The Commonwealth Human Ecology Council has a great team of representatives attending COP26 in Glasgow between 31st October to 12th November. We thought it’d be a good idea to introduce you to the team as they will be providing updates for us throughout the two-week conference.
If you are also attending – be sure to say hello! It’s a friendly team who are super excited about making important contributions to tackling the climate crisis.
Without further ado, let’s meet the team!
Mark Robinson – Chairman of CHEC
First up is CHEC Chairman, Mark Robinson. Mark recently published an article entitled “COP26 – The Political Conundrum” ahead of the conference which we recommend checking out.
Bio: Mark Robinson, whose career spans some 30 years, spent 12 years working at the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat in the office of their Secretary-Generals. After that he had two terms as an MP, specialising in foreign and development matters, serving also as a healeh and housing minister in Wales. In recent times, he has worked in the NGO sector, mainly but not entirely, with Commonwealth accredited organisations.
Why did you want to attend COP26? Being able to lead a seven person delegation. Specialising particularly in the problems climate change poses for the 32 Commonwealth small states is a great privilege. The agenda is wide but CHEC works to promote programmes in relevant countries.
What events are you most looking forward to at COP26? Events on adaptation, resilience, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity and sustainable development.
What are your hopes for the outcomes of COP26? I sincerely hope that COP26 will reaffirm and enhance climate change objectives, as well as developing programmes for practical action.
Jane Samuels, CHEC Board Member and Trustee
Next up, is CHEC board member and trustee, Jane Samuels.
Bio: Jane is a senior urban advisor and climate strategist working in sustainable human settlements with 20 years’ experience in designing and implementing global projects in over 18 countries. She advises UN agencies, governments and NGO’s; She is speaker, author of Removing Unfreedoms, Citizens as the agents of Change working with Amartya Sen on rethinking development frameworks. Jane is a member of Advisory Board Global Urban Development and Honorary Member of the World Architecture Community.
Why did you want to attend COP26? To bring a CHEC team to the COP26 talks and join the stakeholders to platform knowledge, evidence and solutions that the world’s governments need to negotiate agreements. CHEC has always played its part for fifty years including launching its Bee and Pollinator report on biodiversity and food security to CHOGM heads of Government and advocating human ecology solutions to the climate crisis. What’s important is what happens next, what do we learn from COP26 and how do we take this forward in the most effective and meaningful way.
What events are you most looking forward to at COP26? All. The vital discussions on carbon reduction and sequestration addressing cities and the built environment, Biodiversity and nature based solutions, adaption and resilience, land management and agriculture, climate finance for developing countries in the global south, and environmental justice including ecocide law which will be presented to the Scottish Parliament. The World Biodiversity Conference Part 3 takes place during the COP26 conference on the 10th of November and this encapsulates everything from pollinators, food security, land degradation, oceans and species – all affected by climate change.
What are your hopes for the outcomes of COP26? I am a hopeful person and believe in our young people, it’s their future. However, there are still major challenges to the climate talks. UNEP say emissions must fall 45% by 2030 and to disappear altogether by mid-century for 1.5C to be a reality. Ideally, no new fossil fuels. The transition to a net-zero economy and a green workforce will need a commitment to finance, management and governance. This is why climate finance for developing countries is a priority to make the transition. We have come far. We can do this, we must.
Subbu Loganathan – CHEC Board Member and Trustee
The next member of the CHEC team is board member and trustee, Subbu Loganathan.
For any users of social media, you can connect with Subbu on LinkedIn here.
Bio: Subbu is the CEO of Pico Analytics, a fintech startup passionate about Climate Finance, ESG solutions, and changing finance to achieve UN SDG goals. Subbu is a member of the NLC Commonwealth Forum, and associate member of UK Investment Association and the Luxembourg Association of Funds (ALFI).
Why did you want to attend COP26? To understand steps taken by nations, corporations and financial firms to achieve Paris Agreement goals (COP21), and to showcase CHEC and Human Ecology as key stakeholders in saving the planet and arresting/reversing climate change.
What events are you most looking forward to at COP26? The Climate Finance and Biodiversity events, and networking with colleagues.
Emily Robinson – CHEC Board Member and Trustee
Next up is CHEC board member and trustee, Emily Robinson. Emily will be providing daily updates throughout the event as part of the CHEC-supported University of Waikato COP26 Events Programme which will be livestream here.
For any users of social media, you can connect with Emily on LinkedIn here.
Bio: Emily is also on the Board of Trustees of Bread and Water for Africa UK, and a Climate Reality Leader, promoting climate education since 2017. She is the COO of Pico Analytics, a fintech startup passionate about Climate Finance, ESG solutions, and changing finance to achieve UN SDG goals. Emily is a Vice Chair of the National Liberal Club’s Commonwealth Forum and European Forum, keeping members up to date on the latest developments around the Commonwealth and Europe.
