Musonda Mumba

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Musonda Mumba
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  • Bsc in Conservation Biology, Education and Psychology
  • Diploma in Environmental Management
  • Ph.D in Wetland Hydrology and Conservation
Alma mater
  • University of Zambia
  • University of Queensland
  • TU Dresden
  • University College London
  • Environmentalist
  • Biologist
Years active1995-present
Known forChief of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit (TEU)
AwardsZayed International Prize for the Environment (2005)

Musonda Mumba is the Chief of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit (TEU).[1]-United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) in Nairobi, Kenya, and the chair of Glob­al Partnership for Forest and Landscape Restoration[2]. Her career spans over 20 years with expertise in Environmental and Development issues related to Climate Change science (adaptation and mitigation), conservation, water governance, Ecosystem resilience, Disaster Risk Reduction & Management, transboundary and integrated landscape management, and natural resources governance issues. Musonda is also the founder of the Network of African Women Environmentalists(NAWE) in partnership with FAO, Wangari Maathai Foundation, UNDP, UN Women, Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and Partners for Resilience.


Musonda holds a Ph.D in Wetland Hydrology and Conservation (Ted Hollis Scholarship) from the University College London, London. She is the first awardee of the Ted Hollis Scholarship in Wetland Hydrology and Conservation[3]

  • Diploma in Biological Control of Tropical weeds University of Queensland
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Management Dresden University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Education Degree- Conservation Biology, Education and Psychology University of Zambia


Musonda's career started in 1995 on her appointment as a Natural Resources Officer and Biologist at the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) in Lusaka, Zambia. She then relocated to Switzerland in 1998 where she was appointed as the Assistant Regional Coordinator for Africa at the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Gland from 1998 to 1999 before joining WWF International in 2000 as the Program Manager & Living Waters Campaigner. At WWF she contributed to the design and development of the WWF Flagship Living Waters Campaign – a campaign designed to raise the profile of conserving and managing freshwater sustainability and the development of innovative communication and knowledge management strategy for the Living Waters Campaign[4] with input for the relevant governments of the five (5) river basins namely – The Mekong, Orinoco, Vistula, Niger and Yangtze.

In 2006 she relocated back to Africa and was appointed the Freshwater Programme Regional Coordinator for the WWF Eastern Africa Regional Programme Office (WWF-EARPO). At WWF-EARPO she led an Expedition to the Rwenzori Mountains in February 2008 with a team of 25 to study links between climate change & Glacial recession in Tropical Mountain Systems and the implementation of a Norwegian Government (NORAD) funded project on mainstreaming climate change adaptation into the freshwater program projects across east Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) She also conceptualized, developed and led the implementation of the first-ever Payment for Environmental Services (PES) on the Lake Naivasha (a Ramsar site) in Kenya in collaboration with the Resources Management Authority (WRMA), funded by the Dutch government.

In 2008 she was appointed as the Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Coordinator for Climate Change Adaptation Unit (CCAU) at UN Environment where she served for 10 years. At CCAU she fundraised for and led the implementation of the Nile Basin Adaptation Project (2009 – 2012) a USD 4 million, in collaboration with all 11 Nile Basin countries and the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). She also mobilized resources and led the production of the first-ever Africa Mountains Atlas which was eventually launched at the Africa Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) in 2014. She also fundraised, led, and coordinated implementation & closure of the Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Mountain Project 2011 – 2016 in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The World Conservation Union (IUCN), local partners & governments of Nepal, Peru and Uganda.

In 2018 Musonda was appointed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) as the Chief of Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit (TEU). In this role, she leads the implementation of UN Environment components under the United Nations Collaborative Partnership (UNDP, UNEP, and FAO) on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (the UN-REDD Programme) as well as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021 – 2030). In 2019 she was appointed as Chair of the Glob­al Partnership for Forest and Landscape Restoration, a position she will hold for two years.

Board appointments

  • Chair: Global Partnership for Forest and Landscape Restoration[5] (GPFLR)
  • Co-Chair: The Mountain Partnership Steering Committee [6]
  • UN Environment representative as an Advisory Member[7] on the IDRC-DFID Advisory Board for Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA).
  • Member of the Climate Bonds Initiative Water Technical Working Group[8] (WTWG) Phase II focused on developing criteria for water-related nature-based investments.
  • Founder and advisor[9] –Network of the African Women Environmentalists (NAWE).

Awards and honors

  • 2005:Zayed International Prize for the Environment as contributing author to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.



  • Mumba; Kutegeka, Sophie; Nakangu, Barbara; Munang, Richard (October 3, 2016). "Chapter 7:Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) of African Mountain Ecosystems: Experiences from Mount Elgon, Uganda". In N, Salzmann (ed.). Climate change adaptation strategies — An Upstream-downstream perspective. Springer International. pp. 121–140. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-40773-9_7.

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