Tanya Abrahamse

  • Dr. Tanya Abrahamse is currently Chair of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Governing Board, a panel member of the UN Environment’s International Resources Panel (UN IRP), Deputy Chair of the Board of South African Tourism, a member of SA National Parks board, a trustee of the Women’s Development Bank (WDBT), and a founding member of the board of the Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA) — a South African think tank. 

    She previously was on the task team to form Future Earth — a global platform of science for society and sustainability — and was a member of the inaugural Science Advisory Board of the UN Secretary General (UNSAB). She worked in President Mandela’s Office in the Reconstruction and Development Programme from 1994, and later was Deputy Director General in South Africa’s national Department of Environmental Affairs responsible for resource use, including biodiversity, heritage, marine and coastal management, and tourism. Over the past 25 years she has led and participated in a range of local, national and international processes in the spheres of biodiversity, science, tourism and development on behalf of her country and in her personal capacity.

    Dr Abrahamse qualified as an applied entomologist from the University of Zambia, and from Imperial College – University of London, and Westminster University, London. For the past 10 years she led the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as CEO, with a broad mandate including managing the National Botanical Gardens network, leading the national biodiversity information management system and heading the human capital and job creation effort for the green sector. She also led SANBI as the national implementing entity for the Global Adaptation Fund (GAF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for South Africa.