How can we work with nature to enhance both environmental sustainability and human development? Join us on 4 May for a panel discussion with Sir Robert Watson, Professor Nathalie Seddon and Dr Susan Chomba.
This event is free.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has declared 2021 as the year to “reconcile humanity with nature.” Human-induced environmental changes, including accelerating global warming and mass biodiversity loss, are putting unprecedented pressure on the planet, threatening the achievement of every single one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). So far, international action is falling dramatically short. Of the 20 global biodiversity targets agreed in 2010 none have been fully met and the international community remains largely off track to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, with temperature rises possibly breaching the crucial threshold of 1.5°C as early as 2030.
There is growing recognition that the climate and biodiversity emergencies are mutually reinforcing and should be addressed together. Nature-based solutions, aimed at conserving and restoring ecosystems in a way that benefits biodiversity, the climate as well as human well-being, could play a vital role in this regard. Yet, such interventions must be carefully designed to account for the complex interlinkages between natural processes and implications for human development. This public panel discussion brings together leading experts on biodiversity and climate change to discuss the urgent need to transform our relationship with nature and possible ways forward.
This event is supported by UCL Grand Challenges and the UCL Global Engangement Office. It is organised in honour of the late Professor Dame Georgina Mace, former Director of the UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research (CBER) and a vital voice on the importance of biodiversity protection for tackling the climate emergency.
About the Speakers
Sir Robert Tony Watson, CMG, FRS
Sir Robert Tony Watson, CMG, FRS, is a leading international authority on climate change and biodiversity. His career has included scientific advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House; chief scientist, World Bank; chief scientific advisor, UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and strategic director for the Tyndall Center, University of East Anglia, UK. He has chaired, co-chaired or directed the WMO/UNEP stratospheric ozone depletion assessments, Global Biodiversity Assessment, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, UK National Ecosystem Assessment and its Follow-on, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Assessment of Agricultural Scientific and Technology for Development, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and UNEP’s Making Peace with Nature. Awards include a Knights Bachelor (2012), Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (2003); Fellow of the Royal Society (2011), member of the American Philosophical Society (2020), honorary member of the AMS (2021), UN Champion of the World for Science and Innovation (2014), the Asahi Glass Blue Planet Prize (2010).
Professor Nathalie Seddon
Nathalie Seddon is Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford and Founding Director of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative, an interdisciplinary programme of research, policy advice, and education that enhances understanding of the potential of NbS to address global challenges and supports their implementation worldwide. Nathalie trained as an ecologist at Cambridge University and has over 20 years research experience in a range of ecosystems across the globe. As a University Research Fellow of the Royal Society, she developed broad research interests in understanding the origins and maintenance of biodiversity and its relationship with global change. She is a Senior Associate of the International Institute for Environment and Development and a Senior Fellow of the Oxford Martin School. Nathalie advises governments, UN agencies and businesses on Nature-based Solutions and is a Friend of CoP26, i.e. one of around 30 global experts currently advising the UK government on its Presidency of the UNFCCC’s climate change conference, CoP26.
Dr Susan Chomba
Dr Susan Chomba is the Director of Vital Landscapes at the World Resources Institute (WRI) leading the institution’s work on forest landscape restoration, nature-based solutions, sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods in Africa. She is a scientist with over 15 years of research and development expertise in Africa. She previously led the Regreening Africa Programme at CIFOR-ICRAF, whose primary objective was to reverse land degradation by scaling up proven and cost-effective technologies and practices across eight countries in Africa. She was named one of Global Landscape Forum (GFL)’s 16 Women Restoring the Earth in 2021.