Galloway McLean, Kirsty



    Research Interests

    • Access to genetic resources
    • Biodiplomacy
    • Biotechnology and biosafety
    • Capacity-building
    • Climate Change
    • Environmental governance
    • Information management
    • Sustainable development
    • Traditional Knowledge


    • Australian National University (School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    • Australian National University
    • Australian College of Journalism


    • Executive Manager, Centre for the Mind, Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University/University of Sydney
    • Technical Advisor and Risk Assessor, Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee, Government of Australia
    • Director, BioChimera Consulting Group
    • Scientific & Technical Information Officer / Lead, Biosafety Clearing-House, Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme
    • Assistant Director, Biotechnology Australia, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Government of Australia

    Biographical Statement

    Kirsty Galloway McLean, an Australian national, is currently working at the UNU Institute for Advanced Sciences (UNU-IAS) on the Traditional Knowledge Initiative, heading research on traditional knowledge and climate change, overseeing various communications activities (including as lead editor of the TK Bulletin), and contributing to research programs on access to genetic resources, biotechnology and biodiplomacy issues. She is particularly interested in cross-disciplinary research.

    Kirsty has extensive experience with a range of international organizations working on global issues relevant to the environment in addition to her work at UNU. During seven years with the Convention on Biological Diversity (United Nations Environment Programme), her work focussed on biodiversity, biosafety risk assessments and information technology, and she was the chief architect behind the UN’s Biosafety Clearing-House. She was in charge of the scientific and technical information programme of the Convention’s Biosafety Protocol, where she acted as secretary to intergovernmental meetings, helped organize meetings of the Conference of the Parties, and represented the Executive Secretary of the Convention in many international meetings, ranging from diplomatic missions to expert workshops.

    Kirsty has held academic and managerial positions at the Australian National University, including as Executive Manager of the Centre for the Mind (an interdisciplinary centre researching creativity established under the ANU’s Institute of Advanced Studies). She has also worked with the Australian government as a senior science and innovation policy advisor, Ministerial speech-writer, and as a technical advisor and risk assessor with the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee. Additional experience ranges from laboratory bench work to freelance journalism.

    Kirsty has authored numerous policy, public and technical publications. She has contributed to a variety of policy committees within the UN framework (e.g. specialist bodies, Bureaux, Conference of the Parties) and national government (e.g., advisory committees, submissions to Cabinet), as well as environmental, cultural and educational bodies and grass-roots organizations.

    Kirsty holds an advanced degree in science (specializing in virology and genetics) and a bachelor’s degree in arts (majoring in cross-cultural communication and linguistics) from the Australian National University, and a diploma in journalism. She is the Director of BioChimera, and has carried out consulting projects for various UN agencies, including the United Nations Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, as well as private companies and non-government organisations.

  • Peer-reviewed Books

    • Nakashima, DJ, Galloway McLean, K, Thulstrup, H, Ramos Castillo, A and Rubis, JT (2012). Weathering Uncertainty: Traditional Knowledge for Climate Change Assessment and Adaptation. Paris, UNESCO, and Darwin, UNU TKI, 120 pp. ISBN: 978-92-3-001068-3
    • Galloway McLean, K (2010) Advance Guard: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, Mitigation and
      Indigenous Peoples. ISBN: 978-0-9807084-4-8
    • Galloway McLean, K; Ramos-Castillo, A; Gross, T; Johnston, S; Vierros, M; Noa, R (2009) Report of the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change: 20-24 April 2009, Anchorage, Alaska. ISBN: 978-0-9807084-2-4
    • Galloway McLean, K, Ed. (2009) Climate Change Experiences in Northern Australia – Health, Adaptation, Fire Management and Global Relevance. ISBN 978-0-9807084-0-0

    Other Publications (Conference Proceedings, etc)

    • Galloway McLean, K (2012). Land use, climate change adaptation and indigenous peoples. Published online 8 October 2012. Tokyo: OurWorld 2.0.
    • Ramos Castillo, A and Galloway McLean, K (2012). Climate Change Mitigation with Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples: Practices, Lessons Learned and Prospects. Report of the Expert Meeting on Climate Change Mitigation with Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples, Cairns, Australia (26-28 March 2012). Darwin: UNU-TKI Report.
    • Galloway McLean, K, Ramos Castillo, A and Rubis, JT (2011). Indigenous Peoples, Marginalized Populations and Climate Change: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Traditional Knowledge. Report of the Expert Meeting on Indigenous Peoples, Marginalized Populations and Climate Change, Mexico City, Mexico (19-21 July 2011). Darwin: UNU-TKI Report.
    • Galloway McLean, K and Burton, G (2011) “Issues to be considered in establishing the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House establis­hed under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources”, invited paper presented at the 2011 Expert Meeting on the Modalities of Operation of the ABS Clearing House, Montreal, Canada.
    • Galloway McLean, K (2010), “Adaptive Pathways for the Future: Indigenous Peoples, Traditional Knowledge and Climate Change”, invited paper presented at the 2010 International Climate Change Adaptation Conference, Gold Coast, Australia.
    • Galloway McLean, K (2009). Indigenous Innovation at the Vanguard of Climate Change. Published online 10 December 2009. Tokyo: OurWorld 2.0.
    • Galloway McLean, K Ed. (2008). Global Indigenous Peoples Consultation on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). Proceedings of the Global Indigenous Peoples Consultation on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), 12 – 14 November 2008, Baguio City, Philippines. Darwin: UNU-TKI Report.