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Visiting Fellow, Institute of Environmental Studies, UNSW Sydney

Rosie Cooney is a biodiversity/environmental policy specialist, with over fifteen years experience in biodiversity policy research, analysis and development. Since late 2011 she has held the position of Chair of the IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), a global network of experts in sustainable use of wild resources and its contribution to human livelihoods. She consults to governments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, as well as maintaining academic links in teaching and research at a leading Australian university. She was appointed to the inaugural United Nations Science Advisory Board, a small group that provides scientific advice to the Secretary-General. She is a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Asia-Pacific Regional Assessment and for its global Thematic Assessment on Sustainable Use of Biodiversity.

She has experience across many areas of biodiversity-related policy and management, with a strong emphasis on finding approaches that both meet human needs and conserve biodiversity. Particular areas of expertise and interest are sustainable use and management of biological resources, the relationship between conservation and local livelihoods, illegal wildlife trade and the role of indigenous people and local livelihoods in combating it, international wildlife trade and its conservation and livelihood impacts, dealing with uncertainty and applying the precautionary principle in conservation and natural resource management; global environmental governance.

Rosie holds degrees in Zoology (Hons, First) and in Law (Hons, First) from ANU and a PhD in Zoology from Cambridge. She has worked for leading international conservation organisations including IUCN – The World Conservation Union, WWF, and Fauna & Flora International, carried out research projects at Cambridge and UNSW, taught for several years in the Fenner School at ANU, and currently teaches at UNSW.


  • 2014–2015
    Board Member, United Nations Secretary-General's Science Advisory Board
  • 2006–2015
    Visiting Fellow, UNSW Institute of Environmental Studies
  • 2012–2015
    Chair, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
  • 2006–2013
    Visiting Fellow and Course Convenor, ANU Fenner School
  • 2007–2008
    Research Fellow, University of New South Wales
  • 2003–2006
    Project Coordinator, IUCN, TRAFFIC, FFI and ResourceAfrica joint project
  • 2000–2001
    Wildlife Trade and CITES Officer, WWF International