Heather oversees UNEP-WCMC’s work on the Protected Planet Initiative. This initiative encompasses the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) and associated databases, information, and knowledge on the world’s protected and conserved areas. The initiative provides users with the tools they need to make well-informed decisions and will enable commitments made under the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be tracked. Heather is an honorary member of the ICCA Consortium and a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, actively engaging with its specialist group on privately protected areas and nature stewardship, and specialist group on other effective area-based conservation measures. Since joining UNEP-WCMC in 2013, Heather has worked on a range of projects relating to area-based conservation and has a particular interest in the governance of protected and conserved areas.
Heather’s earlier work at UNEP-WCMC involved managing a portfolio of work on inclusive conservation. Having worked on the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) for several years, she led the development of the World Database on Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures’ (WD-OECM). She also oversaw UNEP-WCMC’s efforts to gather data on non-state protected areas and managed the ICCA Registry – a database of territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities. Heather was the lead editor of the 2020 Protected Planet Report. She has a Masters in Biology with Conservation and Biodiversity from the University of Sheffield.
Heather oversees the Protected Planet Initiative; the authoritative source of data on protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). In this role, Heather manages a team of experts to deliver critical conservation data, supporting robust decision-making across multiple sectors.
Heather co-led the development of the Protected Planet Report 2020 with Edward Lewis. As lead editor, she oversaw the team of experts who drafted the text for this important report, which assessed whether Target 11 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020 was achieved.
Heather is working to improve the data in the WDPA for the Pacific region, supported by the BIOPAMA programme, in collaboration with national partners, IUCN and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). She is also working to address the lack of data on privately protected areas, and protected areas under the governance of indigenous peoples and communities, in the WDPA.