Brock researchers involved in world forum focused on ecosystem threats

Brock University biologist Liette Vasseur and Master’s student Christine Janzen are heading off to China for the first-ever World Forum on Ecosystem Governance.

Modeled after the World Economic Forum, the World Forum on Ecosystem Governance brings together experts and leaders from around the globe to come up with ways to respond to ecosystem threats.

Vasseur, who holds a UNESCO Chair in Sustainability, is a program leader for one of the forum’s two themes: implementing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Recently approved by the United Nations, the SDGs include measures and targets to reduce poverty and increase access to health care, food, education, employment, energy and many other basics by 2030.

Vasseur will be giving a number of presentations on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the conservation of ecosystems, which relates to the forum’s second theme – addressing climate change.

Janzen, a graduate student in Brock’s Sustainability Science and Society Master’s program, will attend the Future Leaders Academy, scheduled for October 23-25.

There, she will join other students and “future leaders” to attend seminars “on topics looking at linking rural and urban systems, how to adapt to climate change, climate change mitigation, managing risk, engaging society, and others,” says Vasseur.

“The event will give me a broader view of what’s going on in the world and how different people are addressing concerns about the ecosystem, sustainability and adapting to climate change,” says Janzen, adding that it will be a good experience for her to meet others in her field.

The governance forum itself runs Oct. 15-28.

“We will finally start discussing the importance of ecosystem services and ecosystem governance in implementing the SDGs,” says Vasseur. “If we don’t take care of the ecosystem, and we don’t find nature-based solutions, we will never achieve any of these goals.”

The World Forum on Ecosystem Governance will explore alternative approaches to govern the world’s ecosystems specifically in relation to:

  • the effects that globalization has on the management of ecosystems
  • mitigation and/or adaptation to address the impacts of climate change
  • the role technologies could contribute to helping sustain ecosystem capacities
  • effective means to promote interdisciplinary stakeholder involvement in management of eco-systems

The World Forum on Ecosystem Governance is a partnership of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), the Chinese State Forestry Administration (SFA), and the Beijing Municipal Government.

Vasseur is leader of the thematic group on climate change adaptation of the Commission on Ecosystem Management of IUCN .

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