Tony Ribbink


Tony Ribbink

Chief Executive, Sustainable Seas Trust
WWF South Africa

Dr A J Ribbink is an internationally recognised scientist who applies his expertise in the service of the people of South Africa and Africa as a whole. He bridges the gap between science and community by placing science and technology in the appropriate socio-economic context with the specific aim of improving the quality of life of many rural communities. Hundreds have benefited from Dr Ribbink’s capacity-building initiatives and from being positively exposed to science and many continue to benefit from the Sustainable Seas Trust. For many years Dr Ribbink also leveraged science and technology to enable the peoples of different countries to work in concert to achieve African-defined and African-driven visions. He also anticipated by many years the human rights issues current today by, for instance, initiating in the late 1970’s the development of the Lake Malawi National Park in which villagers were able to maintain their traditional rights. In November 2007 Dr Ribbink became a founding trustee and CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust. Preceding this he was the Director of the World Bank GEF project on Lake Malawi/Nyasa for Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. From 1999 to 2005, he managed two international WWF projects on freshwaters, and concurrently, from 2002 to 2007, developed, raised the funds for and managed the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme (ACEP). Dr Ribbink has authored more than 100 scientific and other publications, and his work has been internationally recognised with, among others, a gold medal from WWF for contributions to conservation and education and a silver medal for limnological research, an award only presented four times since the society’s inception in 1964. In 2008 Dr Ribbink was awarded the Royal Society of Southern Africa’s Centenary medal. During his career, Dr Ribbink has also been part of the production of more than 40 environmental education films, initially as an underwater cameraman and later as an advisor and producer.


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