Congratulations to Jon Paul Rodriguez, 2003 Whitley Award winner, on his recent election! Jon Paul now leads the Species Survival Commission (SSC), the largest of the six expert commissions of The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with a worldwide membership of 10,000 volunteers.
Jon Paul from Venezuela, is the first Chair from South America in the Commission’s history. His priorities are for national conservation, capacity development and regional representation. He has been Deputy Chair for the last eight years and is well versed in the vital products that the 140 SSC Specialist Groups and Task Forces contribute to, such as the Red List of Threatened Species. He is also a member of the Steering Committee for the Red List of Ecosystems which aims to have established the first global list of threatened ecosystems by 2025 to help guide conservation and development decisions.
SSC’S major role is to provide information to IUCN on biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of species, their role in ecosystem health and functioning, and their support to human livelihoods. SSC members also provide scientific advice to conservation organisations, government agencies and other IUCN members, and support the implementation of biodiversity-related international treaties. Many other Whitley Award winners are contributors to SSC as members of the Commission. In the coming months, following his election, Jon Paul will renew the SSC membership for the next four years.
Jon Paul won his Whitley Award for his work in Macano, a species hotspot with at least seven endemic birds and mammals threatened with extinction. He continues to work with this grassroots project on the threatened yellow-shouldered parrot and its habitats. He is a co-founder and current President of Provita in Venezuela and is also a Professor at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC).