Panthera Congratulates Board Member Razan Al Mubarak on Election as President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature

UAE’s Razan Al Mubarak is second woman and first from West Asia to lead the global conservation organization in its 72-year history

September 8, 2021

Media Contact: Susie Weller Sheppard, 347-446-9904,

New York, NY - Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, congratulates its Board and Global Alliance for Wild Cats member Razan Al Mubarak on her election as President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), announced today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseilles, France.

A native of the United Arab Emirates, Ms. Al Mubarak is the second woman to lead the organization in its 72-year history and its first president from West Asia.

Panthera Founder Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan stated, “As the scientific community’s alarm bells ring louder and the consequences of our unsustainable impact on nature increase by the day, I can think of no one better positioned to steer IUCN than Ms. Razan Al Mubarak. A progressive and necessary pick, Razan has emerged as one of the conservation world’s most talented and inspirational leaders, developing innovative biodiversity and species conservation solutions that have become models throughout the globe. No doubt she will continue to serve as a pioneer for the preservation of our planet at the helm of the world’s largest environmental network.”

IUCN is a democratic union that harnesses the world’s most influential organizations and experts to conserve nature and accelerate a global transition to sustainable use of natural resources. Comprised of more than 18,000 experts and 1,400 members, including states, government agencies, NGOs such as Panthera and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations, IUCN is considered the global authority on the state of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard the planet.

The organization has played a critical role in the creation of international conventions, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and maintains the Red List of Threatened Species, the most comprehensive source on the conservation status of vulnerable animal and plant species.

Advancing the course of conservation in the 21st century, Ms. Al Mubarak has outlined a clear vision for tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, along with issues including gender equality and indigenous rights within the conservation world. A merited appointment, Ms. Al Mubarak will serve a four-year term, succeeding IUCN two-term president Zhang Xinsheng.

Driven by a strong interest in species conservation, Ms. Al Mubarak helped to establish Emirates Nature WWF in 2001 where she still serves as Managing Director. In 2010, she became the youngest person to lead an Abu Dhabi government entity with her appointment as Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), through which she led the Emirate’s 2030 commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42%.

Ms. Al Mubarak is the founding Managing Director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund), where she has served since 2008. Working to bring species back from the brink of extinction, the MBZ Fund has supported approximately 2,000 conservation projects in 180 countries since its inception. Over the past year and a half, the MBZ Fund has additionally worked to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on species conservation efforts.

Building upon her impressive list of accolades, Ms. Al Mubarak was selected as one of the Top 100 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum in 2018. She is the first IUCN Presidential candidate to have ever been endorsed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Former Director General of the MBZ Fund and current Panthera President and CEO, Dr. Frédéric Launay, stated, “Razan has exactly the right real-world experience to unite the IUCN's diverse membership and ensure that its many voices, particularly those of young people and indigenous groups, play meaningful, active roles in IUCN governance. At a time when the world needs an enduring champion for nature more than ever, Razan is the visionary that will ensure the Union makes tangible progress in combating climate change with nature-based solutions, stemming emerging diseases and saving wildlife species to protect the planet.”

Along with guiding the wild cat conservation work of Panthera as a Board of Directors member, Ms. Al Mubarak serves as a member of The Global Alliance for Wild Cats on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Formed under the auspices of the Crown Prince, the Global Alliance is an international coalition of environmental philanthropists who share an exceptional commitment to conserving large-scale wildlife habitat and biodiversity by protecting the world’s wild cats. In March, the Global Alliance welcomed philanthropist Jonathan Ayers as its newest member, who has pledged $20 million over the next 10 years for wild cat conservation, with a particular focus on the preservation of small wild cats.