Juan Mayr Maldonado

Juan Mayr Maldonado

Juan Mayr has dedicated his life to the environment. Throughout his career, he has pursued an holistic and interdisciplinary vision at different levels of decision-making – local, national, regional and international - for the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity as the mainstay for cultural diversity, sustainable livelihoods and good governance. His capacity to involve all areas of civil society is a particular strength. Mayr’s interest in environmental issues started in 1976, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on the Northeastern coast of Colombia. Based on the indigenous perception of human-nature relationships, their cultural ways of adapting to the different ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada and their social and political inter-relations, Mayr promoted the concept of shared bioregional management. His work were awarded with the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1993.

Mayr is renowned for his efforts in promoting decentralization and regionalization within the World Conservation Union (IUCN), where he has served as Vice-President and also as Regional Representative for Latin America. In August 1998, Juan Mayr was appointed Minister for the Environment in Colombia. As Minister, he also worked closely with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In February 2002 he presided over the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) in Cartagena, which proposed measures to strengthen UNEP in the light of outcomes from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

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