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International recognition for Prof Wendy Foden

24 Oct 2019 - 12:15

Prof. Wendy Foden, General Manager of SANParks’ Cape Research Centre and an Honorary Research Associate at UCT’s FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, received the award in recognition of her "outstanding innovation and creativity in species conservation". The award cited her “dynamic and thoughtful leadership of SSC’s work on climate change, especially for breaking new boundaries in the use of traits-based analyses and the IUCN SSC Guidelines for Assessing Species’ Vulnerability to Climate Change”. The award, which includes a prize of US$5 000, was announced at the SSC’s leaders meeting in Abu Dhabi on 10th October 2019. It is granted to two scientists every four years, and Prof. Foden is the second South African (of a total of six winners to date), to receive it.

Since 2012 Prof. Foden has chaired a group of about 50 experts from around the world that provides guidance to the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission on how to minimise the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. This committee, called the Climate Change Specialist Group, also won the prestigious Chair’s Citation of Excellence award. More than 8,000 experts from 164 specialist groups carry out an enormous range of activities aiming to create "A just world that values and conserves nature through positive action to reduce the loss of diversity of life on earth".

Prof. Foden will use the opportunity to amplify the call for action against climate change. She hopes that recognising the vital role that nature plays in helping us to reduce and cope with climate change, as well as the concerning impacts that climate change is already having on nature, will help to mobilise large-and local-scale conservation efforts. She supports IUCN’s urgent appeal to the world’s governments, international agencies and the private sector to halt species decline and prevent human-driven extinctions by 2030.

Read the media release on the Abu Dhabi Call for Global Species Conservation Action.