Gina Barbieri starts as independent Ombudsperson for the WWF network in a first for conservation sector

Posted on September, 01 2021

Ms Barbieri has two decades of experience in resolving environmental and social conflicts and will lead the establishment of an office of the Ombudsperson.
WWF today welcomes distinguished human rights lawyer and international mediator, Gina Barbieri, who is taking office today 1 September 2021 as independent Ombudsperson for WWF’s global conservation network. 
A South African national, Ms Barbieri has two decades of experience in resolving environmental and social conflicts, including in her most recent tenure as Principal Ombudsperson for the World Bank and related financial institutions.
“Our values of courage,  integrity, respect, and collaboration guide our work and we are pleased to have Gina Barbieri join us today as an independent Ombudsperson to hold us accountable to our environmental and social safeguards and human rights commitments,” said Pavan Sukhdev, President, WWF International. 
“As we work to build a future where people and nature thrive and address the tremendous challenges facing our planet today, we hope this ‘first’ for nature conservation helps us ensure deeper, better and more inclusive conservation approaches in all the places we work around the world.”
The office of the Ombudsperson has complete independence from the executive both from a reporting and budgetary perspective. It reports directly to the President of WWF International with support from the International Board subcommittee.
 “Establishing a strong and independent accountability system that can address community concerns in a manner that is fair, predictable, and respectful of community agency, is critical for an institution working to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife” said Gina Barbieri upon her appointment. 
“It creates a grassroots channel for communities to engage meaningfully with WWF, and will enhance WWF’s ability to respond to what it hears. I am excited to take up the position and build the relationships necessary to realize the mandate of the office in a meaningful way.” 
Ms Barbieri will lead the establishment of an office of the Ombudsperson, an ambition first announced by WWF in 2019 and endorsed in 2020 by the Independent Panel. WWF is committed to establish this office close to the key landscapes it works in.


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