Julia Marton-Lefèvre is an independent consultant in environment and sustainable development. She served as Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 2007 to 2015.
Marton-Lefèvre began her international career in the 1970s in UNESCO's environmental education program. She then worked for nearly 20 years at the International Council for Science (ICSU), where she served as Executive Director from 1986 to 1997. From 1997 to 2005, she led the Leadership for Environment and Development International (LEAD) program, intended to train professionals in sustainable development. Prior to joining IUCN, she was Rector of the University for Peace, an international academic institution set up by the UN. She has contributed to many books and written several articles, including "Biodiversity Is Our Life", (Science, 2010) and "IUCN's encounter with 007: safeguarding consensus for conservation" (Oryx, 2017).
Today, Julia Marton-Lefèvre puts her experience to good use in many international organizations, such as Biodiversity International and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). She also works in academia, including at Yale University, the Oxford Martin School and the Geneva Institute of International Studies and Development. She is a recipient of many awards, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for International Cooperation in Science, the ProNatura Award from Hungary, and the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur de France.
The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Julia Marton-Lefèvre by Christina Cameron the 28 March 2019 in Paris. Marton-Lefèvre talks about how, as Director General of IUCN, she wanted to recognize the importance of the World Heritage Convention within the organization. She also recounts her experience at two Committee meetings, those of 2008 (Quebec) and 2010 (Brasilia), where she noted the significant politicization of the Convention. She also discusses issues such as the importance of strengthening the links between culture and nature as well as the synergy between the different environmental conventions.
Under the leadership of the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage at the University of Montreal, an international team of researchers conducts interviews with pioneers of World Heritage to capture memories of important moments in the history of UNESCO Convention.
Launched in 2006, this initiative is part of the UNESCO History project that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the creation of UNESCO. The Oral Archives project records the precious witness of people closely associated with the creation and implementation of the Convention. Their recollections and views have greatly enriched the book by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler, Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention (Ashgate/Routledge, 2013).