Robert Watson

University of East Anglia

Emeritus Professor former Strategic Director

Professor Sir Robert T. Watson FRS is Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Watson is one of the most influential environmental scientists worldwide, contributing to multiple assessments of sciences to inform international and national policies and actions.

Among key positions held, Watson was former Chief Scientist at the UK Department of Food, Environment, and Rural Affairs; former Chief Scientist and Director for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development at the World Bank; and Associate Director for Environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President in the White House; and Director of the Science Division and Chief Scientist for the Office of Mission to Planet Earth at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Watson Chaired and co-Chaired a number of influential scientific assessments, including: Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II; co-Chair of UNEP's Global Biodiversity Assessment; co-Chair of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science & Technology for Development; Board of Directors of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; and multiple International Scientific Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone.

Watson has received many national and international awards and prizes for his contributions to science, including the Asahi Glass Blue Planet Prize and the UN Champion of the World for Science and Innovation.

Role at Council
Director of Strategic Development

Research Interests
Watson is an atmospheric chemist by formation. His research interests include biodiversity and ecosystem services, agriculture, climate change, and ozone.

Key publications:

Watson, R.T., N. Nakicenovic, E. Rosenthal, J. Goldemberg, L. Srivastava, K. Jiang, D. Messner, K. Anderson, D. Orge-Vorsatz, L. Verchot, et al. (2014). Tackling the Challenge of Climate Change: A near-term actionable mitigation agenda. Report commissioned by the Republic of Nauru, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) The UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis of the Key Findings. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge.

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