My experience and approach
I studied Zoology at Durham University before moving to Africa in 1981 where I spent most of the next 20 years working on protected area and natural resource management. I have focused on the interface between conservation and the social, political, cultural and economic context in which it operates. In South Africa I undertook research into economic linkages between game reserves and local communities and how these influenced attitudes to conservation. I spent time in Oman on the Arabian Orxy Project and in Cameroon I carried out research into hunting in Korup National Park. Following 18 months in Switzerland working for WWF and IUCN I joined the African Wildlife Foundation to work with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, testing community approaches to conservation and helping to integrate them into mainstream conservation practice.
I have managed large and small projects, led a regional programme across seven countries, and worked with multi-national teams. I have guided complex institutional processes and implemented and evaluated complex initiatives. I have developed projects, prepared successful grant applications and provided technical support to community organisations and government agencies.
I have worked with NGOs, government departments, universities, multi and bi-lateral donors and the private sector. I have experience at project level in technical roles and administrative management roles at programme level.
During 30 years working in Africa, Arabia, Asia and Eurasia I have supported conservation of nature and natural resource in grasslands, forests, wetlands and deserts. Engaging with social, economic and political issues as well as ecological
My training as a zoologist combined with research into economic and social aspects of conservation and development give me a broad perspective. I believe that cultural values connect people to nature and these must become central to the design of conservation and development initiatives.
Developing and strengthening partnerships based on common values, sharing information and skills and building constituencies for sustainable conservation and development are central to my understanding of my role in efforts to achieve a better and more diverse world.
I have worked in conservation, natural resource management and sustainable development throughout my career. I try to express my commitment by encouraging, supporting and strengthening the work of partners and colleagues. I believe that projects and programmes are best implemented in an inclusive and participatory manner through robust and transparent administrative and management structures.
During this period I developed interest in relationships between culture, values and conservation. I undertook a multi-disciplinary study of conflict between a pastoral community and a national park in order to propose practical steps based on cultural analysis that could help defuse the conflict. I was awarded a PhD from the University of East Anglia, UK, for this work. I continue to support efforts to integrate local values into the park's management.
In 2002 I joined Fauna & Flora International and moved to Asia. I spent 3 years leading a GEF/World Bank project to conserve a karst limestone landscape in Vietnam and the following 6 years as director of FFI's Asia Pacific programme. In 2011 I returned to England to apply cultural values approaches to conservation across FFI's global programme.
factors helped me acquire understanding of participatory approaches, community engagement and governance to support conservation. I have facilitated institutional development and capacity building, supported protected area design and management, advised on biodiversity conservation, and assessed potential for nature-based tourism.
The need to build resilience to climate change in communities and ecosystems and to pressures from rapid social and economic change are increasingly important concerns. Using quantitative and qualitative research I have investigated and responded to linkages between nature and culture and supported sustainable resource use within complex
social and economic environments. I have mitigated conflicts between the needs of communities and of sustainable resource management to create supportive systems and institutions.