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About this Challenge Team

Our challenge team, Biodiversity COP, is working on engaging and communicating to a wider audience about the challenges facing biodiversity, how that affects human beings around the world, and the solutions and initiatives in place that are striving towards making the planet more sustainable for all. In particular focus this year is the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Conference Of Parties (COP) 15, being held in Kunming, China to develop the Post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This framework will be replacing the expired Aichi targets, of which we as an international community achieved none. We believe a reason for this is that the severity of the problem, our dependency on nature and the services it provides, and the potential consequences of continuing declines is poorly communicated to the public at large; resulting in lack of engagement and pressuring of governments to implement the transformative change necessary to halt and reserve the biodiversity crisis confronting us.

We won’t be focussing on all doom and gloom - although it is necessary to put the scale of the crisis in perspective - but, on the many contributions of biodiversity to all aspects of life on this planet and the co-benefits that arise from its protection and conservation including adapting and mitigating to climate change; sustainable development and social justice of Indigenous peoples and local communities; economic security; and the maintenance of human health.

To this end, our team is currently working on delivering a few community engagement and outreach projects. Firstly, we are in collaboration with Grantham’s Nature & Biodiversity campaign to produce an event for the Imperial Lates “Animal Kingdom” programme at the end of April. Our “Unloved Animals” event will take the form of 5-6 speakers from within Imperial or the larger Imperial network of institutions, advocating for an underappreciated animal that unknown to many provides untold benefits to society. Secondly, we are continuing to develop information packs describing the key aspects of biodiversity and cross-cutting issues that are going to be playing a key role in COP decision making (see above). This pack is going to be aimed at key stage 2 and 3 students and will be the basis of an activity that will get students to put themselves in the shoes of decision-makers at COP and develop potential goals and policy actions to combat biodiversity loss. This will hopefully be ready for dissemination for the summer holidays.

We initially focussed on school students as we wanted to not only educate them in the importance of biodiversity, but perhaps enthuse and inspire future biodiversity researchers and communicators. As such, through communicating with the Natural History Museum and their National Programmes team we will potentially be participating with RSPB Glasgow’s Youth COP – held before IPCC COP 26 – this year, emphasising the links between the biodiversity and climate crises and solutions that can work towards both.

Additionally, we are going to be writing blog posts and articles highlighting the latest biodiversity and conservation news and keeping up to date with anything COP related, as well as consistently posting on our Instagram page @ic_biocop_2020! We are also always on the look out for potential opportunities to get involved and collaborate with anyone to put together events and other activities.

Team Members

  • Abi Croker (cohort 7)
  • Hollie Folkard-Tapp (cohort 7)
  • Krista Halttunen (cohort 6)
  • Jarmo Kikstra (cohort 7)
  • Patrick A Walkden (cohort 7) - Team Captain
  • Dikshita Bhattacharyya (cohort 7)
  • Georgina Charnley (cohort 6)
  • Geraint Northwood-Smith (cohort 5)
  • Nick Reynard (cohort 6)