By Friends of Razan
June 8, 2020

At this critical moment, as the world must unite to overcome this global pandemic, we believe Razan Al Mubarak is uniquely qualified to guide the IUCN and ensure that we emerge with even greater respect for science and the power of collective action.


Razan's experiences in leading the largest environmental regulator in the Middle East, an NGO focused on citizen engagement, and an international philanthropic organization that has supported conservation projects in over 160 countries provide her with a unique perspective from which to lead the IUCN. With more than 20 years of conservation leadership in a region rife with competing interests, she would bring to the IUCN a strong record of forging solutions that value and protect nature while promoting sustainable development.

If elected, she would be only the second woman to lead the IUCN in its 72-year history and the first president from the Arab world since 1978. She would also be the first woman from Asia to serve as the Union's president.

Razan has played a significant role in shaping the UAE's evolution to a more sustainable future. As the former head of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), she secured the commitment of the government to adopt targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% — the first carbon target in the region — and to double its protected wildlife areas to 30% by 2030. Her agency has also overseen the successful breeding of captive Scimitar-horned oryx in Abu Dhabi as well as their reintroduction back into the wild in Chad, thus seeing a species that is listed as Extinct in the Wild now increase its numbers in its natural habitat.

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To build a green future, Razan led the EAD in introducing sustainability education in schools, while fostering the government's commitment to international engagement. Partnerships like the Eye on Earth environmental data initiative, convening four meetings of IUCN Species Survival Commission since 2008, and hosting one of two offices of Convention on Migratory Species have brought resources and expertise into — and out of — the UAE.

As the founding director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Razan has also helped to build one of the world's largest philanthropic endowments supporting direct species conservation.

Razan began her career in conservation by helping to establish Emirates Nature, a local NGO affiliated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); she now serves as its managing director. The group has taken significant steps to protect the UAE's coral, conducted field surveys that led to the establishment of the country's first mountain national park, and created the framework and culture to protect nesting and migrating sea turtles.

Razan's vision for the IUCN is grounded in a commitment to work closely with all IUCN constituencies, including young people and local communities. This kind of leadership is critical in an increasingly polarized world with conflicting perspectives on nature conservation. She will make securing the finances of the IUCN a top priority by cultivating the commitment of donors who understand the value of the IUCN. Most importantly, working closely with all IUCN members, she will ensure the successful implementation of the IUCN Programme 2021-2024.

Under Razan's leadership, we believe the IUCN can play a more powerful and effective role than ever before in strengthening global conservation efforts. We invite you to join us in supporting Razan's vision to make the union stronger at a time when its mission is crucial to the world's future.

Best regards,
The Friends of Razan Committee


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