20 Jun 2013

New BirdLife Global Council elected

By Adrian Long

Before every BirdLife World Congress, the entire Global Partnership meets to debate and endorse strategic issues, and elect new officers, including the members of the Global Council. The following Council members were elected unanimously. BirdLife’s incoming Chairman Khaled Anis Irani is President of The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, RSCN (BirdLife Partner in Jordan). He brings a wealth of experience, both from his time at RSCN, and from his work as one of his country’s most dynamic and influential politicians. Most recently, he served in Jordan’s Government, first as Minister of Environment, then as Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources.

Achilles Byaruhanga is Executive Director of BirdLife Partner Nature Uganda. He is also chair of various boards including the Nile Basin Discourse, a partnership of civil society organizations in 11 Nile Basin countries, supporting and promoting Nile Cooperation and sustainable use of Nile basin resources, and the Mgahinga and Bwindi Forest Impenetrable Conservation Trust, Uganda.

Zeba Idrissa is Executive Director of NATURAMA, the BirdLife Partner, in Burkina Faso. He is also Vice-President of the National Water Commission, a member of the Executive Council of NGOs in Burkina Faso, and Secretary General of the West and Central Africa regional community of members of IUCN. Yvonne A. Arias is Executive Director of Grupo Jaragua (BirdLife Affiliate for the Dominican Republic). She is also a member of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and Species Survival Group, vice-president of the IUCN national committee, and Chair of BirdLife’s Americas Regional Council. David Díaz joined Aves y Conservación (BirdLife in Ecuador) as Executive Director in 2010, after more than six years working at the BirdLife Secretariat for the Americas, coordinating the IBA programme in the region. He has a deep knowledge of the BirdLife Partnership in the Americas, and of how BirdLife works at regional and national level.

Peg R. Olsen is Chief Conservation Officer of the National Audubon Society (BirdLife in the USA), where she versees Audubon’s 23 State Programs as well as the national Science, Education, Policy, and International Alliances programs. She has served on the BirdLife International Global Council since 2010.

Sarath Wimalabandara Kotagama was co-founder in 1976 of BirdLife Affiliate the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL), and has been its President, Secretary and Treasurer. He has also served on the BirdLife Asia Council. He is Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Colombo, where FOGSL is based. He formulated Sri Lanka’s National Wildlife National Wetland Conservation Policies, and represents Sri Lanka at meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Shawn Lum has been President of the Nature Society (Singapore), NSS, BirdLife’s Partner in Singapore, since 2008. Lecturer in the Natural Sciences and Science Education at Singapore’s National Institute of Education, his research focuses on the impacts of forest fragmentation and degradation. He has made the public understanding of environmental science a major part of his work.

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Luís Costa has been Chief Executive Officer of Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves, SPEA (BirdLife Partner in Portugal) since 2004, where he has chaired the Azores Bullfinch and Portuguese Marine IBAs projects, among many others. He has led conservation, training and monitoring projects at international level, and been a national delegate for the MedWet Initiative and the Ramsar Convention.

Nada Tosheva-Ilieva has been Executive Director of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, BSPB (BirdLife in Bulgaria) since 2007. Her previous experience includes work as programme coordinator with the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation. During an internship at the IUCN’s Regional Office for Europe, she negotiated project proposals for transboundary cooperation within the Balkans.

Fred Wouters has been Chief Executive Officer of Vogelbescherming Nederland, VBN (BirdLife Partner for The Netherlands), since 2007. He previously held senior posts in a variety of government departments, and has extensive experience of the management of forest, wetlands and national parks, establishing a national framework of nature reserves, and rural development. He has overseen VBN’s cooperation with BirdLife Partners in Ukraine, Burkina Faso and Indonesia, among others.

Imad Atrash has been Executive Director of the Palestine Wildlife Society since the BirdLife Partner was founded in 1999. He previously served on the Global Council from 2004-2008. He is a member of the West Asian regional council of the IUCN, and his extensive experience includes developing environmental education programmes for communities and schools in Palestine, and promoting eco-tourism in the Arab World.

Assad Adel Serhal, Director General of Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, SPNL (BirdLife Partner in Lebanon) has more than 25 years experience in the development and management of Protected Areas in Lebanon. Under his direction SPNL has initiated eight Himas (community-based protected areas) in Lebanon, and he helped found the Hima Fund. He is the current chair of the BirdLife Middle East Partnership Committee.

Philippe P. Raust was a founder member of the Société d'Ornithologie de Polynésie, MANU (BirdLife Partner in French Polynesia) in 1990, and has served in various roles, including Vice‐President, Treasurer and Secretary. He is currently President. He was first elected to BirdLife’s Global Council in 2010.

Nick Prentice becomes BirdLife International’s Treasurer. Currently Ernst and Young’s EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) Tax Chief Operating Officer, he is a keen birdwatcher.