Dr. Hans R. Herren

Hans Rudolf Herren is a Swiss entomologist, farmer and development specialist. He was the first Swiss to receive the 1995 World Food Prize and the 2013 Right Livelihood Award for leading a major biological pest management campaign in Africa, successfully fighting the Cassava mealybug and averting a major food crisis that could have claimed an estimated 20 million lives.

Herren is the president and CEO of the Washington-based Millennium Institute and co-founder and president of the Swiss foundation Biovision. He co-chaired the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) published 2008, and was Director General of International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya form 1994 to 2005. He was involved in the preparations of the United Nations’ Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development with Biovision Foundation and Millennium Institute.

After receiving his M.Sc. in Agronomy from the ETH Zurich and his doctorate in Biological Control from the same University in 1977, Herren did his post-doctoral studies in Biological Control of insect pests at the University of California in Berkeley.

Only 32 years old, Herren then went to work for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria. There he built the Biological Control Programme and designed and implemented the largest biological pest-management known to date, fighting the Cassava mealybug (Phenacoccus manihoti) with its natural enemy, a parasitic wasp (Anagyrus lopezi), which he found in South America. He saved an estimated 20 million lives by averting a major food crisis. For this achievement he received numerous awards including the 1995 World Food Prize and the 2003 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

Herren then developed a number of other biological control programmes against field and tree crops as well as aquatic weeds across sub-Saharan Africa. Subsequently Herren became Director of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe). From 1994 to 2005, he was also the Editor-in Chief of the Journal Insect Science and Its Application. With some of his prize money he went on to found Biovision Foundation in 1998 in Zurich. The organisation works with pilot projects, communication projects and political projects to foster ecological development in the global North and South and has grown to an annual budget of over $8 Mio. Since 2005 he head the Washington-based Millennium Institute, dedicated to system dynamics modeling for scenario-based sustainable development policy support. Furthermore, Herren was co-author and co-chairman of the World Agriculture Report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) in 2008.