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.