Dr Deon Nel is Chief Executive Officer of the Global Resilience Partnership, having served before that as Global Conservation Director at WWF International.
Deon comes from South Africa where he started his career in marine conservation. His early career at BirdLife International focused on the successful global reduction in the bycatch of seabirds in commercial fisheries. He joined WWF South Africa in 2003 to develop its Marine Programme, initially focusing on establishing a number of large offshore Marine Protected Areas and using an integrated supply chain approach to build a responsible seafood industry. Deon later expanded his remit to include freshwater conservation where he initiated new work on water risk and stewardship with several large corporate partners.
After leaving WWF in 2009, he served a spell with South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) where he led their Ecosystems and Water Research Areas. Here he pioneered innovative research on the link between climate change, ecological degradation, the frequency and scale of natural disasters and impacts on the financial viability of the insurance industry.
Deon returned to WWF South Africa to lead its biodiversity unit before being appointed as WWF’s Director of Conservation for Africa. Here he used scenario-based approaches to demonstrate how development decisions in Africa could affect Africa’s ecological future. Deon was appointed as the Global Conservation Director at WWF International from 2015, where he has been at the centre of developing a more strategically coherent global conservation programme focussed around six global goals.
Deon holds a PhD in Marine Ecology, a MSc in Conservation Biology, a MPhil in International Environmental Law and an MBA. Deon has published more than 50 scientific papers on a variety of conservation topics.Deon Nel