imagesSince 1991 I am a member of the Species Survival Commission.

In 1999 I participated to a Species Survival Commission strategic planning workshop in Djerba, Tunisia. My initial involvement in SSC work consisted in the active participation in the activities of the Cetacean Specialist Group (CSG), where I have been serving as deputy chair since 1997. Work in the CSG mostly consists in the assessment of the global status of cetacean populations, and in developing means of improving future assessments. In particular, I have helped developing and maintaining a network of experts on cetacean conservation, and participated in the drafting of “Dolphins, Whales and Porpoises: 2002­2010 Conservation Action Plan for the World’s Cetaceans”. I am part of the Cetacean Red List Authority.

images-1In 1993 I was also invited to become a member of the Shark Specialist Group (1993), and in such capacity I participated in various workshops, including the 2003 San Marino workshop on the assessment of the Red List status of Mediterranean sharks and rays, and the 2005 Newbury (UK) Red List Expert Panel Meeting, to review and evaluate species assessments conducted by the Shark Specialist Group Network, for submission to the 2005 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

In 2000 I joined the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA – Marine), and asked to coordinate a Mediterranean Group on the Commission’s behalf. My task involved the creation of a regional expert group to pursue the goals of WCPA in the Mediterranean, support the process of the establishment and governance of MPAs in the region, and develop a clear set of principles guiding the establishment and management of a network of MPAs. In 2004 I was contracted by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation to carry out such work on behalf of WCPA in the Mediterranean. In such capacity, from 6 to 8 December 2004 I organised and chaired a scoping meeting in Livorno, Italy, to support Mediterranean States to meet the 2012 WSSD target on Networks of Mediterranean MPAs. The meeting was attended by a dozen of international MPA experts, was funded by Regione Toscana, and hosted by the Agenzia Regionale Protezione Ambiente della Toscana (ARPAT), in cooperation with Comune and Provincia di Livorno, and the IUCN Malaga Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation.

In 2003 I was also invited to participate to a High Seas Marine Protected Areas (HSMPAs) Workshop jointly organised in Malaga (Spain) by IUCN, WCPA and WWF, and have later become a member of the Steering Committee of the WCPA High Seas MPA Working Group. I was invited to participate to the 5th World Parks Congress (Durban, 2003), to present the significance of the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals within the context of the establishment of marine protected areas in the High Seas, and to participate in the drafting of the Recommendation by that Congress concerning HSMPAs.

In 2012, in cooperation with Erich Hoyt, I created the IUCN Joint SSC/WCPA Task Force on Marie Mammal Protected Areas, acknowledging that marine mammal MPAs form some of the most iconic of all MPAs, that the species themselves have a very high resonance with people which is underplayed currently in IUCN WCPA, and that some areas of the ocean are disproportionally high in importance to marine mammals, based on reproduction, feeding, migration, and other vital activities. Many of these areas of value to marine mammals overlap with common threats.  One tool that can be effective in conserving marine mammals and their habitats is to designate protected areas that specifically address those threats and have a clear marine mammal conservation objective.

In 2013 I was invited to join SSC’s Marine Conservation Sub-committee.