Harry Jonas

Senior Director, Conservation Areas

Harry Jonas
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Harry Jonas is Senior Director, Conservation Areas. He provides support to country offices on protected and conserved areas, with a focus on promoting inclusive, equitable and effective area-based conservation across landscapes, seascapes and river basins. He is a global leader in an emerging framework designed to improve the recognition and support for nature stewardship beyond protected areas: ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs). He initiated and co-facilitated the international process to define the term and there are now ~1.6 million km2 of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine areas reported as OECMs.

Harry is an international lawyer and co-founder of Natural Justice, an organisation providing legal support to Indigenous Peoples and local communities across the African continent on human rights and environmental issues. During a decade in Malaysia, Harry coordinated the Sabah Shark and Ray Initiative and helped to establish the Forever Sabah Institute – promoting grounded, critical learning and exchange.

Harry holds an undergraduate degree (politics), a post-graduate diploma (law) and a master’s degree (international environmental law) and is qualified to practice law in the UK. He is an Ashoka Fellow, co-chair of the IUCN WCPA Specialist Group on OECMs and is affiliated with CISDL and UNEP-WCMC. He applies a ‘legal-political ecology’ frame to understand power, agency and change in social-ecological systems and his publications focus on innovative, rights-based approaches to protected and conserved areas.

“Biodiversity and its stewards are in crisis. Our response – and role in the global movement towards ‘living in harmony with Nature’ – is as much about taking bold action as it is about listening, understanding, and enabling what’s working. It’s through inclusive, rights-based processed that we can catalyse the effective, transformative partnerships required to conserve the diversity of life on Earth and support communities to flourish. ”

More on Harry


Senior Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Protected and conserved areas
  • Other effective area-based conservation measures
  • Human rights, equity and inclusive conservation
  • Conservation effectiveness and customary sustainable use