President Kakabadse’s work with the environmental conservation movement officially began in 1979, when she was appointed Executive Director of Fundación Natura in Quito, where she worked until 1990.
During this time she helped Fundación Natura become one of Latin America’s most important environmental organizations and, in 1993, she created Fundacion Futuro Latinoamericano, an organization dedicated to promote the sustainable development of Latin America through conflict prevention and management. She was its Executive President until 2006 and remains as Chair of the Advisory Board.
From 1990 until 1992, Yolanda Kakabadse coordinated the participation of civil society organizations for the United Nations Conference for Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Geneva.
From 1996 to 2004 she was President of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and Member of the Board of the World Resources Institute (WRI) during the same period.
In August 1998 Yolanda was appointed Minister of Environment for the Republic of Ecuador, position she held until January 2000.
During 2001 she was a visiting professor at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environment, USA.
She co-Chaired the Environmental Sustainability Task Force of the UN Millennium Project, 2002 – 2005. She chaired the Scientific and Technology Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility (STAP / GEF) from 2005 to 2008.
Yolanda took office as WWF’s International President on 1st January 2010.