Remembering Dr. Kathy MacKinnon

Partnerships are at the heart of conservation and at WWF we had no better partner than Dr. Kathy MacKinnon. Along with so many in the conservation community and beyond, we are mourning her passing on March 18, 2023 in the UK.

Dr. MacKinnon was the Lead Biodiversity Specialist for 16 years at the World Bank and served as chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) from 2015-2021. Until the time of her death, she also co-chaired, along with WWF-US’s Harry Jonas, the IUCN Specialist Group on Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs).

Image of Dr. Kathy MacKinnon in front of Mt. Kinabalu

Dr. Kathy MacKinnon stands in front of Mt. Kinabalu

“Kathy was as much a force of nature as she was a champion for nature,” said Jonas. “In the first part of her career she worked tirelessly to promote protected areas, and as chair of the WCPA she became a highly engaged advocate for conservation beyond protected areas, through the OECM framework. Her contributions to global conservation are far-reaching. Like very many people, I will miss her dearly.”

Dr. MacKinnon was also an invaluable resource as WWF-US undertook the development of its environmental and social safeguards, reviewing and helping refine countless iterations of the framework.

“We mourn a champion of conservation, who sought to make the world a better place for all living things and for the people who depend on nature for their welfare,” said Nik Sekhran, WWF-US Chief Conservation Officer. “Kathy worked tirelessly to advance this agenda, and leaves a tremendous legacy which we must honor.”