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Waterfalls at Iguaçu National Park, Brazil.
Iguaçu National Park Waterfalls at Iguaçu National Park, Brazil. © Scott Warren

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The Nature Conservancy Appoints Leonardo Lacerda as Global Managing Director for Climate

Lacerda Brings Decades of Experience in Environmental, Human Development, and Social Justice Fields

in the Canadian Arctic
Leonardo Lacerda in the Canadian Arctic. © Anne Henshaw

Today, The Nature Conservancy announced that philanthropy executive and international expert, Leonardo Lacerda, will be joining the organization as its new global managing director for climate. Lacerda will begin his new role on May 1, 2021.

Lacerda brings nearly 30 years of experience building diversity and inspiring teams to achieve high-level goals in the environment, human development, and social justice sectors. Since 2007, he’s served as environment program director for the Oak Foundation where he managed a portfolio of grants in excess of $350 million and built a team to address climate change, marine conservation, and illegal wildlife trade.

“At a time when the world needs global momentum to tackle the interconnected emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss, Leonardo brings leadership, creative thinking, warmth, and a deep understanding of environmental and conservation issues to TNC,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO. “As TNC works to bolster nature-based solutions, promote clean energy solutions, and work with global governments to build communities’ resilience to climate change, his passion, problem-solving attitude, and work to drive social change will help us reach our goals.”

Prior to joining the Oak Foundation, Lacerda held various senior positions with WWF where he worked to assert indigenous people’s forest land tenure rights, enabled the establishment of nature parks and preserves in over 50 countries, from the Amazon to the Taiga forests, and helped protect key marine and terrestrial habitat in the Mediterranean.

“TNC – as a science-based, mission-driven, and solutions-focused organization – is leading the way on addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Lacerda. “The world is at a tipping point and we need to act quickly to address climate change and the biodiversity crisis. I look forward to leading a team of passionate, committed, creative, and talented individuals, to harvesting the formidable diversity of the global TNC network, and to building the partnerships that will deliver on high impact climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.”

Lacerda’s appointment follows a rigorous hiring process that saw candidates from 5 countries with various backgrounds in government, non-profit, industry, scientific, and academia. He received his B.A. in international relations from the University of Brasilia in Brazil and his M.A. in International Relations – with a focus on international relations and Latin America – from Johns Hopkins University, Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Lacerda, who holds dual Brazilian and Swiss citizenship and is fluent in five languages, will be based in Brazil. In his spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, reading philosophy, playing bossa nova on the guitar, and translating poetry.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.