The Ramsar Convention appoints Martha Rojas-Urrego as new Secretary General

16 June 2016
Martha Rojas-Urrego

The Ramsar Convention Standing Committee is pleased to announce that Martha Rojas-Urrego has been appointed to and accepted the position of Secretary General. She will be the sixth Secretary General to the Convention, succeeding Dr Christopher Briggs. Ms Rojas-Urrego’s appointment was approved by the Ramsar Standing Committee during its 52nd meeting held in Gland, Switzerland from 13 – 17 June 2016. 

Martha Rojas-Urrego brings to the Ramsar Convention a wealth of experience gained over a long and distinguished career in senior levels of national government, international governmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations. Her commitment to conservation and sustainable development has been a running theme in her career, from her work for the National Parks Service in her native Colombia to her more recent roles in international policy.

In her role as Head of Global Advocacy at CARE International she was responsible for leading and coordinating CARE’s global policy and advocacy work, linking local to global levels and engaging member organisations and country offices to achieve common goals. In 2014 Ms Rojas-Urrego also worked as CARE International’s Acting Deputy Secretary General.

Between 1994 and 2008 Martha Rojas-Urrego worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), first as a Senior Biodiversity Policy Advisor and since 2002 as Head of Global Policy. In the latter position she coordinated and facilitated IUCN’s global and regional policy work. She also led IUCN’s policy work in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Prior to joining IUCN Martha held positions in Colombia’s Ministry of Environment, the National Parks Service of Colombia, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Fundacion Natura and Inderena in Colombia.

Martha is excited at the prospect of advancing the Ramsar Convention’s goals in her new role. Responding to her appointment, she said:

“This is a crucial time for managing wetlands and the vital services they provide sustainably and this can only be achieved through cooperation at all levels, from local to global.”

The Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention ‎warmly welcome Martha Rojas-Urrego and look forward to working with her to advance the implementation of the Convention and the conservation and wise use of wetlands around the world.

The Ramsar Convention is an international agreement between 169 governments that was adopted in 1971 to provide the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.‎ To date, the Contracting Parties of the Convention have designated over 2,200 sites covering more than 200 million hectares as Wetlands of International Importance.