Why did you want to attend COP26? To see first-hand how and what negotiations will be taking place, learning from the many delegates attending and being able to showcase CHEC and what human ecology means in relationship to the climate crisis.
What events are you most looking forward to at COP26? I am most looking forward to youth and public empowerment, focusing on education in climate action.
Trevor Peel – CHEC Board Member and Trustee
The next member of the CHEC team attending COP26 is board member and trustee, Trevor Peel.
Bio: Trevor is Chair of the NLC Commonwealth Forum and a member of the International Committee of the Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom.
Why did you want to attend COP26? To better understand the process for the world to make progress on climate change.
What events are you most looking forward to at COP26? Networking with colleagues from around the world. Ensuring that the health of the planet and the health of the individual are better understood and integrated.
What are your hopes for the outcomes of COP26? Progress on climate change and ensuring all the world’s population and that the health of the planet and the health of the individual are better understood and integrated.
David Gomez – Director of the Ramphal Institute
Bio: Currently Director of the Ramphal Institute, David was former Deputy Head of Mission for the Permanent Mission of Belize to the World Trade Organization and has completed numerous roles with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the European Union and ITC Geneva in Africa, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Conceptualized and implemented an innovative model for small and medium sized business development known as the Helix Model which focuses on building the DNA of SMEs and has been deployed with proven successes in enabling SMEs to effectively engage regional and global value chains by incorporating sustainable business practices into their core business and innovation systems.
Co-founder of the KATALYST Institute for Public Policy and Research, a think-tank in Belize, and has published on small state development, fiscal policy and road transportation policy.
He is finishing a PhD in Economic History at UCL, holds multiple post-graduate degrees with distinction including in International Relations, International Development and International Law, as well as certificates and diplomas for executive courses in international trade policy; international copyright law and policy; diplomacy; small states sustainability and sales management. He is a frequent blogger on development issues and will be launching his much delayed podcast titled SHYPPED! SME Value Chain Conversations in June of this year.
Nicholas Watts – Former CHEC Board Member, Current Member and Chair of Projects Committee
Completing the CHEC team is Nicholas Watts.
Bio: Nicholas works to understand and enhance capacity for environmental policy in the Commonwealth, with a particular emphasis on SIDS and sustainable livelihoods among their artisanal and subsistence fishing communities. He also supports Commonwealth accredited organisations to collaborate with one another and with Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation. His current roles include:
- Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
- Senior Research Associate, Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU), Freie Universität Berlin (https://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/en/polwiss/forschung/systeme/ffu/team/research_associates/watts-nicholas/index.html)
- Chair, UN SIDS partnership ‘Learning from the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in SIDS (the ‘Sharp End’ partnership)
- Chair, Independent Forum of Commonwealth Organisations (IFCO: www.ifco.online)
- Convenor, Caribbean Studies Association Working Group on Environment and Sustainability (aka ‘CSA Resilience Taskforce’)
- Member, IUCN Commission on Education and Communication
- Member, European Movement
- Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
Qualifications: Nicholas has a BA Hons in German and Psychology (Keele University), an MSc in Environmental Psychology (Surrey University) and a DPhil in Political Science (The Political Greening of Europe: Freie Universität Berlin.
Why did you want to attend COP26? I want to catch up with, and support, initiatives of and for the SIDS and the global South, and to gather material to evaluate the Commonwealth’s performance and voice on climate issues at COP26, but also since the 1989 Langkawi Declaration.
What events are you most looking forward to at COP26? Events by the Commonwealth Intergovernmental Organisations (IGOs) and accredited Organisations, particularly the Sustainable Urbanisation work of CLGF, CAP, CAA, ACU and others and the Commonwealth Blue Charter, advocated by CHEC at the 2009, 2011 and 2013 CHOGMs and started by ComSec SG Kamalesh Sharma. Events addressing the interface between an integration of nature and climate issues, especially regarding oceans, fisheries and sustainable livelihoods; sessions on nature-based regeneration; sessions promoting distributed renewable energy; climate finance for SIDS.
What are your hopes for the outcomes of COP26?
That the UK might be shamed into reversing aid cuts. Achieving a clear set of commitments for action on NDCs by Commonwealth governments with implementation to be reported back on at CHOGM. The end of environmentally harmful subsidies (fossil fuel extraction; fisheries). Commitment by Commonwealth ABC countries to end coal and fossil fuel extraction and to work with all other Commonwealth countries to find and exercise common voice on climate and biodiversity in the international arena. Widening support for:
- International Crime of Ecocide
- Fossil-fuel non-proliferation Treaty
Development of enhanced networks for civil society collaboration between Commonwealth accredited organisations (COs) and NGOs in North and South (paradiplomacy by the ‘network of networks’)
Are you attending COP26? If so, let us know in the comments below!