2nd Entry

Posted by Sean Chedda at Sep 18, 2017 04:31 PM |
Two down - one to go!   This last month has gone by surprisingly quickly with the workload picking up as various colleagues are back from annual leave and new projects are coming together now that the summer has ended (although the heat would make you believe otherwise).

 

While I worked on smaller projects including writing the SPAW’s input in the monthly ecosystem division newsletter, helped to shortlist presentations for a workshop on marine protected area management, assisted with the drafting of questions for a written test for SPAW job applications, proof read and translated ratification documents, I also finished off the big coral reef document with satisfaction and embarked on two more interesting new projects.

In preparation for a Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network workshop and another workshop hosted by the Convention on Biological Diversity, I prepared documents on the work that the SPAW Sub-programme and its Regional Activity Centre in Guadeloupe have been involved in with regards to invasive species. Invasive species is a topic I am particularly interested in having done some field work on the lionfish last year and written an e-book cookbook on invasive species of the Great Lakes. It was therefore eye opening to see all the ongoing efforts in terms of policy and activities which have been undertaken on a regional scale to help control the spread of these species and mitigate their negative impacts on biodiversity.

The second project was particularly interesting to me since I did not have much prior knowledge or experience in the subject prior to this occasion. I was asked to assist in the drafting of a project proposal for funding from the German International Climate Initiative (IKI) for a € 12 million project to help 6 Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean implement their Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Working closely with the UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, and listening in to conference calls with the UN Environment Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi, I learnt about the best sources of renewable energy per country in the Caribbean, carbon payment initiatives and all sorts of policy jargon.

Challenges:

Coming up with suitable multiple choice questions as part of the application process for job positions way above your own role. Are these blatantly obvious or why can’t I think of wrong answers? I’m starting to appreciate all the work which goes into university exams!

When working on a project with several divisions, I found it challenging to ensure that all parties’ input was included despite agendas being different for the same output, particularly when there is a word limit.

Lessons Learnt:

Always ask for help, especially when you think you are out of your depth. I initially (wrongly) thought that the fate of this € 12 million project lay in my hands. Turns out A LOT of people and different division across the UN are involved with the submission of project proposals and so if you don’t know something there is always going to be someone more specialised and experienced than you who can help with particular aspects of a question.

Project proposals don’t have to be overly specific as they aren’t yet set in stone, so it is ok to not know what the expected outcomes might be.

You can easily use the background information you spent a while researching and writing for one project on several other projects.

Being a bit of a nerd on some topics can help out your fellow interns who might need some obscure fish to be identified in a picture or a brief summary of your programme’s project for social media purposes.