GRP welcomes new CEO, Deon Nel

Author: Ida Gabrielsson

Posted on 5 April 2018

Currently the Global Conservation Director at WWF, Nel will officially begin 1 August 2018.

Dr. Deon Nel, a central figure in WWF’s global conservation programme has been selected as the new chief executive officer (CEO) for the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP). The GRP is an independent partnership of public and private organisations joining forces to help the most of vulnerable societies to adapt and prosper in an increasingly volatile future. The GRP believes that building resilience underpins the achievement of sustainable development in a rapidly changing world.

Since 2017, the partnership has been hosted by the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC).

Nel hails from South Africa and has spent most of his career working in and with developing countries, particularly in Africa. In his current role at the WWF, he oversees WWF’s conservation efforts spanning around 100 countries. He also has experience with developing partnerships between the public sector, private sector, and with multilateral development banks. Furthermore, he has overseen WWF’s Global Policy & Advocacy team during the finalisation and adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

An important moment for GRP

Nel sees the partnership as a great opportunity to drive impact at scale towards a more sustainable future. He is excited to take on the role of CEO and to lead the partnership in its next phase.

“The world needs to be more focused on building resilience than ever before. We are at a threshold where risk levels related to a more volatile climate and degradation of natural resources are higher than ever before. On the other hand, the links between building resilience and the mitigation of these risks are better understood than ever before., The need and opportunity for this Partnership to improve the lives of millions of vulnerable people is therefore massive. This is an incredibly important and opportune moment for Global Resilience Partnership, which I am excited to be part of and lead in the future.” 

Nel is also motivated by Global Resilience Partnership, being an “action oriented partnership” that aims to deliver change, and act as the bridge between knowledge, understanding, learning, and action. “This is what makes the partnership so interesting and exciting,” he says.

Intellectual foundation from SRC

It is important to be linked to the Stockholm Resilience Centre and to have the “intellectual foundation” from the centre that can guide the partnership’s work, says Nel.

“If we are to meet our ambitions and make most of the opportunities to have a positive impact we will need to intervene in a very strategic and systemic way. The intellectual foundation of the SRC can help guide our interventions to maximise our impact. We want to act, learn, improve, and scale continuously.”

Line Gordon, centre deputy director and deputy science director is delighted to have recruited Dr. Deon Nel to lead the GRP. Gordon believes he has exceptional skills in the science to practice interphase.

“His experience in leading strategic reorganisation of WWF at a global level, his long international engagements with partnerships between science and business, and his work with evidence-based policy processes, are experiences that will add a lot of value for us at SRC and for the GRP.”

Carl Folke, science director at the SRC, agrees with Gordon. He believes that “Nel has the vision, drive, skillset to lead the GRP in its next phase and help expand the development agenda and apply resilience for a more sustainable world.”

Nel will be based at the centre and will officially begin on 1 August 2018 but will be involved in strategic decisions and discussion from now and onwards.