Experts' profiles - Robert Hepworth
Robert Hepworth
Robert Hepworth joined the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at Director Level in August 2000. Since August 2004 he has been the chief officer (Executive Secretary) of the UNEP Secretariat to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). In November 2005, Robert persuaded Parties to agree on a new Strategic Plan and a 30% increase in the Conventions budget. He set up a Scientific Task Force in August 2005 on Avian Influenza and the Environment. He has also created an effective working partnership between CMS and NGOs right cross the animal welfare, conservation and sustainable user spectrum.

Robert worked at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi from 2000-4 as Deputy Director for Environmental Conventions. He created a major WSSD Partnership at UNEP on great ape and tropical forest conservation (GRASP) and played a leading role in another WSSD Partnership on coral reefs in developing countries.

Robert has had 25 years in main career anchor as a British civil servant specializing in environmental issues. His most recent UK post was from 1994-2000, as Head of Global Wildlife Policy and executive division (now DEFRA) with responsibility for 125 staff.

He was the chair of an independent review into the Finnish State Environmental Agency (FEI), appointed by Government of Finland (1998). The ensuing Report was published in December 1998: Futures for FEI. He was elected Chair of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (June 1997-April 2000), Chair of the equivalent CMS body 1991-94 and chaired CMS CoPs three times during the 1990s.

He also conceived and co-chaired the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW) in partnership with UK police authorities and NGOs, established in 1995 and now an established model for effective joint action to enforce wildlife laws in UK. He served on the UK Government enquiry into the Shetland oil spill from 1993-1994. Robert had oversight of the Nature Conservancy Council (UK parastatal agency) in 1986-90 and responsibility for controversial legislation separating NCC into 3 separate regional agencies in 1989-90.

Robert was also the Principal Finance and Personnel Officer at the UK Countryside Commission, in 1980-3. He handled the change of the Commissions status to a parastatal agency and gained lasting skills in finance and human resource management.

Robert holds a First Class Honours Degree in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Birmingham.

He is married with two children.
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