Virginia Young, Chair

Virginia has been involved in successful environmental campaigns across Australia since the late 1980s.

Prior to this she ran the mining section of the Foreign Investment Division in the Federal Treasury and then her own business. She pioneered a continental scale approach to nature conservation in Australia, called ‘Wild Country’ and also played a leading role as the Wilderness Society’s National Forest Campaign Co-ordinator in the difficult arena of protecting Australia’s native forests.

Virginia has been involved in international climate processes and campaigns since 2007. The opportunities and challenges which were apparent then led her to create (working with key ally Global Witness) an alliance of like-minded international ENGO’s called the Ecosystems Climate Alliance who work together to bring good science, good policy and nature advocacy into the UNFCCC.

Virginia was awarded Wild magazine’s Environmentalist of the Year in 2001, and was recognised as one of 20 ‘Global Wilderness Visionaries’ by the World Wilderness Congress in 2010.

She is currently Director of the International Forests and Climate Programme for the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society (ARCS) working in the international policy arena on primary forests as part of a global collaborative research programme funded through Griffith University.

Virginia is also a member of the steering committee of an international, science based collaborative initiative called IntAct – focused on increasing global attention on the climate and biodiversity imperative to protect what’s left of Earth’s primary forests.

A past president of the Australian Committee for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), she continues to support the work of IUCN through involvement in the IUCN Task Force on primary forests and intact forest landscapes. Other voluntary work includes supporting the Mikisew Cree to reduce threats to the Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Area, which protects the largest freshwater delta in the world and one of the largest forested national parks in the world.


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© Raana Scott - Carnaby cockatoo in flight, flame grevillea