75th WAZA Virtual Annual Conference Keynote Speakers

Posted: 2 October 2020

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is pleased to announce the keynote speakers for the upcoming 75th WAZA Virtual Annual Conference.


Sahil Merchant, partner at McKinsey & Company, will deliver the opening keynote address on Monday 12 October. Merchant will examine what it takes to lead organisations in an increasingly complex environment. The way organisations need to interact with customers, staff, partners, and other stakeholders has been rapidly evolving and many traditional leadership approaches are being questioned. He will also discuss leadership in rapidly evolving times – both at the individual and collective level – and how it impacts organisational performance.

James Gomme, Director of Sustainable Development Goals from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, will deliver a keynote address on Tuesday 13 October. Gomme will look at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), underlining why this framework is so important – particularly in the context of efforts to build back better in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He will explore the progress that has been made on the SDGs in the five years since their launch, and in particular speak to the critical role of the private sector in helping to drive positive SDG impact. He will also provide food for thought on how WAZA and its members can contribute to advancing this agenda in the critical decade to come.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), will be speaking on Wednesday 14 October and will examine and expand on how WAZA members can support important goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in particular for a future ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

On Thursday 15 October, Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), will discuss how WAZA zoos and aquariums can support CITES Parties in the implementation of the Convention, strengthen their partnerships with the CITES Secretariat, and offer support in the fight stop the illegal wildlife trade.

The conference will take place online from 12-15 October. It will feature panel discussions and presentations on a variety of topics, including COVID-19, animal welfare, conservation and sustainability, as well as updates from WAZA. For the full conference programme, please click here.

Conference registration is free for all staff of WAZA Member organisations, and there is a discounted rate for non-members which are a member of one or more of WAZA’s recognised regional and national associations.

For more information and to register, please visit: waza2020.org.

If you would like to grab the last chance to sponsor or exhibit at the WAZA Virtual Conference, please contact conference@waza.org.

We want to thank our sponsors and exhibitors for supporting the 75th WAZA Annual Conference.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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