IUCN appoints Dr Grethel Aguilar Director General


The International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, has announced the appointment of Dr Grethel Aguilar as Director General, starting on Friday 20 October 2023.

“I am delighted to introduce Dr Grethel Aguilar as the next Director General of IUCN,” declared IUCN President Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak. “Grethel brings to this role a well-documented commitment to conservation and Indigenous peoples’ rights, exceptional leadership capabilities, and an extensive comprehension of IUCN’s global endeavours. Under her guidance, we anticipate the continued growth and impact of our Union, in line with the magnitude of the challenges our world faces.”

Dr Aguilar’s career in conservation and sustainable development spans more than three decades. Her experience includes developing and applying environmental law and policy in collaboration with governments and civil society, as well as work in field projects, such as helping communities access clean water or championing gender equality in environmental governance. She has long been engaged in advocating the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities, and has pushed for the inclusion of their knowledge and experience in mainstream conservation policy.

“I am honoured to take on the role of IUCN Director General, and am humbled to be tasked with leading the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, hand in hand with the IUCN President and Council,” said Dr Grethel Aguilar. “IUCN’s diversity contributes to our strength as a Union, allowing us to deliver science-based, effective, and inclusive conservation action globally. I look forward to working closely with Members, Commission experts, and staff worldwide to achieve our common vision of a just world that values and conserves nature.”

Before serving as IUCN Acting Director General, Dr Aguilar held the position of Deputy Director General – Regions and Outposted Offices, starting in 2021. Prior to this, she was IUCN Acting Director General (2019-20), and Regional Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, a role she took on in 2005.

Before joining IUCN, Dr Aguilar worked at the Costa Rican Environmental Law Center, advocating the rights of Indigenous peoples and nature conservation. She also provided biodiversity-related expert advice to the United Nations Environment Programme and diverse governments. She taught at several universities and research institutes, and has authored multiple publications in the fields of environmental law and policy. To Dr Aguilar, IUCN is a unique and crucial force that helps us care for our common home: Planet Earth.