Ana María Hernández Salgar has been appointed as the new Chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
The IPBES Plenary approved her appointment at the conclusion of its seventh session in Paris, France – the same session that saw the approval of the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Formerly the Head of the International Affairs Office in the Colombian Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, Ms. Hernández Salgar has been the Head of International Affairs, Policy and Cooperation at the Alexander von Humboldt Research Institute for Biological Resources since 2010.
She served as the Vice-Chair of the Bureau of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) from 2003 to 2005; as a member of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s Expert Group on Access and Benefit Sharing from 1999 to 2012; and has been a member of Colombia’s national delegations to international negotiations related to biodiversity, including multilateral agreements such as the CBD, but also at bilateral level for free trade agreements with, among others, the United States, Canada and the EFTA.
Ms. Hernández Salgar was a professor at El Rosario University and Javeriana University from 2008 to 2017, and has been Colombia’s National Focal Point for IPBES since 2012, and also supervised the IPBES Technical Support Unit for the Regional Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas.
Reacting to her election, she said: “It is a real honour to take on these fundamental challenges. The impact of the IPBES Global Assessment over just the past week has shown the urgent need to take action – based on the best available evidence – for sustainability. The enormous IPBES collective process involves governments, organisations, experts and stakeholders from around the world – representing a wide and very valuable range of knowledge systems – including those of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.”
Turning to the work that lies ahead for IPBES, Ms. Hernández Salgar added: “We face a wonderful challenge with the approved work programme for IPBES to the year 2030, especially in the context of the sustainable development and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. More than ever we need to strengthen the dialogue between science and policy-makers, to ensure measurable, achievable and concrete actions for people and nature.”
Ms. Hernández Salgar replaces Sir Robert Watson, who served as Chair of IPBES since 2016. She is the first woman to serve in the role since the establishment of IPBES in 2012.