COP15: UN and University of Cambridge sign conservation capacity building agreement

9th December 2022

At the end of day two of COP15, an agreement was signed between the UN CBD secretariat and the University of Cambridge, Department of Geography recognising the CCI Masters in Conservation Leadership’s crucial role in conservation capacity building.

The agreement recognises the impact and alignment of the novel Masters course with the goals of the CBD Capacity Development framework and ultimately the importance of education and capacity building in the fight to protect the natural world and the biodiversity within it.

The MoU agreement signed yesterday paves the way for shared initiatives to accelerate building the capacity of national biodiversity experts and conservation leaders, crucial for the delivery of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Additionally, it will enable a series of knowledge exchange activities to support effective implementation of the framework.

Established in 2010, the Masters in Conservation Leadership is a ground-breaking course that equips students with the applied leadership and management skills needed to create positive change in conservation. A unique feature of the course is its delivery by a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the leading conservation organisations, which together comprise the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI).

Another notable feature of the course is the development of an active global conservation leadership alumni network (UCCLAN), now totalling over 220 alumni in 89 countries around the world. The alumni network has ‘observer status’ at the conference and has already been influential in the wider negotiations.

Chris Sandbrook, Director of the Masters in Conservation Leadership and CCI Council member said “Since 2010 the Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership has been building the capacity of outstanding future conservation leaders from around the world. Our alumni have the skills, networks and wisdom needed to support delivery of the Convention on Biological Diversity framework being agreed at COP 15. The MoU we are signing today with the Secretariat of the Convention will enable us to work closely together towards our shared objectives for capacity development. It is a proud moment for me and everyone involved in the Masters.”

The Masters in Conservation Leadership team have been working towards this agreement for several years and are delighted to now finalise the agreement, enabling a cohesive approach to building the leadership capacity needed to create a diverse world in which nature and society thrive.