SSC Chair's Office

SSC members are deployed in over 135 Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities, Task Forces and Sub-Committees; the main priority of the Chair and the SSC office is to provide support and leadership to this extensive global network to help stimulate conservation action on the ground. Any requests for additional groups to become established, together with the appointment of the Chairs of the Specialist Groups, must be endorsed by the SSC Chair in consultation with the SSC Steering Committee.

Other responsibilities of the SSC Chair’s office include working with governments to address particular urgent species conservation issues, providing input to regional and national consultations and policy initiatives, consolidating and strengthening the SSC’s partnerships with other organizations, building collaboration with other Programmes and Commissions of IUCN, and fundraising for all SSC species related work. The SSC Chair’s Office works closely with the Global Species Programme in the IUCN Secretariat to support the SSC network, and to push forward the species conservation agenda within IUCN.

The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) is headed by the Commission Chair, Dr Jon Paul Rodríguez who will be working in close collaboration with Domitilla Raimondo, the newly appointed Deputy Chair (who is based in Johannesburg). The newly launched SSC Chair’s Office in Venezuela will be initially composed of three Directors and their support staff. There will be continuity from Simon Stuart’s team with two members of staff taking up roles with the Venezuelan team. Rachel Hoffmann, based in Cambridge, is to assume the position of Director of SSC Oversight and Conservation Outcomes, focusing on overall management of the Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities and Task Forces and strengthening the SSC network to enable the effective delivery of conservation action, and Kira Mileham, based in Washington, D.C., will serve as Director of Strategic Partnerships, responsible for expanding external partnerships and fostering stronger collaborations between the SSC and the global ex situ community (zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens). The search for a Director of the office in Caracas at Provita, whose responsibility will be to provide overall support to the Chair and follow-up activities of SSC, is ongoing. The Support Staff for the three Directors will also be based in Caracas. The other two director roles being considered for expansion of the Chair’s Office are related to capacity building and conservation action (more information to follow).

As 2017 begins, the SSC Chair’s Office team is almost ready for four years of working closely with our Specialist Groups, Steering Committee, Secretariat and the IUCN Membership. If any of you are ever in Cambridge, Washington, D.C., Johannesburg or Caracas, please let us know – there will be at least one of us there to meet with you.

Jon Paul RodríguezSSC Chair, Prof Jon Paul Rodríguez

Jon Paul Rodríguez is Professor at the Center for Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas ― IVIC), and he is a founder, past Board Member (1987-2001, 2009-2012) and President (2001-2008, 2013-present) of Provita (a Venezuelan conservation NGO established in 1987). His undergraduate degree in biology is from Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas (1991). He was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship for a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University (1999). More

Domitilla RaimondoSSC Deputy Chair, Ms Domitilla Raimondo

Domitilla Raimondo is the Threatened Species Programme Manager at the South African National Biodiversity Institute. She is responsible for the species assessments for South Africa’s National Biodiversity Assessment and has extensive experience assessing the threat status for South Africa’s animal and plant species. Domitilla is the lead author of the “Red List of South African Plants” (2009) and has co-ordinated the Red List assessments for many animal groups. She is dedicated to ensuring that species information feeds into landuse decision making. Domitilla is also involved in species conservation work internationally and serves on the IUCN SSC Red List Committee.

Rachel HoffmannDirector of Oversight and Conservation Outcomes, Rachel Hoffmann

Rachel is a zoology graduate from Nottingham University and has a Master’s by Research in Ecology and Environmental Management, York University. Rachel has over 8 years of experience with the SSC and is the primary focal point for the SSC network. She has a lead role in strengthening the work of the SSC in providing independent scientific advice, focusing on the delivery of conservation action, and developing high quality initiatives to achieve the SSC’s mission.

Kira MilehamDirector of Strategic Partnerships, Kira Mileham

Kira holds degrees in both conservation biology and public relations and journalism. She also has a Ph.D. in human behaviour change all from the University of Newcastle, Australia. Kira is responsible for strategically connecting the SSC to external partners to foster stronger collaboration for improved species conservation. Kira works closely with the zoo, aquarium and botanic garden community in particular.


Orlando SalamancaOperations and Strategy Manager, Orlando Salamanca

Orlando Salamanca holds a first degree in international relations from Universidad Central de Venezuela, a Master’s degree in public management, and currently is pursuing a Master’s degree in finance, both from Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración. Passionate about implementation, Orlando has a lead role supporting planning and follow-up, identifying areas for improvement, and addressing the biggest operational challenges in order to stay focused on the most impactful elements.

Simeon BezengRegional Programme Officer, Simeon Bezeng

Dr. Simeon Bezeng is the Regional Programme Officer at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and BirdLife South Africa, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He started his career in Cameroon where he was awarded a BSc in Botany and Environmental Sciences in 2008. He then moved to the University of Johannesburg where he received his PhD in 2016; focusing on invasion biology. With intensive collaborations with researchers in the UK, Canada and South Africa, he has published in international journals. In addition to serving on the SSC Steering Committee, Bezeng will be actively involved in the development of the IUCN species and ecosystem Red Listing and the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas in Africa.

Jafet NassarAnnual Report Coordinator, Jafet Nassar

Dr Jafet M. Nassar is Professor Associate Researcher at the Center for Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas ― IVIC). At present, he is General Coordinator (2016-2019) of the Latin American and Caribbean Bat Conservation Network (RELCOM). He obtained a degree in Biology from Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas (1991) and a Ph.D. in Tropical Biology at University of Miami (1999). His scientific work focuses on reproductive biology and population genetics of angiosperms of dry ecosystems in the Neotropical region, ecology and evolution of plant-animal interactions, as well as ecology and conservation of cacti and bats. Jafet is the SSC & GSP Annual Report Coordinator.

IUCN Commission Chairs are members of the governing Council of IUCN but, since these positions are not paid for by IUCN, most Commission Chairs serve in a voluntary capacity and the SSC receives generous financial support from the following institutions:

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