Dr Bruno Oberle named IUCN Director General

Gland, Switzerland, 13 July 2020 (IUCN) – The International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, has announced the appointment of Dr Bruno Oberle as Director General, starting today. He succeeds Inger Andersen who served as Director General from 2015 to 2019 and is now Executive Director at the United Nations Environment Programme. Dr Grethel Aguilar, Director of the Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, has been serving as Acting Director General since June 2019.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Bruno to IUCN,” said IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng. “He brings an impressive breadth of experience spanning over 40 years at a time when redefining our relationship with nature is more urgent than ever. Bruno has the high-level profile and track-record needed to lead IUCN into the post-2020 period. We are extremely grateful to Grethel Aguilar for an outstanding job leading the Secretariat during what proved to be a very challenging interim period.”

Dr Bruno Oberle is a former Swiss State Secretary and an environmental expert who has served in some of the country’s most prestigious positions related to the environment. As State Secretary for the Environment, he represented Switzerland in leading international institutions and international negotiations, playing a key role in the Global Environment Facility and in the establishment of the Green Climate Fund. He is a leading expert in the fields of sustainable resource management and green economy who has explored and shaped the interface between environmental policy, economic development and social balance from the perspective of state regulator, entrepreneur and scientist.

“I am delighted and honoured to be taking on the role of Director General at IUCN,” said Dr Bruno Oberle. “For over 70 years, IUCN has brought together the world’s most important protagonists of nature conservation, producing some of the sector’s most important science, standards, recommendations and more. I look forward to working with IUCN’s Membership, its Commission experts and, of course, the many dedicated staff around the world. Together, I’m confident that we can build a world in which a more sustainable use of natural resources can bring greater benefits to humanity. I am especially grateful to Grethel Aguilar for ensuring IUCN’s leadership over the past year.”

Prior to joining IUCN Dr Oberle served as Chair of the Green Economy and Resource Governance program at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where he also headed the International Risk Governance Centre. Since 2019, he has chaired the Global Tailings Review, which aims to establish an international standard for the safe management of tailings storage facilities that can be applied to dams around the world.

After completing his studies at the ETH Zurich, Dr Oberle founded and managed companies in the field of environmental consulting and environmental management. In, 1999 he was appointed as deputy director of the Federal Office for the Environment, Forests and Landscape in Switzerland. He then became the director of the newly created Federal Office for the Environment in 2005 – a post he held while State Secretary - before leaving to join EPFL in 2016.


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