United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today appointed Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, a national of the United Republic of Tanzania, as the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Ms. Mrema has served as the CBD Acting Executive Secretary since 1 December 2019. She becomes the seventh Executive Secretary to head the UN Biodiversity Convention.
The appointment of Ms. Mrema coincides with the transition from the present Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets to a new post-2020 global biodiversity framework expected to be agreed by the Conference of the Parties (COP) next year in Kunming, China.
Ms. Mrema brings with her a wealth of experience working for over two decades with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Prior to joining the CBD, Ms. Mrema was the Director of the Law Division. From 2012 to 2014 she was the Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division, in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery, and for one year, also serviced as Acting Director to the same Division. In 2018, in addition to her role as the Law Division Director, she was also the Acting Director of the Corporate Services Division.
In 2007, she received the first-ever UNEP-wide Best Manager of the Year Award, the UNEP Baobab Staff Award, for exceptional performance and dedication towards achieving the Organization’s goals. In 2009, she was appointed the Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Acting Executive Secretary of the UNEP/ASCOBANS and Interim Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Gorilla Agreement, all based in Bonn, Germany and held that position until 2012, thereafter joined the UNEP/Ecosystems Division in Nairobi, Kenya.