Mark Halle was born in the United States but grew up in Switzerland. He holds a degree in history and environmental sciences from Tufts University (Massachusetts, USA) and a postgraduate degree in history from the University of Cambridge (UK).
His career began in the field of international negotiations, serving in the diplomatic secretariat of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. In that capacity, he was involved in the negotiation of the Barcelona Convention on the Mediterranean Environment, one of the first regional environmental conventions ever adopted.
He then spent five years with the United Nations Environment Programme, starting in the Policy Planning Unit and ending up working on the global State of the Environment report published ten years after UNEP´s establishment. From UNEP, he worked with WWF and IUCN in writing the World Conservation Strategy, a document which fundamentally changed the way in which conservation of nature was approached — abandoning the earlier notion that conservation and development were necessarily in opposition to one another, and moving to the notion that they are essential components of sustainable development.
Halle then moved to WWF-International, serving for three years as conservation assistant to HRH The Prince Phillip, President of WWF, and both establishing and directing the WWF programme in China.
He moved to IUCN in 1983 to establish the Conservation for Development Centre, IUCN´s first move to involvement with the developing countries. For seven years, he worked in, and directed, this Centre, establishing the foundation for what is now an extensive worldwide IUCN presence. He then spent a further three years setting up IUCN´s fundraising system, and a final four years establishing its Global Policy and Partnerships programme.
Since his departure from IUCN, he has worked for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, initially as its European Representative and later also as its global director for Trade and Investment. He is now Executive Director of IISD-Europe, supervising a team of some thirty professionals based around the world.
Halle lectures, writes and publishes frequently on issues relating to multilateral trade policy. He is founder and former Chairman of the Board of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.