SSC members are deployed in over 140 Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities, Task Forces and Sub-Committees; the main priority of the Chair and the SSC office is to provide support and leadership to this extensive global network to help stimulate conservation action on the ground. Any requests for additional groups to become established, together with the appointment of the Chairs of the Specialist Groups, must be endorsed by the SSC Chair in consultation with the SSC Steering Committee.
Other responsibilities of the SSC Chair’s office include working with governments to address particular urgent species conservation issues, providing input to regional and national consultations and policy initiatives, consolidating and strengthening the SSC’s partnerships with other organizations, building collaboration with other Programmes and Commissions of IUCN, and fundraising for all SSC species related work. The SSC Chair’s Office works closely with the Global Species Programme in the IUCN Secretariat to support the SSC network, and to push forward the species conservation agenda within IUCN.
The SSC Chair's team has chosen the following Key Priority Areas to focus the work on the quadrennium 2017 - 2020. These areas are in alignment with the Species Strategic Plan and have been refined with feedback from the SSC Steering Committee.
1.- Increasing diversity of SSC: this area concerns the expansion of regional, gender and age diversity of each group. Increasing diversity enriches perspectives and increases our efficacy in addressing global conservation challenges.
2.- Capacity building: this area involves strengthening local capacities for carrying out and using IUCN Knowledge Products, focusing on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Red List of Ecosystems, identification of Key Biodiversity Areas, conservation planning and implementation of conservation actions.
3.- Bolster work at national scales: this area involves work with countries to help them develop and use the information from Knowledge Products at a national scale and to strengthen links between Specialist Groups and IUCN members.
4.- Conservation action: this area focuses on catalyzing conservation actions that improve the status of threatened species. For example, reducing extinction risk of a group of selected species by 2020.
5.- Barometer of life: this area addresses the role of every group providing scientific knowledge that underpins the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Main goals are related to complete global assessments or reassessments of species for the Red List.
6.- Communications: this area focuses on strengthening and diversifying communication strategies and mechanisms to spread and exchange information, scientific data and knowledge products produced by Specialist Groups.
7.- Policy: this area addresses the participation and influence of Specialist Groups in the design and support of national, regional, and global policies to enhance effectiveness of biodiversity conservation in private and public sectors.
The SSC Chair's Office team is:
SSC Chair, Prof Jon Paul Rodríguez
Jon Paul Rodríguez is Professor at the Center for Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas ― IVIC), and he is a founder, past Board Member (1987-2001, 2009-2012) and President (2001-2008, 2013-present) of Provita (a Venezuelan conservation NGO established in 1987). His undergraduate degree in biology is from Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas (1991). He was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship for a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University (1999). More
SSC Deputy Chair, Ms Domitilla Raimondo
Domitilla Raimondo is the Threatened Species Programme Manager at the South African National Biodiversity Institute. She is responsible for the species assessments for South Africa’s National Biodiversity Assessment and has extensive experience assessing the threat status for South Africa’s animal and plant species. Domitilla is the lead author of the “Red List of South African Plants” (2009) and has co-ordinated the Red List assessments for many animal groups. She is dedicated to ensuring that species information feeds into landuse decision making. Domitilla is also involved in species conservation work internationally and serves on the IUCN SSC Red List Committee.
Director of Oversight and Conservation Outcomes, Rachel Hoffmann
Rachel is a zoology graduate from Nottingham University and has a Master’s by Research in Ecology and Environmental Management, York University. Rachel has over 8 years of experience with the SSC and is the primary focal point for the SSC network. She has a lead role in strengthening the work of the SSC in providing independent scientific advice, focusing on the delivery of conservation action, and developing high quality initiatives to achieve the SSC’s mission.
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Kira Mileham
Kira holds degrees in both conservation biology and public relations and journalism. She also has a Ph.D. in human behaviour change all from the University of Newcastle, Australia. Kira is responsible for strategically connecting the SSC to external partners to foster stronger collaboration for improved species conservation. Kira works closely with the zoo, aquarium and botanic garden community in particular.
Executive Director of the Chair's Office, Bibiana Sucre
Bibiana is a biologist from Universidad Simón Bolívar, with additional courses in ecology, and currently pursuing a Master’s degree in public management from Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración. Bibiana has a leading role in managing the activities of the Chair’s Office in Caracas. In that sense, Bibiana supports, guides and facilitates the activities of the SSC staff.
Operations and Strategy Manager, Orlando Salamanca
Orlando Salamanca holds a first degree in international relations from Universidad Central de Venezuela, a Master’s degree in public management, and currently is pursuing a Master’s degree in finance, both from Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración. Passionate about implementation, Orlando has a lead role supporting planning and follow-up, identifying areas for improvement, and addressing the biggest operational challenges in order to stay focused on the most impactful elements.
