Harry Jonas

Senior Director, Conservation Areas

Harry Jonas
Media inquiries: News And Press Page

Dr. Harry Jonas is Senior Director, Conservation Areas. He leads the Conservation Areas Initiative, which supports WWF country office work on inclusive, equitable and effective area-based conservation and sustainable use across landscapes, seascapes and river basins. He provides global leadership 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 organization providing legal support to communities across the African continent on human rights and environmental issues. For over 15 years, in South Africa and Malaysia, Harry allied with organizations working with Indigenous peoples and local communities and coordinated conservation initiatives.

He is an Ashoka Fellow, co-chair of the IUCN WCPA Specialist Group on OECMs, and his work has been recognized through receipt of the Biodiversity International Legal Specialist Award. 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 catalyze the effective, transformative partnerships required to conserve the diversity of life on Earth and support communities to flourish.”

More on Harry


Senior Director


  • PhD: Law and conservation
  • LLM: International environmental Law
  • PGDL: Law
  • BA: Politics

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