William Marsden



William Marsden CMG


William Marsden has been involved with the creation of large conservation areas in Central America, South America, the Indian Ocean, and the UK.

The Chagos Conservation Trust, which he chaired from 2002 to 2011, promotes the long-term conservation of the British Indian Ocean Territory (The Chagos Archipelago) and the related science and education.

Together with the Chagos Environment Network of leading organisations, the Trust campaigned for the designation of a
Chagos Marine Protected Area,
comparable in importance with the Galapagos or the Great Barrier Reef. Marsden edited a booklet, presenting this project, entitled “The Chagos Archipelago: Its Nature and the Future.” (Available on:

In April 2010 the UK (Labour) Government created the Chagos Marine Reserve as the largest no-take marine reserve in the world. Later that year the new (Conservative/Liberal Democrat) Government announced that it fully supported the decision and its implementation.


William Marsden’s previous career was mainly with the UK Diplomatic Service. He was Ambassador to Argentina (1997-2000), to Costa Rica and Nicaragua (1989-1992) and Director, Americas (1994-97).

For much of the 1970s and 1980s he worked on Britain’s role in the European Community as Assistant Head of Department in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and then Counsellor in the UK Representation to the European Community. He also served in NATO and in the British Embassies in Moscow, Rome and the USA.

In recent years William Marsden has been a Trustee for the World Cancer Research Fund, a guest lecturer, and chairman of the Anglo-Central American Society.

The Chagos Archipelago

This picture shows two of the 54 tiny Chagos islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The Chagos has the world’s largest coral atoll and is set in half a million square kilometres of pristine seas.