Jan McAlpine is Director of the United Nations Division on Forests and head of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat, based at UN Headquarters in New York. The UNFF is a body in the United Nations made up of all 192 countries in the United Nations. It addresses all aspects of forests – from complete protection on one end of the spectrum to sustainable use one the other end, and everything in-between, including people, climate change, soils, water and biodiversity, among other issues. Ms. McAlpine was appointed by the Secretary-General in November 2008 to head the Secretariat.
Jan McAlpine served previously as the Senior Advisor and lead for Forests in the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC, and in that role headed the interagency and stakeholder process in the development of the President’s Initiative Against Illegal Logging (PIAIL), which was launched by then Secretary of State Colin Powell. She also led in the development of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership at the Department of State, launched at the WSSD in Johannesburg by Secretary Powell in September, 2002. Ms. McAlpine also conceived and developed the Asia and Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Ministerial process, working with the World Bank and the governments of Indonesia and Cameroon along with other key donors, notably the United Kingdom’s DFID.
In 2007 and 2008, Ms. McAlpine was a Visiting Scholar and Senior Researcher at the University of Michigan’s School for Natural Resources and Environment, where she co-facilitated and chaired the first every National Summit on Adaptation to Climate Change and edited the proceedings for the Summit. She also helped to establish the Central Africa Forest Research Initiative and now serves as Chair of its Advisory Board.
Ms. McAlpine served in the U.S. Government from 1989, first with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focusing on international policy issues, including developing the first advisory committee to the Administrator on trade and environment issues. Subsequently she worked at the White House, first with the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and then in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as a negotiator on issues relating to international forest and timber trade, as well as on tobacco trade and health policy.
Prior to her career in the U.S. Government, Ms. McAlpine worked for 11 years for the Water Environment Federation, an international, educational association in the water quality field, during which she won the U.S. Industrial Film & Video Festival Silver Screen Award as Producer of the video “H20 TV.”