Elizabeth Maruma MREMA

LLB (Hons): 1981

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema [née Maruma] is our Alumna of the month for July. She was born on 5 January 1957 in Moshi District, Kilimanjaro region, where she had her primary education from the early to the end of the 1960s. She obtained her Ordinary-level secondary education in the same district at Ashira Girls Secondary School (1971-1974), where she took and passed well a challenging combination of ten arts and science subjects (History, English Language, English Literature, Kiswahili, Civics, Geography, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology). She moved on to ‘advanced-level’ secondary education at Tabora Girls’ in 1975 and 1976, again passing well in all the Advanced-level subjects she had selected, namely History, Geography, English, Literature, and Mathematics. In August 1978, she was admitted at the University of Dar es Salaam, registering for a three-year degree programme in law at the Faculty [now School] of Law. She graduated with honors LLB in 1981. Upon graduation from the University, Elizabeth was engaged by the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Chambers from 1981 to 31 December 1991 as a legal counsel in legal matters, mostly prosecuting judicial cases on behalf of the Government. It was also in this position that she prepared and successfully defended the country’s reports to the Human Rights Bodies for purposes of implementation by Human Rights instruments. Among other tasks, she developed and drafted legislation, such as the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and lectured several law students on public international law. In this capacity, she was able to provide legal opinions that enabled the country to ratify or accede to several international and regional conventions. With effect from 1984, well up to 1988, she was seconded to the Centre for International Relations in Kurasini as a part-time lecturer in international law and conference diplomacy.

From 01 January 1992?and for a whole 28 years of a professional career to date?Mrs. Mrema has been working with the United Nations, serving at different levels. She has successively served as:

  • Principal Legal Counsel and Chief, UNEP-Biodiversity, Land Law & Governance Branch (Nairobi) & later plus Officer-In-Charge, UNEP’s Secretariat of the Convention On Migratory Species Of Wild Animals (CMS), Bonn, Germany, March-October 2009;
  • Executive Secretary, UNEP’s Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) & Acting Executive Secretary for the Convention’s Agreements (Ascobans and the Gorilla Agreement), Bonn, Germany, 2009- 2012;
  • Deputy Director and later Acting Director & Acting Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention of Migratory Species (Division Of Environmental Policy Implementation) (UN Environment Programme (International Organization), Bonn, Germany, 2012-2014)
  • Director, Law Division (Nairobi. Kenya, 2014-2020);
  • Acting Director, Corporate Services Division (while also serving at the time as Director, Law Division) (2018); and
  • Acting Executive Secretary for the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) (2019-2020).
  • Now Executive Secretary for the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD).

As one can quickly note, Elizabeth’s work at UNEP has focused on the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws at all levels - national, regional, and international. Over the years, she has played different roles within the UNEP, including that of coordinating various efforts in capacity-building, in compliance and in enforcement with respect to the key themes of environmental conservation; promoting and maintaining biological diversity; and a range of multilateral conventions and laws to support the efforts. On her part as a scholar, researcher, practitioner, and ‘advocate of a philosophy’, Elizabeth Mrema has enjoyed her work at the UN and everywhere she has been assigned tasks. She has published widely on these themes, including Redirected UNEP’s Technical Assistance in Environmental Law & Policy (in UNEP Edited Book, 1996); Enforcement Measures Against Illegal Wildlife Trade (in UNEP, 1996); Role of UNEP in Environmental Law Development and Policy (UNEP, 1999); Institutional Framework on Environmental Law in Afghanistan (2002); Legal and Institutional Framework on Environmental Law in the Palestinian Territories (2003); UNEP Guidelines and Manual on Compliance with and Enforcement of MEAs (INECE, 2006); Negotiating and Implementing MEAs: Manual for NGOs (UNEP & Stakeholder Forum, 2007); and MEAs Negotiator’s Handbook: 2nd Edition (University of Joensuu Series 5, 2007). In loud and lucid terms, the University of Dar es Salaam feels proud of her performance in such a big international and intercultural organisation as the UNEP is