Citizen Science on the world stage at UNEA4 in Nairobi

By Libby Hebpurn

The Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP) will have a delegation of 15 contributing to the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum (SPBF) on the Environment  and the United Nations Environment Assembly 4 to be held in Nairobi from March 8 – 13th.

We will have representatives of the major citizen science associations in Africa, Asia, USA, Europe and Australia and this year, citizen science is firmly on the agenda in both sessions. This is significant for the development of the movement as these are the major policy forums for world-leading actions on the environment and this year the theme of the SPBF is; Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production. Recommendations from the Forum inform the UN Environment Assembly and the UN’s work on the Sustainable Development Goals and participating will be leaders from the worlds of Government, Finance, Industry, Science, Citizen Science and Civil Society. The forum is designed to tear down traditional barriers between these sectors and the citizen science delegation will be busy contributing to that process and demonstrating what valuable contributions we can make.

We will be contributing presentations in several streams including Science for decision making: Shaping policies and Market Responses and Redesigning the Metropolis: Smarter, Greener Solutions for Cities. A new global citizen science video will be premiered at this event.

We will then take a supporting role in session 2.  Laying the Foundations for a Global Platform for Big Data on the Environment using Frontier TechnologiesSession 6. Sustainable Food for a Healthy Planet and in  Session 5. The Climate Challenge and Non-State Actors: From Transparency to Leadership.  In this session (Reuters who are organising it) have asked for CS input.

Finally with respect to Session  4.  Green Technology Startup Hub we aim to have a presence in the Hub and to stimulate discussions with Venture capital Funds over the opportunity CS presents for new business partnerships.

In the main UNEA4  citizen science will feature in the text of the Ministerial Declaration; in the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO); and the CSGP, with support UNEP, will be able to make major new announcements at UNEA4 and the UNSPBF on its development (more details will follow in due course). We have citizen science in the negotiated GEO-6 summary for policy makers and the main report. We understand the USA want citizen science in the resolution for the next GEO so it appears the governments in relation to UNEP are accepting that citizen science is a fundamental component of moving forward with regards to monitoring our environment. A concept for possible funding called ‘GEO-6 – Citizen Science’ is proposed.

Much of the progress at these global events has been based on the hard work done by the delegation who attended UNEA3, where Erin Roger represented ACSA and the delegation was led by Martin Brocklehurst and Johannes Vogel from ECSA. It was at that event that the Citizen Science Global Partnership was launched, giving citizen science and ACSA a leadership role with the important global institutions.

Progress on the world stage reflects well on Australia as an innovative leader in citizen science and this should flow back into higher recognition and support through government policy and funding.

Libby Hepburn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.