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Leading experts to join an international event on biodiversity conservation and sustainability

11 June 2021

A new consortium is bringing together leading experts from around the world in an event exploring the role of UK higher education in biodiversity cons

Hosted by Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and taking place online on 14 June at 16:00, the event is co-led by CASCADE (The Conservation and Sustainability Consortium of Academic Institutions) and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Conservation.

Panellists from around the world will address key issues in biodiversity conservation and highlight the importance of the next decade in stemming the loss of biodiversity. The discussions will focus on the significant role of UK higher education, and its future contribution, in the areas of research, education, capacity development and supporting policy and practice around the world.  

The event will be chaired Theo Clarke MP, co-chair All Party Parliamentary Group on International Conservation and Newcastle University graduate, while Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Global, Newcastle University, will be making the introductory statement.

High-profile panellists, including guests from the CBD Secretariat, UNEP, government, industry and academia will be discussing how we can best harness the UK’s unique expertise in people-orientated conservation science to support the development of principles, policies and practices that meet the goals of United Nations biodiversity conventions in the UK and partner countries, in an equitable, socially-just and inclusive way.

Philip McGowan, Professor of Conservation Science and Policy, said: “Last September, a major UN report considered that humanity was at a crossroads in our relationship with nature, and that a transformational change is needed to ensure a safe and healthy planet. There are a great many researchers in universities and research institutes across the UK who have long played a significant role in research, training and capacity development in a great many countries, and in the UK. There is enormous potential to increase their impact as the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity nears the end of negotiations on its new Global Biodiversity Framework that should outline ambitious Goals and targets for the world’s biodiversity.”

Bringing together 21 UK Higher Education and non-academic members, CASCADE aims to co-create policy-focussed research syntheses that allow government, business and NGOs to identify 'what works' and 'what doesn't work' within people-focussed biodiversity conservation.

CASCADE has been formed to tackle the loss of biodiversity that is one of the defining issues of our times. The consortium aims to be a multi-institution one-stop-shop for interdisciplinary work to support the UK’s ambition to provide global leadership in biodiversity conservation and will draw from its members’ wide experience of people-orientated conservation around the world. It brings together expertise from the humanities and the natural and social sciences, providing a platform for the integrated interdisciplinary approach required to tackle the complex challenges posed by global environmental change.

Key to the sustainability and impact of CASCADE is its contribution to developing capability for inter-disciplinary conservation science, in the UK and internationally. This includes enhancing opportunities for early-career researchers to engage with policy-relevant research and to build networks within Higher Education and with partners. It also includes building and enhancing relationships with colleagues in HE institutions across the world, particularly in ODA-eligible countries.

Professor EJ Milner-Gulland, Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity, University of Oxford and a leader in the CASCADE team said: "Our universities and research institutes are among the foremost in the world in finding solutions to the challenges that the world faces in the 21st century, and in training the next generation of research leaders. If we all work together, and in collaboration with our colleagues around the world, we can play a major role in supporting the green recovery that our planet needs."

For more information and to register for the event, please visit: