Paying tribute to Kathy MacKinnon

violet lavender field at sunset

We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of WCMC trustee Kathy MacKinnon.

Kathy was a prominent face in the conservation community who dedicated much of her life to championing the importance of protected areas and of bringing biodiversity conservation into the wider development agenda. As Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, Kathy inspired a global community promoting protected areas as key tools in maintaining ecosystems for life on Earth and combating climate change. She was dedicated to strengthening the governance and management of protected areas, and more recently the recognition of other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs).

Kathy's many contributions spanned the international conservation agenda – she spent years advancing protected areas planning and management and found ways to include conservation outcomes in development investments during her time with the World Bank. She was recognised on multiple occasions for her work and was awarded the prestigious Midori Prize for Biodiversity in 2018, which honoured her outstanding contributions to conservation and the sustainable use of nature. She has been a pillar of inspiration to many.

Kathy will be hugely missed by WCMC colleagues and across the global conservation community for her outstanding commitment to protected areas and, more recently, the recognition of OECMs.

Her conservation legacy is, and will continue to be, hugely significant. Having worked alongside Kathy closely in her capacities both at WCMC and IUCN, I found her to be incisive, effective, and, above all, fair in her engagements with others, even in the face of strong contrasting views. We had many deep technical discussions together, but equally as many laughs.

Jonny Hughes, WCMC Chief Executive Officer and Senior Representative of UNEP-WCMC

Kathy is survived by three sons and by her grandchildren.

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