Zhang Xinsheng

Zhang Xinsheng


Mr Zhang Xinsheng is the President of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

As President of IUCN since 2012, Mr. Zhang has overseen IUCN’s governance, fostering constructive relations between all of its components of the Union, as well as guided its constructive engagement with critical international processes, including the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Concurrently, he is Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Eco-Forum Global (EFG), a leading Chinese NGO striving to build global consensus for a green and sustainable future. EFG, which has been instrumental in transforming the poverty-stricken province of Guizhou into a model of sustainable development and conservation, is at the forefront of advancing the Eco-Civilization strategy that is akin with the mission of IUCN and its focus on ecosystem-based approaches.

In addition, Mr Zhang is President of the China Education Association for International Exchange and a Member of the China Government Council for International Cooperation on Environment.

Mr. Zhang has previously served as Chairman of UNESCO Executive Board and World Heritage Committee, China’s Vice Minister of Education, and has been elected for two consecutive terms as Mayor of Suzhou municipality (pop. 6.7 million), turning it into a model city of economic growth and environmental protection. These roles have given him high-level experience in leading large and complex organisations, consensus building, and promoting science-based approaches and innovative solutions.

Mr Zhang graduated from the Military Institute of Technology and Zhejiang University. He received his Master’s degree with distinction from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Associates at Harvard Business School. He was among the first groups of visiting scholars sent by the Chinese government to study at the University of Denver in 1980. He has been awarded honorary Doctorate degrees by universities in the USA, Russia, Japan and Australia.


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"A great collection of people attending and presenting - and the plenary sessions were awesome - certainly amongst the best I've ever attended"

James Spurgeon
Director, Sustain Value