Regional Programme Officer, Simeon Bezeng
Dr. Bezeng is the Regional Programme Officer at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and BirdLife South Africa, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He started his career in Cameroon where he was awarded a BSc in Botany and Environmental Sciences in 2008. He then moved to the University of Johannesburg where he received his PhD in 2016; focusing on invasion biology. With intensive collaborations with researchers in the UK, Canada and South Africa, he has published in international journals. In addition to serving on the SSC Steering Committee, Bezeng will be actively involved in the development of the IUCN species and ecosystem Red Listing and the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas in Africa.
Annual Report Coordinator, Jafet Nassar
Dr Jafet M. Nassar is Professor Associate Researcher at the Center for Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas ― IVIC). At present, he is General Coordinator (2016-2019) of the Latin American and Caribbean Bat Conservation Network (RELCOM). He obtained a degree in Biology from Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas (1991) and a Ph.D. in Tropical Biology at University of Miami (1999). His scientific work focuses on reproductive biology and population genetics of angiosperms of dry ecosystems in the Neotropical region, ecology and evolution of plant-animal interactions, as well as ecology and conservation of cacti and bats. Jafet is the SSC & GSP Annual Report Coordinator.
Administrative Officer, Ludwig Laborda
Ludwig has nearly completed a degree in economics, with additional courses in accounting, at Universidad Central de Venezuela. Ludwig is in charge of the SSC’s Office expense reports, invoices and payments, as well as organizing the logistics of meetings and other activities, and support website updates.
Special Advisors to the SSC
There are a handful of individuals who go beyond the extra mile, to regularly invest their time and energy into the SSC. As defined in the SSC bylaws, “the Chair of the Commission may appoint individuals as Advisory Members when they are in a working relationship with the SSC during the intersessional period”.
A new term – “Special Advisor to the SSC” – has been agreed for these Advisory Members under the current Chair’s Office. For the 2017–2020 IUCN quadrennium, the SSC Chair has appointed three Special Advisors to formally recognize their continued dedication and invaluable contributions to the work of the SSC.
David Mallon studied for a university degree in Russian and French before turning to ecology, completing MSc and PhD research on large mammals in the Ladakh Himalaya, India. He has 35 years of experience working mainly in the Himalaya, Tibetan Plateau, Mongolia, Central Asia, Arabia and the Caucasus, involving biodiversity and habitat assessments, species surveys, camera trapping, protected area support, and training local partners.
He is an Associate Lecturer in the Division of Biology and Conservation Ecology, Manchester Metropolitan University, teaching on the MSc course in Conservation Biology and supervising MSc student projects and work placement. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an Honorary Conservation Fellow, Zoological Society of London, and a member of the International Editorial Board of Oryx. Also a member of the Scientific Committee and co-facilitator of the regional Conservation Workshops for the Fauna of Arabia that have taken place annually since 2001 in Sharjah, UAE.
Within IUCN, he has been Co-Chair of the Antelope Specialist Group since 2004 and is a member of the Caprinae, Cat, Equid, Giraffe and Okapi, and Sustainable Use Specialist Groups, a member of IUCN Red List Committee since 2011, and a member of the current Green List Working Group.
Main interests lie in red listing and other species assessments, international conservation policy, and strategic planning: the latter beginning in 1998, as compiler of Part 4 of the IUCN Global Survey and Antelope Action Plan and subsequent involvement in many other conservation planning processes, membership of the SSC Species Conservation Planning Task Force 2004-2010 and the Species Conservation Planning Subcommittee 2009-2016.
With a degree in zoology from Oxford University, I have spent more than 40 years in conservation in Africa and the Middle East. I researched hartebeest feeding ecology in Kenya for my D.Phil., and then fringe-eared oryx domestication, before moving to Oman to design and run the pioneering project to restore the Arabian oryx to the wild.
From 1987 I was Director of African Operations for the African Wildlife Foundation in Kenya for 12 years. After a spell as a consultant, in 2001 I became Chief Executive of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey. In 2008 I joined the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford.
In 1988 I was invited to form a Re-introduction Specialist Group which I then chaired for the next 12 years. As a member of several SSC Specialist Groups, I conducted a major survey of voluntarism in SSC, reporting in 2001, which led to major developments in SSC, including the meetings of SSC Chairs and Leaders.
From 2010-2013 I chaired a Task Force of the Re-introduction and Invasive Species Specialist Groups which delivered the 2013 IUCN Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations.
In 2010-2016, I chaired the SSC’s Sub-Committee for Species Conservation Planning, a body promoting sound planning for species amongst the 130 Specialist Groups of SSC.
Our sub-committee completed new Guidelines for Species Conservation Planning in late 2017.
My continually evolving interests are now oriented to the future for wildlife through the lens of rewilding and climate change, and global trends in human demography, politics and large scale ecology.
I sit on the Boards of Marwell Wildlife, the Sahara Conservation Fund, the World Land Trust and Friends of Kenya Wildlife Trust-UK.