Forum Lab - The Nature of Biodiversity: Involving Local Stakeholders for Global Change
April's Forum lab
THURSDAY 22 APRIL 2021, 4.30-6.00 P.M. CET
In collaboration with Bern Convention
Alongside climate change, the unprecedented biodiversity loss due to human activity presents a global emergency. The preservation of biodiversity is essential for meeting global climate goals and protecting the wellbeing of people and society as a whole. The effective protection of local biodiversity can be found at the crossroads of community engagement, technical capacity and political will. In April’s Forum Lab we will learn from projects that combined real ambition with strong commitment from local communities for the protection of local biodiversity: from Ireland, India, Switzerland and South Africa.
Executive Director, EUROPARC Federation
Ms Carol Ritchie is the Executive Director of the EUROPARC Federation, where she leads a multi-disciplined team. EUROPARC’s work is diverse and she directs and develop the work of the Federation, to support and advocate for the work of protected areas across Europe. Ms Ritchie has worked as a Teacher, Ranger and Park Manager in Scotland with frontline practical conservation and visitor management experience in a range of parks and protected areas. With her teaching background, Ms Ritchie has a particular focus on communications and capacity building. She is an alumni of the University of Strathclyde (B.Sc. joint honours Biology and Geography) and University of Aberdeen (MSc Ecology). She also has a Postgraduate Certificate of Secondary Education in Geography. In her spare time, she is learning to play the harp and continues to practise Scottish Dancing, not simultaneously.
Founder, Baotree, South Africa
Dimitri Syrris, South African, is a conservation-community technologist and a wildlife-ranger at heart. Dimitri has been privileged to call Africa his home, exploring 14 African countries, where his love for nature and people continues to super-charge all of his actions. Having spent several years in London, working in the marketing-technology and big-data ecospheres – he returned to Africa in early 2019 for a 7 month due diligence expedition across Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa. Living and working with NGO’s and marginalised communities on the borders of wildlife protected areas. This expedition inspired Dimitri to infuse his love for technology into the world of conservation and community relationship management. Recognising that if we wish to preserve our last remaining biodiverse rich ecosystems – we need to serve, provide the tools and empower frontline communities into the core of the solution, which includes their voices and actions, as the true custodians of their land. This is why he founded Baotree, a software solution that enables environmental action at a local level, supports diplomacy and communication across all grass-root stakeholders.
Head, International Biodiversity Policy, Pro Natura - Friends of the Earth Switzerland
Friedrich Wulf, b. 1966 in Sindelfingen (Germany), is a Biologist and vegetation scientist by training. After working for several years as a field biologist, he turned his voluntary engagement for nature conservation NGOs into a profession, serving as nature conservation officer at regional, national, EU and international levels for BirdLife and Friends of the Earth Germany. Since 2008, he works for Pro Natura – Friends of the Earth Switzerland – as international biodiversity officer. He represents Pro Natura and Friends of the Earth Europe at the Bern Convention and, by way of the complaints system, has successfully convinced the Convention to adopt a set of recommendations (Nr. 169/2013) to improve the state of the Doubs river and its endangered fish fauna on the Border between France and Switzerland.
Dr Ritesh Kumar
Director, Wetlands International South Asia, India
Dr Ritesh Kumar is the Director of Wetlands International South Asia, a non-government organisation working for sustaining and restoring wetlands, their resources and biodiversity in the South Asia region. Over the last two decades, Dr Kumar has led integrated management planning for several wetlands in South Asia region, and coordinated multidisciplinary projects on wetlands assessment, ecosystem services evaluation, water management, sustainable livelihoods, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Dr Kumar has been part of several policy making processes related to wetlands in India, key being a part of the drafting team of national regulation on wetlands, the National Biodiversity Targets under the Convention of Biological Diversity and indicators for Sustainable Development Goals. He advises several state governments on policy and management aspects of wetlands.
Dr. Brendan DUNFORD
Manager, Burren Programme, Ireland
Medical student, India
Veda is a third-year medical student in one of the most respected medical institutes of India. She entered medicine with the aim of making a difference in public health. With that goal in mind, she has interned at hospitals in India, United Kingdom, and United States of America, to study and understand the ground realities of the different medical services offered in each country, specifically in the fields of endocrinology and electrophysiology.
She believes that public health is influenced by the environment around. Looking at the rising need for the conservation of our environment, she is passionate about making that change and believes that big impacts can come from small changes.
Youth delegate of the Congress of the Council of Europe from Hungary/BA International Public Administration student
Dániel is a graduate student at the University of Public Service in Budapest. His aim is to persuade his MA studies in International Water Governance and Water Diplomacy. Dániel is a youth delegate both in the EU and of the Congress of the Council of Europe. Since 2017 he has participated in different projects such as discussing solar energy in Malaysia, interviewing migrants in Italy or moderating panels with Members of the European Parliament. In 2020 he was convinced by his friends to establish their own NGO with the aim of organizing international projects for the local youth.
Dániel's mission is to propagate meaningful youth participation, which starts with the realization that young people must be involved in transparent policy making processes on all levels, especially when it comes to environmental issues.