Association of Zoos and Aquariums Endorses Razan Al Mubarak for IUCN President

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has endorsed Razan Al Mubarak for President of the IUCN. This is the first time in the organization’s history it has endorsed a candidate for the IUCN Presidency. 

In the endorsement, the AZA stated: 

“We need a leader who offers skilled management and a courageous, strategic vision. Someone who will not just sail the IUCN ship, but set it to a better course. We believe Razan Al Mubarak’s 20-plus years of experience in government, sustainability, citizen engagement and philanthropy make her that candidate. 

If elected, she will be only the second woman to lead the IUCN in its 72-year history. And importantly, the fact that she is the mother to a young daughter will make her a more influential leader, more relatable, and more able to inspire conservation’s next-generation. These characteristics are particularly critical for the person who will lead IUCN at this crucial moment.”

Founded in 1924, AZA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and 12 other countries.

Read more about AZA’s endorsement of Razan al Mubarak at AZA Connect.

Razan Al Mubarak calls biodiversity loss an existential challenge at Reverse the Red event

Biodiversity loss needs to be elevated as an existential challenge on the global agenda, equal in urgency to climate change, according Razan Al Mubarak, who told a Reverse the Red live webinar on December 9th that IUCN is best positioned to lead the effort. 

Reverse the Red is a global movement that ignites strategic cooperation and action to ensure the survival of wild species and ecosystems, providing tools and partnerships to unite stakeholders and catalyze conservation impact. 

Co-hosted by the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summit, the panel also featured Yolanda Kakabadse, the first woman to serve as IUCN President; Asha de Vos, Executive Director and Founder of Oceanswell; Kris Tompkins, President of Tompkins Conservation; and Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary at CBD. 

“We need IUCN now more than ever,” said Ms. Al Mubarak. “When the fabric of our existence is being threatened we need an IUCN that is fit for purpose. The world is changing, things are moving very, very fast and we can’t be the only ones that are walking in a race

Ms. Al Mubarak summarized her vision for the organization in three points:

  • Focusing on the core of IUCN, which is nature conservation, in order to improve its knowledge products and to make these available to local communities.
  • Redesigning internal policies to streamline the work of IUCN to better serve its members, respond to externalities, and expand communication.
  • Fostering collaboration with other global institutions and with its own members in order to empower local conservationists, indigenous communities, and our youth.

Ms. Al Mubarak closed her remarks by paraphrasing the Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, saying “even though we may carry pessimism of the intellect, we need optimism of the heart. We must not be discouraged in the face of challenging circumstances, when our work is needed most.”