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

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Neil Burgess

Chief Scientist | Senior Management Team

Neil’s primary role as Chief Scientist is to oversee the scientific and technical work of UNEP-WCMC, to work to develop our profile and collaborations with external partners interested in the conservation of nature, and to promote the role data and analysis plays in effective conservation delivery. He also helps to publish leading scientific work at the science-policy interface, mentors staff in scientific delivery and ensures overall quality and scientific credibility of outputs across UNEP-WCMC.

Previous experience & expertise

Neil has been working in conservation science and practice for more than 20 years, in the UK, Denmark and tropical Africa, especially eastern Africa. Much of his earlier work focused on habitat conservation and protected area development and management in Europe and Africa through partnerships with non-governmental organisations, private foundations, state and community-based organisations.

Neil’s long term involvement in practical, field-based conservation in Africa has also led to the discovery of many species new to science, the creation of state and community managed reserves, and the development of conservation plans and capacity building programmes with African states NGOs and Universities. The interface between field conservation, developing country capacity building, and the delivery of science at the global level and together with policy makers, means that Neil is well placed to develop conservation science that is aimed at international conservation policy targets, such as those agreed under the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES and the UNFCCC, and the Sustainable Development Goals.