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Ruth Fletcher

Senior Programme Officer | Conserving Land and Seascapes

Ruth is an inter-disciplinary scientist with expertise in ecology, economics, and social aspects of marine biodiversity issues. Combining this expertise with her excellent science and policy communication skills, Ruth is developing a theory of change for the marine programme that will enable better project monitoring and identify new opportunities to maximise the impact of our work. Ruth has a background in business engagement, particularly with the extractive sector and has previously worked on developing tools and supporting informed decision-making for understanding potential risks and impacts of industry activity in relation to biodiversity. She also has experience in the assessment of social and cultural values in the marine environment including the identification of community-held values towards ecosystem services.

Previous experience & expertise

Ruth has previously worked in the Centre’s Business & Biodiversity team, supporting our engagement with the extractive sector by communicating key science and policy work to a business audience and creating the resources to facilitate this. Her work particularly focused around the potential for integrating biodiversity data and information into company processes to help support informed risk management decision-making. Prior to joining the Centre, Ruth worked at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) as a technical researcher in marine ecosystem services following an MSc in Ecological Economics at Edinburgh University. Before this Ruth was a Principal Ecologist at a consultancy assessing ecological risk for construction and infrastructure projects. In this role, her work included: species surveys; Environmental Impact Assessment; biodiversity in the built environment including green roof design; and species translocation work. In addition to her qualification from Edinburgh, Ruth has an MSc in Ecology and Management of the Natural Environment, and a BSc in Biological Sciences from Bristol University.

Recent work by Ruth Fletcher

Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Deep Seas Project |

Ruth is leading on this key project for UNEP-WCMC. The project aim is to develop and test different area-based planning tools in areas beyond national jurisdiction. She leads a team of dedicated technical staff in the execution of the project activities including, working with two committed regional seas organisations to undertake workshops and explore this complex topic with their contracting parties.  In addition, technical work such as an analysis of the governance landscape in ABNJ, the project is undertaking a review of area-based planning tools suitability in ABNJ and a capacity assessment. This work will be used to support the development of ecosystem-based management tools for implementation in two pilot regions: the southeast Pacific and Western Indian Ocean regions, and to support ongoing negotiations on a new legally binding agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction.

Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction – input into the development of a new Implementing Agreement |

A Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) collaborative project aimed to support the ongoing process of developing a new Implementing Agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).  The new agreement will be under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.  As a result, a series of documents were prepared to support the progress towards an international agreement.  These included a horizon scan of threats to BBNJ and a review of legal options for BBNJ.  A specially convened high-level international deliberative workshop was attended by invited marine conservation and legal experts at which a the situation was debated. The results of this project were communicated through side events at two of the Preparatory Committees held by the United Nations in New York.

Delivery of International Goals through Marine Planning |

Ruth has undertaken research to determine the extent to which different types of area-based management tool can contribute towards the delivery of ocean-related Sustainable Development Goals. She has led a team in the analysis of case studies around the world, looking at the features of area based management tools.  Evidence was gathered on the enabling conditions and barriers to effective ecosystem-based management. Ruth is working on the production of a guidance document for the design and implementation of area-based management tools at a range of different scales to support the transition to a sustainable future ocean.