Citizen Science – A Key Contribution to MEAs


A high-level panel, which included a keynote address for former UNEP Chief Scientist Professor Jacqueline McGlade, presented arguments for making citizen science a key component of the delivery of Multi-lateral Agreements at a Green Room Event on Friday morning 28th February.

With key interventions from Astrid Schomaker: Green Diplomacy & Multilateralism, DG Environment, and Dr Mohamed Adbel Raouf: Science and Technology UN Major Group; Gulf Research Centre, the 150 plus delegates attending the meeting were left in no doubt about the value of citizen scientists concentrating on supporting delivery of the  MEAs. Astrid stressed that citizen science is now expanding well beyond its traditional strength in biodiversity monitoring. Mohamed that it is strongly supported by the Science & Technology Major UN Group.

Practical examples of the sheer scale of current citizen science programmes were provided by Professor Maina Muniafu: Citizen Science Association Africa; Citizen Science Global Partnership, Professor Peter Elias: Citizen Science Association Africa; University of Lagos, and Professor Austin Mast: Association for Advancing Participatory Science; Florida State University. With citizen science data now exceeding data from traditional sources on biodiversity monitoring it is clear citizen science has the potential to be a key part of MEAs tackling Nature Based Solutions. 

Dr Bridie Schultz Australian Citizen Science Association; Sativus Pty Ltd, closed the panel session with examples from Australia that found great empathy with the audience that citizen science is for everyone in society, that it can be scaled and that the proposed Charter on Citizen Science and the MEAs offered a way forward.

Martin Brocklehurst: Chair Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP); a Board Member of the European Citizen Science Association and AURORA Project Partner then presented the draft Charter for Citizen Science and the MEAs. He made the point that citizen science is now tackling climate change, air and water pollution and gave an example of an EU project: AURORA – Tackling Climate Change . Copies of the AURORA Project leaflet were handed out to all delegates attending the event.

He invited the audience to support and comment on the Charter as the CSGP seek support for its adoption by the UNEA Secretariate and the global citizen science community and to take up the ideas in the AURORA project.

After the meeting, Martin Brocklehurst and a delegation from the event met and discussed these ideas for over 30 minutes with the current UNEP Chief Scientist Andrea Hinwood.

Maina Muniafu; Astrid Schomaker; Mohamed Adbel Raouf, Martin Brocklehurst, Jacqueline McGlade, Peter Elias and Bridie Schultz (Left to right)
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