Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat
Effective 1 December 2019, Elizabeth Mrema will serve as Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat. In the interim, she will serve as Officer in Charge of the CBD Secretariat with effect on 1 November 2019.
Mrs. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, a national of the United Republic of Tanzania, is the Director of the Law Division and has worked with UNEP for over two decades. Prior to joining the Law Division in her current role in June 2014, she was the Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division, in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery from 2012 and for one year, also served as Acting Director to the same Division. In 2018, in addition to her role as the Law Division Director, she was also the Acting Director of the Corporate Services Division. In 2007, she received the first-ever UNEP-wide Best Manager of the Year Award, titled the UNEP Baobab Staff Award, for exceptional performance and dedication towards achieving the goals of UNEP.
In 2009 she was appointed as the Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Acting Executive Secretary of the UNEP/ASCOBANS and Interim Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Gorilla Agreement, all based in Bonn, Germany and held that position until 2012 and thereafter joined the Ecosystems Division in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mrs. Mrema’s work at UNEP has focused on the development, implementation and enforcement environmental laws both at national, regional and international level. She has played different roles in UNEP over the years that have included being a coordinator of capacity building and compliance and enforcement projects related to environmental law and the multilateral environmental conventions. She was a Senior Legal Officer and Chief of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Support and Cooperation Branch in the then Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC), and later a Principal Legal Officer and Chief of the Biodiversity/Land Law and Governance Branch in the then Division of Environmental Law and Conventions.
Before joining UNEP, Mrs. Mrema worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of 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. Currently, she is a pro bono lecturer at the University of Nairobi - Law School, and in the past at the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), Rome, Italy.
A lawyer and career diplomat with LLB (Hons) from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, 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, Tanzania. Mrs. 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.