Whitley Award winner runs for SSC Chair

Jon Paul Rodriguez, 2003 Whitley Award winner, is running for election. A new Chairperson is due to be elected in September for IUCN the World Conservation Union’s Species Survival Commission.

Jon Paul has been nominated for this post and has published his campaign material here 

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SSC is the largest of the six expert commissions of IUCN, with a worldwide membership of 10,000 volunteers. SSC advises IUCN and its members on a broad set of scientific and technical aspects for species conservation and carries out actions focused on safeguarding the future of biodiversity. SSC also collaborates closely with international treaties related to biodiversity conservation.

Jon Paul has worked closely with the SSC’s premier output the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since he became a member of the Commission in 1991. Working in his home country, in 1995, He co-authored with Franklin Rojas-Suárez, the Red Book on Venezuelan Fauna. In 2009 he was appointed Deputy Chair of the Commission. He was also active in developing the methodology for another of IUCN’s knowledge products – the criteria for IUCN’s Red List of Ecosystems.

Jon Paul also works in grass-roots conservation having co-founded Provita a Venezuelan conservation organization established in 1987, of which he is now President. With his Whitley Award and further funding from WFN he works on Margarita Island in the Caribbean, a species hotspot with at least seven endemic birds and mammals threatened with extinction including the yellow-shouldered parrot. The Macanao Peninsula, is where most of the wild habitat remains and is the area focused on by Jon Paul and Provita. Since their establishment in the 80s, parrot nest protection schemes have resulted in a significant reduction in poaching of chicks for the pet trade. Work is underway to restore vital parrot nesting and feeding habitat impacted by sand mining, Provita also hold an annual festival to raise awareness of environmental issues as part of their outreach.

To elect the new SSC Chair, IUCN members, will choose between Jon Paul and Elizabeth Bennett, Vice President for Species Conservation at Wildlife Conservation Society, an international organization based in New York. The outcome will be announced at the IUCN Congress in Hawaii in September.

Watch this space!