A TANZANIAN national, Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, has been appointed Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat based in Monteal, Canada, effective from December 1, this year.
Ms Mrema’s appointment follows the resignation of Ms Cristiana Pasca Palmer, a Romanian national for health reasons.
According to a statement posted on the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) website, the appointment represents a dramatic step forward in the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components as well as equitable share of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
Before her appointment by United Nations Secretary- General António Guterres, Ms Mrema was Director of Law Division at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, where she has worked for over two decades.
Her responsibilities in UNEP’s Law Division included coordination of capacity building, development, implementation as well as compliance and enforcement of environmental law and multilateral environmental conventions.
She also led work related to international environmental governance.
She is a lawyer by profession and career diplomat with LLB (Hons) from the University of Dar es Salaam, LLM from Dalhousie University, Canada, and Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy (Summa Cum Laude) from the Centre of Foreign Relations and Diplomacy in Dar es Salaam.
Ms Mrema has published several articles related to international environmental law, compliance and enforcement of conventions and developed, among others, a number of multilateral environmental agreements negotiation tools, handbooks and guidelines currently used by UNEP in its capacity building programmes.
Before joining the Law Division in June 2014, she was Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery from 2012 and for one year also served as the acting director to the same division.
In 2004, she received the first ever UNEP wide Best Manager of the Year Award, entitled “the UNEP Baobab Staff Award” for exceptional performance and dedication towards achieving the goals of UNEP.
In 2009 she was appointed as executive secretary of UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
Before joining UNEP, Ms Mrema worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Tanzania and left as a counsellor/ senior legal counsel.
During her time with the ministry, she was also a lecturer in Public International Law and Conference Diplomacy at Tanzania’s Centre for Foreign Relations and Diplomacy.