Trevor Sandwith leads IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme. His role includes co-ordinating IUCN’s work to support national governments to achieve their commitments to conserve biodiversity in protected areas, and to ensure that protected areas are effectively managed and well governed. A broader purpose is to ensure that protected areas play their role in helping reconcile conflicts between conservation and development, and to ensure that they are recognised as vital responses to global challenges, such as climate change, water and food security and disaster risk reduction.
A South African national, Trevor Sandwith has worked as an ecologist in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, and most recently in the US and Latin America. In South Africa, he focused on the role of protected area systems in sustaining economic and social development in the transformation of South Africa to a new democracy.
From 2001, he coordinated the World Bank/UNDP/GEF-supported Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.) program at the South African National Biodiversity Institute in Cape Town. Trevor also served as Chairman of the Flower Valley Conservation Trust and as a Council member of the Robben Island Museum World Heritage Site. Before joining IUCN, he was the Director of Biodiversity and Protected Areas Policy for The Nature Conservancy in the USA. His focus has been on finding common ground in biodiversity and climate change policy, articulating this in international policy venues and facilitating national commitments and public funding for effective work on the ground.
In 2014, he managed the preparation of IUCN’s once in ten year event, the IUCN World Parks Congress, hosted in Sydney, Australia. This is the most significant gathering of protected area professionals and stakeholders in the world, and aims to influence a new understanding of the role that protected areas play in addressing critical problems faced by society.