Dr. Grethel Aguilar was appointed Deputy Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in March 2021.
Dr. Aguilar brings with her more than 25 years of experience in conservation and sustainable development, where she worked extensively on developing and applying environmental law and policy in collaboration with governments and civil society. In particular, she is deeply passionate about the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.
Through actively participating in field projects, she has helped communities’ access clean water, advocated for environmental justice, assisted indigenous peoples in obtaining rights to their natural resources, and championed gender equality in environmental governance.
Prior to joining IUCN as DDG she held the position of IUCN Regional Director for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. Dr. Aguilar also worked for the Costa Rican Environmental Law Center, later working in diverse capacities for organisations such as the Central American Commission for Environment and Development, the United Nations Environment Programme and various governments and donors.
Dr. Aguilar, a Costa Rican national, has authored multiple publications in the fields of environmental law and policy. She served as the 2018 Dorothy S McCluskey Visiting Fellow in Conservation at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and in 2001 received the title of Doctor of Law Outstanding “cum laude” from the University of Alicante, Spain, for her work on the legal implications of access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.