Francisco Rilla, the newly appointed Director, Science and Policy of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, officially assumed his role at the Secretariat on 15 October 2018.
Francisco has more than 25 years of experience in biodiversity and wetlands conservation, policy development, regional negotiations, management and implementation of projects, scientific research, wildlife and ecosystems restoration program.
Francisco worked at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) since 2005. In 2016 he joined UNEP in Nairobi, Kenya, in the International Governance Unit (Law Division), dealing with the implementation of projects such as ACP- African, Caribbean and Pacific MEAs and the African Elephant Fund (AEF). In both initiatives he has supported the implementation of conservation activities in particular with stakeholders, governments and international organizations in Africa, Asia, Americas and the Pacific regions.
Before joining UNEP Francisco held a role of Head of Capacity Building at the Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) based in Bonn, Germany for eleven years.
Prior to joining the UN, he was responsible of the Management and Science Unit of PROBIDES UNDP/GEF Project in Uruguay on the conservation of Ramsar Area in the Biosphere Reserve Bañados del Este. Francisco also coordinated the Wetlands Program for Latin America of IUCN in the regional Office for Latin America in Quito, Ecuador.
Francisco holds a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University in Uruguay, he obtained advanced postgraduate degrees from the Saarland University in Biogeography in Germany, and in ecology on wildfowl and wetlands in Spain.
He is author and co-author of more than 45 scientific publications, book chapters, and popular articles dealing with conservation biology, biogeography, and Ramsar conservation sites.
Francisco brings a strong background in intergovernmental processes, including through his work in the CMS Secretariat, as well an interdisciplinary approach and holistic vision to research and policy analysis with a solid knowledge of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs focused on the conservation and wise use of the wetlands contributing to biodiversity conservation, poverty eradication and benefits for nature and society.
Francisco is Uruguayan and Italian national.