By Joyce Ojanji

Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed is the new Director General of WorldFish and the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) Senior Director of Aquatic Foods.

The appointment follows a comprehensive global search, where more than 45 applicants competed for the role.

The former Head of Blue Economy at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) will assume the post immediately having taken on the interim role since 4th January 2022.

Prior to stepping up to the helm at WorldFish, he was the Global Lead for Climate Resilience and Environmental Sustainability. Hailing from Eritrea, Dr. Mohammed will be WorldFish’s first Director General of African descent.

According to WorldFish Board of Trustees Chair Professor Baba Yusuf Abubakar, Dr. Mohammed is a leading interdisciplinary systems thinker, researcher and policy adviser with a strong background in the economics of the ocean and fisheries.

“From a field of many qualified candidates, it became clear to the nominations committee that Dr. Mohammed displayed the best qualities which WorldFish needs at present. These included an equity-first approach to science and knowledge in aquatic foods and fish breeding, a compelling vision of where our sector requires unique comparative and competitive contributions from WorldFish science and interdependent aquatic foods in the CGIAR and an inclusive approach to leadership and team development,’’ he said.

CGIAR Executive Managing Director Dr. Claudia Sadoff acknowledged Dr. Mohammed as a passionate advocate for the potential for ‘blue capital’ to help alleviate hunger and poverty and a champion for CGIAR’s goal to provide food and nutrition security for all.

In his appreciation remarks, the new Director General said this was a great opportunity to lead WorldFish in pursuit to transform food, land and water systems with aquatic foods by developing and delivering best-fit-for-context, world-class innovations adapted for today’s fast-paced global economy and the climate crisis, delivering a triple-win for nature, climate and people.

Dr. Mohammed has over two decades of international, multi-country experience in Sub-Saharan Africa, South, South East and East Asia, Latin America and Europe. Many nations have sought his advice, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Myanmar, Vietnam, Albania, Egypt and Lebanon

He serves on numerous advisory bodies including the Group of Experts for the second cycle of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects of the United Nations.