Humanity was embedded in nature, not external to it. This was the main point Chevening Alumni from Guatemala were trying to embed in their discussions about the UK government’s Dasgupta Review.
What is the Dasgupta Review?
The Economics of Biodiversity – The Dasgupta Review is an independent review led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta and commissioned by HM Treasury. It is aimed at key decision-makers, proposing the importance of recognising humanity’s dependence on nature for its success and therefore the part that everyone plays in addressing issues driving climate change and loss of biodiversity.
The review touched on the unsustainable nature of current global consumption trends.
“Current consumption can only be satisfied by the resources of 1.6 Earths.”
What did Chevening Alumni do?
24 Chevening Alumni from across 8 countries and a wide range of backgrounds in Latin America came together for a knowledge exchange to identify and share key takeaways from the Dasgupta Review, led by Chevening Alumni from Guatemala.
The project was funded by the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund (CAPF).
How did they approach the project?
Cheveners involved in the project each read the Dasgupta Review and summarised key messages from at least one chapter each.
Four virtual meetings were held to exchange ideas on what was learned and thoughts on what to share with the general public.
After the initial meetings, they prepared to conduct a webinar to discuss the key takeaways on ‘The Economics of Biodiversity’.
As the webinar was aimed across such a wide region of Latin America, presentations were prepared in both Spanish and Portuguese, with volunteers making sure content was technically sound and culturally appropriate for each audience.
During the webinar itself, six Chevening Alumni from different cohorts, countries and backgrounds discussed the key takeaways from the Dasgupta Review in their native languages, with simultaneous interpretation, so the whole audience could learn from each speaker.
The webinar was held in February 2022, and they were delighted to host over 100 attendees representing 5 countries in Latin America. To open the session, key messages from the Dasgupta Review were briefly mentioned, before opening up to discuss questions the audience members had. Discussion was focused around the challenges and opportunities in the region for redirecting investment towards climate action and biodiversity conservation, which are intrinsically related.
Overall, the webinar was a huge success and feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and supportive. One of the speakers was invited to a guest spot on a radio show to discuss the topic with other experts live on air.
Outcomes and learnings from the project
The project was a success on all fronts. For the organisers and speakers, it helped them develop new skills such as storytelling and creating narratives for a public audience, and the experience as a whole was aided by being part of multidisciplinary teams with Cheveners from many backgrounds, who shared the same interests working together for the same goals.
In fact, some members of the team went on to develop a policy proposal that was presented during the HMG Scholarships Alumni Climate Change Hackathon, held in the autumn of 2021.
They have continued to stay in touch to share knowledge and strengthen their network across the field.
Chevening Alumni Guatemala say they found the CAPF process to be a particularly enriching part of the project, as it allowed them to collaborate regionally and interact with fellow alumni despite distance and the challenges of the pandemic.
On the experience of the project overall, they had this to say:
‘We recommend Cheveners to work together as much as possible for making the most of our network and reach greater results through collaboration!’