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Our dedicated team combines scientific excellence, outstanding technical ability and a passion for nature

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Fiona Danks

Head of Programme, Science | Senior Management Team

Fiona’s role is to lead the Science Programme, support its ca. 25 staff, develop fundraising efforts, network and collaborate both within and beyond UNEP-WCMC, and contribute directly to scientific projects. She joined the Centre in February 2014, becoming Deputy Head of Programme before transitioning to Head of Programme in December 2019.

 

Relevant projects at UNEP-WCMC:

Global Infrastructure Mapping and Modelling – A GEF funded project with UNEP that aims to assess how mapped road infrastructure investments impact the global environment focussing on the objectives of the UNFCCC, the UNCCD and the UNCBD Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). The approach will also be applied at the country level in Mongolia.

Poverty-Environment related projects generally with UNDP/UNEP and the University of Cambridge – Typically poverty measures have not included environmental criteria but to address and eradicate poverty, environmental measures must be included. These efforts aim to quantify environmental factors at country-level to begin to improve our understanding of poverty measures.

Previous experience & expertise

Fiona’s scientific expertise is in ecological spatial assessment and modelling, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing. She has focused on resource development and climate change impacts, often in the Polar regions. Her previous professional experience includes: Station Leader of the Norwegian Polar Institute’s (NPI) Research Station in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard; Research Scientist at Norut and NPI, Tromsø, Norway; Environmental Specialist with Environmental Research & Assessment (ERA), Cambridge, UK; and Wildlife Ecologist at Rescan, Vancouver, Canada.

Fiona obtained an MPhil in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge (2013); a PhD in Polar Studies, at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (2007); a Masters in Biology from the University of Fairbanks; and a Bachelors in Geography & Environmental/Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College, NH, USA.