Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

Acting Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, a national of the United Republic of Tanzania, was appointed Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) with effect on 1 December 2019.

Ms. Mrema is the Director of the Law Division at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and has worked with UNEP for over two decades. Prior to joining the Law Division in June 2014, she was 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 responsibilities 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 entitled the UNEP Baobab Staff Award, for exceptional performance and dedication towards achieving the Organization’s goals. In 2009, she was appointed 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, thereafter joined the UNEP/Ecosystems Division in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ms. Mrema’s work at UNEP has focused on development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws at national, regional and international levels, among others. Her various roles over the years, include being coordinator of capacity-building and compliance and enforcement projects related to environmental law and the multilateral environmental conventions. Before 2009, She was a Senior Legal Officer and Chief of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Support and Cooperation Branch in the then Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, and later a Principal Legal Officer and Chief of the Biodiversity/Land Law and Governance Branch in the same Division.

Before joining UNEP, Ms. Mrema worked with Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and left as a Counsellor/Senior Legal Counsel. During her time with the Ministry, she lectured 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, Rome, Italy.

A lawyer and career diplomat with LLB (Hons) from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, LLM from Dalhousie University, Halifax, 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. Ms. Mrema has published articles on international environmental law, compliance and enforcement of conventions and developed several multilateral environmental agreements negotiation tools, handbooks and guidelines currently used by UNEP in its capacity-building programmes.