During the first sitting of the 88º Council of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which started today in Gland, Switzerland, Jon Paul Rodríguez was officially named candidate to the Chair of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of IUCN.
Founded in 1948, IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with almost 1,300 government and NGO Members and more than 15,000 volunteer experts in 185 countries. SSC is the largest of the six expert commissions of IUCN, with a worldwide membership of 10,000 volunteers. SSC advises IUCN and its members on a broad set of scientific and technical aspects for species conservation and carries actions focused on safeguarding the future of biodiversity. SSC also collaborates closely with international treaties related to biodiversity conservation.
Rodríguez joined SSC in 1991, the same year that he obtained his undergraduate degree in biology from Universidad Central de Venezuela. His IUCN work has always been related to red lists of threatened species. In fact, due to his involvement with the Red Book on Venezuelan Fauna, coauthored with Franklin Rojas-Suárez in 1995, Rodríguez was invited to join the National Red List Working Group of SSC, until 2009, when he was appointed Deputy Chair of SSC, a position that he still holds. Rodríguez is one of the founders and current President of Provita, a Venezuelan conservation organization established in 1987.
The new SSC Chair will be elected during the next World Conservation Congress, to take place in Hawai’I in September 1–10. Held every four years, the congress gathers thousands of delegates of IUCN members, who in this opportunity will choose between Rodríguez and Elizabeth Bennet, Vice President for Species Conservation at Wildlife Conservation Society, an international organization based in New York.
If Rodríguez is elected SSC Chair, he will be based in Caracas, where he will build his team around his Professorship at the Ecology Center of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigation and his role as President of Provita. “It is a great opportunity to raise the profile of science, capacity building and conservation in Venezuela, while deeply immersed in the global research, management and public policy community of IUCN,” he concluded.