Global Managing Director, Oceans
Maria Damanaki is the Global Managing Director for Oceans at The Nature Conservancy. She leads a global team focused on transforming how the world manages its oceans, including sustainable fisheries management, large-scale protection and restoration of coral reefs and other ecosystems, coastal resilience and a first-of-its-kind mapping and quantification of the full value of the world’s oceans to people.
She believes that the only path to lasting, tangible results for a sustainable blue economy is collaboration across public, private and civil sectors—at both global and local levels—while always respecting the needs of both nature and people.
With over 30 years of public service in Europe, Maria most recently served for four years as European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Under her leadership, the Commission was able to bring fish populations back to healthier levels—from as few as five sustainable stocks in 2010 to up to 27 today. In just the next five years, the continuation of her fisheries policy efforts could lead to 15 million more tons of fish in the sea, 30 percent more jobs and the equivalent of over US $2 billion in additional revenue. She also introduced and implemented the Blue Growth agenda for Seas and Oceans in Europe, which aimed to create 1.6 million new jobs and the equivalent of US $750 billion in revenue by 2020 in sectors such as coastal tourism, ocean energy, and marine biotechnology. In addition, she established legislation to create a common framework for Marine Spatial Planning to map and better manage maritime activities across EU countries.
Maria is a member of the Friends of Ocean Commission of the World Economic Forum. She seats in the Board of Directors in Oxford Martin School Ocean Programme at the University of Oxford, Monaco Ocean Foundation, and Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS).
Maria previously served as a member of Greek Parliament for more than 25 years, and was the youngest-ever Member of Parliament when she was first elected in 1977. She became the first woman to lead a political party in Greece in 1990, preceded by being the first woman elected as Vice President of Parliament in 1986.
Born on the Greek island of Crete, Maria graduated with honors from the National Technical University of Athens with a Master of Science in chemical engineering. There, she played a leading role in the underground student opposition of the Greek military junta. She has authored four books on European issues, human rights, education and women’s rights.
Maria is based in the Conservancy’s London office. She enjoys traveling and spending time around the Greek islands with her three grown children.
Follow Maria on Twitter @damanaki.
In The News
Seychelles cerca la actividad de la flota atunera al cerrar el 15% de de su caladero, Faro de Vigo - February 22, 2018
UN General Assembly adopts resolution to move forward with high seas treaty negotiations, Mongabay - December 26, 2017
Protecting World's High Seas: UN Poised to Launch Landmark Treaty to Regulate International Waters, EU Bulletin - December 26, 2017
UN poised to move ahead with landmark treaty to protect high seas, The Guardian - December 22, 2017
Franse film laakt invloed ngo's op visserijbeleid, Reformatorisch Dagblad - September 30, 2017
Opinion: We Need a Paris Agreement for the Ocean, HuffPost - September 29, 2017
Empresas para salvar los mares, El País - September 23, 2017
Travel Industry Leaders Say Overtourism Caused by Lack of Planning, Skift - May 2, 2017
WTTC poll: Travel industry could do better job addressing overcrowding, Travel Weekly - April 27, 2017
Balancing act: This month's WTTC Global Summit, Travel Weekly - April 5, 2017
Tàn phá môi trường: Cuộc khủng hoảng thật sự ở Biển Đông, Báo điện tử Kiến Thức - March 29, 2017
The Real South China Sea Crisis Everyone Is Missing, The National Interest Online (blog) - March 27, 2017
Environmental groups plot course to reverse loss of mangroves during World Ocean Summit, The Yucatan Times - March 8, 2017
Mangrovie a rischio estinzione entro un secolo, ne perdiamo l'1% l’anno, Meteo Web - February 28, 2017
Global Mangrove Alliance Rallies the World to Reverse Loss of World’s Most Valuable Coastal Ecosystems during World Ocean Summit, Digital News Agency - February 24, 2017