She added: “The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has reaffirmed what we already know – that biodiversity is fundamental for human health – and has given us all a new urgency to protect it.

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“My immediate priority is to ensure successful negotiations in developing a robust and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework.”

The appointment of Ms. Mrema coincides with the transition from the present Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets to a new post-2020 global biodiversity framework expected to be agreed by the Conference of the Parties (COP) next year in Kunming, China.

The Zero Draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, released earlier this year, outlines five long-term goals to related to the Convention’s 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, which aims at living in harmony with nature.

The post-2020 framework, according to the UN, can play a significant role in building the resilience needed in the face of growing environmental, health and development challenges, and will be relevant for the period of reconstruction following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ms. Mrema brings with her a wealth of experience working for over two decades with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Prior to joining the CBD, Ms. Mrema was the Director of the Law Division.

From 2012 to 2014 she was the Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division, in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery and, for one year, also serviced as Acting Director to the same Division. In 2018, in addition to her role as the Law Division Director, she was also the Acting Director of the Corporate Services Division

In 2007, she received the first-ever UNEP-wide Best Manager of the Year Award, the UNEP Baobab Staff Award, for exceptional performance and dedication towards achieving the organisation’s goals.

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In 2009, she was appointed the Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Acting Executive Secretary of the UNEP/ASCOBANS and Interim Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Gorilla Agreement, all based in Bonn, Germany and held that position until 2012, thereafter joined the UNEP/Ecosystems Division in Nairobi, Kenya.

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