Champion for Nature, Biodiversity and Conserving #30×30: Elizabeth Mrema

Art: Annabel Driussi for Our Daily Planet

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, a lifelong diplomat from the United Republic of Tanzania, in late 2019 assumed the role of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in the countdown to the Convention’s 2020 Conference of the Parties with the potential for the sixth wave of mass extinctions hanging in the balance. A May 2019 report by a panel of global expert scientists found that “nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now.”  No pressure!

But Maruma Mrema has the experience and stick-to-it-ness for the task.  She is a lawyer by training and before taking on her current role had worked with UN Environment Program for more than 20 years on the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws at the national, regional, and international levels. In her time at the United Nations, she worked on the ground on capacity building and compliance and enforcement projects related to environmental law and various multilateral environmental conventions.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the delay of the CBD Conference of the Parties, it gave the body some extra time to get organized behind a common goal — conserving thirty percent of the planet by 2030.  And Maruma Mrema was quite clear about the steep challenge ahead.  Last year when we spoke with her, she was brutally honest about the fact that the nations of the world had not made the UN goal of conserving ten percent of the planet by 2020 while remaining optimistic about the future given growing support for #30×30.

To Go Deeper: Watch our interview with her here.

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