Senior Ramsar Position Filled
(2 June 1997)
Bill Phillips named as Senior Coordinator
The Bureau is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Bill Phillips (40) to the position of Senior Coordinator, Policy and Technical Affairs, the most senior position after the Secretary General within the secretariat. He will be replacing Mr Michael Smart, presently the Senior Policy Advisor, and will take up his duties on 15 September 1997.
The Senior Coordinator's tasks, in brief, will be to advise and assist the Secretary General in all matters concerning implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan, the content of Ramsar meetings, and links with other conventions and intergovernmental institutions; to act as focal point for the Scientific and Technical Review Panel; and to represent the Bureau in meetings and other contacts with other bodies. The Senior Coordinator, in conjunction with the Secretary General, is responsible for "global" issues. Both of them also provide technical and policy guidance to the four Regional Coordinators based in the Ramsar Bureau.
Dr Phillips' involvement in Ramsar affairs, at both national and international levels, goes back many years. Graduated from the Australian National University in Canberra with a BA Hons in Zoology in 1975 and a PhD in Zoology in 1984, he has successfully fulfilled increasingly responsible roles since 1985 within the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, becoming Acting Director of the Landscape and Marine Conservation Unit in 1992, Director of the Wetlands Unit in what was by then called the Australian Nature Conservation Agency in 1994, and presently Director of the Wetlands, Waterways and Waterbirds Unit of what is now called the Biodiversity Group of Environment Australia.
He served as head of the Australian delegation to the 4th Ramsar Conference of the Parties in Montreux, in 1990, and as alternate head of the delegation for the 5th COP in Kushiro in 1993. From 1993 through the 6th COP in March 1996, he chaired the Organizing Committee for the Brisbane meeting, coordinating the efforts of all sectors and organizations in Australia and internationally, and, with his team from the Wetlands Unit, received the Australia Day Achievement Award for policy and organizational roles for his work on the COP.
In addition, Dr Phillips has served as the Australian representative on the Ramsar Wise Use Working Group, 1990-93, and as a member of the Strategic Plan Drafting Subgroup of the Standing Committee, 1994-95. He has been the Oceania representative on the Ramsar Standing Committee since 1993 and has served on the Subgroup on Finance throughout that time.
Dr Phillips has also worked on issues involving the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species and CITES and has been closely involved in Australian representation in the evolution of the Japan-Australia and China-Australia Migratory Birds Agreements, as well as the Torres Strait Treaty. Over the past decade, he has also been involved in the management planning groups for several Ramsar sites in Australia and has served in steering committee-type roles in several well-known initiatives at national level, such as Waterwatch Australia and National Rivercare.
The short list of interviewees for this position was virtually a "who's who" of dedicated and experienced international professionals in wetland conservation and sustainable use issues, but Dr Phillips emerged as a clear favorite and will be enthusiastically welcomed in his new position. Dr Phillips is married and has four children.