Ten new Members of Honour at BirdLife World Congress

BirdLife Members of Honour are people who have made a significant contribution to the growth, governance, finances and conservation strategy of BirdLife International over at least five years. Many of the ten people recognised at the 2013 BirdLife World Congress have also done much to extend BirdLife’s influence outside the Partnership through their work with governments and regional and international institutions.

The awards were presented to the Members of honour by HIH Princess Takamado, BirdLife’s Honorary President, at BirdLife International’s World Congress.

In addition to his success in protecting substantial areas of Paraguay’s Atlantic Forest and Pantanal, Dr Alberto Yanosky, Executive Director of Guyra Paraguay, provided exemplary leadership at both regional and global levels as BirdLife Global Council member for the Americas. He recently received the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Latin American Conservation.

Andrés Bosso transformed Aves Argentinas into a professional conservation organisation, and also served as a member of the BirdLife Global Council. In 2012 he left the organisation to become head of the North-east Delegation of Argentina’s National Parks Administration, where he will continue to promote BirdLife’s work in Argentina’s Protected Area system.

Dr. Asad Rafi Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society (BirdLife Partner in India) has made an outstanding contribution in bringing together and mobilising thousands of conservationists in India through the Indian Bird Conservation Network. His skill in navigating India’s complex politic systems has helped achieve the protection and good management of hundreds of India’s IBAs.

Dr Paul Matiku, Executive Director, Nature Kenya, transformed the BirdLife Partner into the undisputed leading national conservation organisation in Kenya. He has effectively demonstrated that NGO-Government Partnerships can work to conserve biodiversity in a manner that also benefits local communities, without compromising Nature Kenya’s ability to criticise and oppose the government on matters of biodiversity conservation.

In various roles, including Head of BirdLife’s Middle East Division, Richard Porter, BirdLife’s Middle East Advisor, has worked tirelessly for conservation in the region, perhaps most notably on the island of Socotra, Yemen, and most recently in Iraq, where he has supported capacity development, and helped build the data resources from which the country’s potential protected areas have been identified.

Fritz Hirt, Honorary President of Schweizer Vogelschutz SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, played a leading role in the transition from ICBP to BirdLife, and organised the 1985 conference which involved the first participation of East European Partners. President of SVS/BirdLife Switzerland 1977-1996, he is still very active, especially as officer for the support of SOS/BirdLife Slovakia.

In various roles, Sir Graham Wynne, former Chief Executive of RSPB BirdLife in the UK), was responsible for conservation policy, parliamentary work, research programmes, and the acquisition of nature reserves in the UK. He pioneered the RSPB’s support for international conservation, and played a leading role in the establishment of the first Forest of Hope at Harapan, Sumatra.

In 1988, Jane Fenton founded the Rare Bird Club, with HRH Prince Bernhard as President. Under her supervision, the RBC has been a source of significant unrestricted funding for BirdLife. Although now officially retired, Jane is still working hard to raise funds for BirdLife in her current role as the Club’s Vice President.

David and Sarah Gordon have shown lifelong commitment to bird conservation and provided ongoing support and assistance to Birdlife Pacific Partners. Together they established the Birdlife International Community Conservation Fund, which has contributed directly to recovery operations for threatened bird species.