1st Entry

Posted by Sean Chedda at Aug 23, 2017 01:11 PM |
Time has flown by and I am already four weeks into my internship.

After being shown the office and introduced to the team, my first day was spent familiarising myself with the UN Environment CEP website, particularly information concerning the SPAW protocol. Having read previous intern blogs before coming out to Kingston, I had learnt that the UN uses a fair few acronyms so I had made a list of the most frequently used ones prior to starting the internship. I definitely found this useful over my first few days, and it was a lot easier to wrap my head around all the partner organisations and frequently used terms. After going through the 2017-2018 Biennium Work Plan for the SPAW protocol and highlighting the projects I was particularly interested in, I was assigned three projects to work on. These included writing a brief to be presented to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a workshop for-CEP to assist with the development and implementation of a regional management plan for the Nassau Grouper across the Wider Caribbean.  

My first week was spent compiling information on previous work by CEP on the Nassau Grouper and other regional management plans for species such as the Queen Conch and Spiny Lobster, as well as collaborations with other fisheries bodies and potential for capacity building. In the process of writing the brief, I was able to attend a skype call with the workshop coordinator and gain insight into the logistics which go into organising a regional event.

The second project I was involved with was creating new regional maps of the specially protected areas under the SPAW protocol across the Wider Caribbean. I thoroughly enjoyed applying my mapping skills in ArcGIS gained throughout my undergraduate and master degree. The maps were shared with the CaMPAM director and SPAW Regional Activity Centre in Guadeloupe and it was rewarding to see the maps being incorporated in the brief to NOAA.

The latest project I have been working on is a document in preparation for the 2018 International Year of the Reef highlighting the initiatives and involvements of UN Environment CEP in coral reef conservation and management planning. This has been particularly interesting since I spent the first half of the year very much within reef ecosystems, so it has been eye opening to see local, regional and international efforts to protect and promote reef awareness first hand.

I am now settled in Kingston, having finally discovered the best way to work and learning how to cook a number of Jamaican dishes myself. I have had the opportunity to explore some of the island over the past four weekends, and even see some of the species I have been reading and writing about in the office which makes the daily tasks so much more relevant.


Challenges Faced:

My initial challenge was getting to grips with the writing style of policy reports, as my past experience has been mostly in scientific writing.


Lessons learnt:

I am getting my head around the ins and outs of the SPAW protocol and have started to grasp the acronyms of the partner organisations. I have also learnt that while collaborative work is essential to implement any regional policy, a number of challenges exist when a variety of stakeholders are involved, particularly with regards to the time needed for implementation.