The Kew Guild Medal 2015 was awarded to H. Noel McGough, MSc.
Job Title: Head of Conventions and Policy Section
Department: Conservation, Living Collections, and Estates
Section: Conventions and Policy
Noel joined Kew in 1988. Apart from the line management of the Conventions and Policy Section and of the UK Overseas Territories and Conservation Training teams, Noel’s role at Kew involves advising the UK government on the application of international biodiversity related conventions to plants. This role also includes conservation governance and negotiation, packaging scientific advice for government policy makers, inter-governmental decision-makers and for international negotiations. Noel is often found leading for the United Kingdom and European Union Presidency in international negotiations.
His day to day job involves managing Kew’s role as UK Scientific Authority for Plants under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and supporting the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity at Kew and in partner countries. The investigation of trade in wild plants and the assessment of possible detrimental trade and the effective application of the CITES Non-Detriment Finding process.
Noel is often working with partner countries to identify methods to correct detrimental trade, in particular through the CITES Significant Trade process and the CITES Plants Committee. This can include developing tools and building capacity to help countries fulfil their obligations under international conventions and building global partnerships through the mechanisms of international biodiversity related conventions.
Noel is a member of the CITES Plants Committee, Chair of CITES Plants Committee Significant Trade Working Group, and Co-Chair of the CITES Advisory Panel for the Evaluation of the Review of Significant Trade. In addition, he is a member of the European Union CITES Scientific Review Group, a member of the CITES Standing Committee Working Group on the use of Taxonomic Serial Numbers, a member of the Defra Advisory Panel for the Methodology for Assessment of Priorities for International Species Conservation and a member of the UK CITES Officers Group. A further significant role is as a UK Government delegate for CITES meetings of the Conference of the Parties, CITES technical committees, European Union meetings and in negotiations.
Projects Noel is involved with include CITES checklists, listed timbers, trade research, Climate Change Science Policy, Plant Diversity Challenge: the Official UK Response to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and Significant Trade in CITES Plants
Noel has not only been instrumental in building capacity and expertise in the Conventions and Policy section but is recognised by Defra and other international bodies as a key player in the arenas of CITES and latterly of the CBD. He has made a significant contribution to help Kew maintain and enhance its collections legally, to train numerous staff and relevant external people in most aspects of CITES implementation and has been an effective ambassador for Kew.