IUCN Oceania congratulates Lolita Gibbons-Decherong and Catherine Iorns on their election and Peter Cochrane for his re-election as IUCN Councillors from the Oceania region covering Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island countries.
Twenty-eight Councillors were elected from the eight IUCN regions at the recent IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France. The IUCN Council has oversight of IUCN’s governance, strategic direction and performance. Councillors elected from the regions also act as IUCN Ambassadors, working to serve the interest and mission of IUCN in the regions of Africa, Meso and South America, North America and the Caribbean, South and East Asia, West Asia, East Europe, North and Central Asia, West Europe and Oceania.
Lolita Gibbons-Decherong, the Program Manager for the Palau Conservation Society, brings to IUCN her wealth of experience in navigating local, social and political landscapes to support the protection of biodiversity, critical habitats for endangered species, and people’s livelihoods. Facilitating community-based protected areas, building home-grown talents, ushering private lands into conservation, working with local and national government to develop sustainable fisheries frameworks and fundraising for conservation are just some of the experiences she brings to IUCN.
“I am humbled to have my colleague’s confidence to serve as Councillor. I look forward to working with the new Council and with President Razan Al Mubarak’s leadership to move the dial on climate change, bring meaningful changes to our communities, and positive gains to biodiversity,” said Lolita Gibbons-Decherong.
Lolita replaces Ana Tiraa of the Cooks Islands who has served as IUCN Regional Councilor for the past two terms.
“It has been great getting to know more about our organisation, especially the different parts and machinery of the union. We are unique with a diverse range of Members, individuals and organisations that make up our union and who care about our planet. It was an honour and privilege to serve nine years on Council. I wish Lolita, Catherine and Peter all the best on the new look Council. Thank you also to the Oceania region for your support. I look forward to crossing paths again. For in nature we are one,” highlighted Ana Tiraa.
Catherine Iorns is an Environmental Law Professor at Victoria University in Wellington. She teaches biodiversity and conservation law, as well as climate change law and policy, and has won awards for her teaching and research. Her wealth of knowledge and experience in academia, NGO Boards, environmental justice, human rights and her understanding of sustainability issues and governance processes are also just some of the experiences she will bring to IUCN.
“I am honoured and delighted to serve as IUCN Councillor. I am deeply committed to the vision of a just world that values and conserves nature, and am privileged to be serving alongside so many others and in an organisation that share these goals. I hope we can make a real difference, and I will work hard to help make that happen,” shared Catherine Iorns.
Catherine replaces Andrew Bignell of NZ who has also served as IUCN Regional Councillor for the past two terms.
“It has been a privilege to serve on the IUCN Council and be a part of its on-going evolution as it governs in the interests of all Members globally. It has many challenges ahead of it and I am confident the new Council will rise to meet these. I am sure it will govern with foresight and wisdom”, mentioned Andrew Bignell.
Peter Cochrane, who has been elected for his second term as IUCN Councillor, continues to bring to IUCN his breadth of experience and expertise in national and international environmental policy, natural resources management and governance. He provides a passionate voice for nature highlighting the importance for human and planetary health, together with a sound understanding of good governance.
“I am honoured to be able to serve a second term on Council, and excited to be part of the new Council under the inspiring leadership of our new President Razan Al Mubarak. The world is facing enormous challenges, and IUCN’s voice for nature needs to be more influential and more effective to help navigate a just and equitable future for all life on our planet. I look forward to working with new colleagues from Oceania, our Members and the energetic team at ORO,” expressed Peter Cochrane.
IUCN Oceania wishes to extend its warm welcome to the new Councillors from Oceania and look forward to working closely with them.
“I take this opportunity to thank both Ms. Anna Tiraa and Mr. Andrew Bignell for their advice and wise counsel over the years and for their distinguished service and contribution to the work of IUCN in the region and the Union in general. I have no doubt that they will continue to serve IUCN in their personal capacity in the future. I welcome Ms. Lolita Gibbons-Decherong and Ms. Catherine Iorns for their election to the IUCN Council and I look forward to working closely with them in the years ahead. My congratulations also to Mr. Peter Cochrane for his re-election to the IUCN Council,” said Mason Smith, Regional Director of IUCN Oceania.
Members also elected the Chairs of IUCN’s Commissions, which bring together over 18,000 volunteer experts from around the world in a range of disciplines from species conservation to environmental law and protected area management. The Commissions assess the state of the world’s natural resources and provide the Union with expert knowledge and policy advice on conservation issues.