Barbara Slee has been working for IFAW since February 2008 and started as the Political and Campaign Officer for the seal campaign and marine mammal issues. Together with the IFAW seal team, she managed to secure an amazing victory when the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the EU seal trade ban after intensive campaigning against commercial seal hunting.
Barbara is currently the EU political lead on marine mammal issues (mostly seals and whales); she is involved with the defense of the EU seal trade ban at WTO level, and follows trade and accession negotiations, making sure that accession candidates and (potential) trade partners respect and fully implement EU legislation on wildlife conservation.
Prior to working for IFAW, she worked consecutively as a researcher at Leiden University (The Netherlands) and attended international conferences as an expert on indigenous affairs and conservation of biodiversity as part of the Foreign Affairs delegation of The Netherlands, as a Parliamentary Officer for a Dutch Member of the European Parliament and as EU Operations Manager for a non-governmental peace building organisation in Brussels.
Barbara has a Law degree with a specialisation in European and International law, as well as an Anthropology degree with a specialisation in environmental studies. She finalised both studies with a research project during several months in the tropical forest in Ecuador and wrote her final thesis on ‘The Protection of Traditional Knowledge related to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity’. Her thesis was later included as a chapter in a publication of Tropenbos Instituut titled ‘The position of Indigenous Peoples in the Management of Tropical Forests’ and she wrote other articles on related subjects.