John Cortés was elected to Gibraltar’s Parliament in December 2011 and serves as the Gibraltar Government’s Minister for Education, Heritage, Environment, Energy & Climate Change. Until 2011, he was General Secretary of the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS), a post he had held since the creation of GONHS in 1976. He was last elected to the post in 2009. Until 2011, his employment was as Director of the Gibraltar Botanic Garden, a post he had held since 1991. He was also an environmental consultant with Wildlife (Gibraltar) Ltd. He gained a D.Phil at the Animal Ecology Research Group, Oxford, in 1983.

John has long been involved with UKOTCF, and served on its Council from 2008 to 2014, before becoming an Advisor to Council. John has extensive experience in ornithology, ecology, natural history and conservation, having authored, edited and lectured on these subjects. He is, or has been, a member of numerous organisations, including the Gibraltar Development and Planning Commission, the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, the Institute for Campo-Gibraltarian Studies and the Park Authority of the Parque Natural de Los Alcornocales in Spain. Between 2003 and 2008, he directed a European Union Interreg Project in Gibraltar/Morocco. He has wide experience in lobbying and campaigning, having been instrumental in achieving Gibraltar’s Nature Protection Act and the creation of an Environment Ministry in Gibraltar. He is experienced also in working within or with both NGOs and Government bodies.

Between 1983 and 1991, John was a civil servant, attaining the post of General Manager of the Gibraltar Health Authority where he gained experience in public administration, management and handling large budgets. He is a Justice of the Peace, and was elected President of the Gibraltar Magistrates’ Association in 2009.  John was awarded an MBE for services to ecology and conservation, and is an accomplished director and actor in amateur theatre. John would like to continue to use his varied abilities in furthering the conservation of nature in other territories.