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Masters in Conservation Leadership

Odacy Davis at COP 14

The UN Biodiversity Conference was held from 13-29 November 2018, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, under the theme "Investing in biodiversity for people and planet." It was attended by approximately 3,800 participants representing parties, other governments, international and non-governmental organisations, indigenous peoples and local communities, academia, and the private sector. The Conference also included the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the 9th meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the 3rd meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilisation.

Several alumni of the Cambridge University, Masters in Conservation Leadership also participated in the COP 14 proceedings. For some of us it was a new experience while for others is was expanding already deep connections to the CBD processes.

Monipher, a CBD guru who regularly participates in these conferences on behalf of Malawi, was attending this year in a wider capacity where she provided policy support to the African countries in the negotiations. She specifically contributed to the African positions on the mainstreaming agenda, the post 2020 framework and also played a key role in the Global Youth Biodiversity Network. Check out her interview at the COP.

Odacy and Teona were representing Guyana and Georgia respectively, countries that are parties to the COP. Teona, eloquently delivered interventions on the floor during the working group sessions. Though most meetings were long and exhausting, both ladies were able to connect during sessions. They quickly acknowledged the need and importance for their Countries to be integrally involved in these decision making processes for biodiversity conservation and also the need for mobilisation of resources to ensure larger delegations that will aid effective participation in the negotiations.

For Odacy, the COP experience was new, overwhelming at times, but rewarding. She participated fully in the working group sessions and was tasked with leading Guyana's negotiations and interventions on the post 2020 agenda for Biodiversity. Significantly for Guyana, a new roadmap for Jaguar conservation across the Americas was launched on the sides of the COP, where Odacy gave remarks on behalf of the Government of Guyana. See news article.

Achilles from Uganda who is a member of the Birdlife International Team also participated in the COP. He made two presentations on mainstreaming of biodiversity and use of knowledge evidence in decisions making while Isabella helped to coordinate the Biodiversity Law and Governance Day activities, an event that brought together biodiversity law experts, experts from other legal branches including public law, tort law, financial law, international economic law as well as governance experts, COP delegates and policy practitioners to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Outside of conference meetings, alumni took every opportunity to network with professionals and other organisations around the globe inclusive of some familiar faces from the CCI Family. The UCCLAN has a unique opportunity to position itself to participate and lead in the decision making processes for conservation. A pathway through participation in MEAs/Conventions is a good step in this direction.