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Diaspora Voices: Nature-Based Solutions

Event date with timezone
- America/New York
United States of America
Type of Event
International Organization for Migration

Join IOM and the U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Partnerships for the final Diaspora Voices event of 2022. Diaspora experts, government actors, and representatives from the private sector will come together to discuss how nature-based solutions can be used to combat the climate crisis, and how diasporas are already using these strategies to effect change in their communities. 

Nature-based solutions are actions that protect, sustainably manage, and restore ecosystems, all while addressing societal challenges effectively and adaptively. They simultaneously provide biodiversity benefits and improve the well-being of their human inhabitants. The strategic and effective use of nature-based solutions plays an important role in addressing the challenges climate change presents globally.

Nature has a critical role to play in improving our resilience to climate change and creating a thriving and sustainable economy. Nature-based solutions offer significant benefits, monetary and otherwise, often at a lower cost than more traditional infrastructure. Diaspora groups are playing an important role on the front lines in our fight against climate change, and the discussion on October 11th will highlight a few of the nature-based solutions diaspora communities are bringing forward.

Climate change is not only a challenge but also an opportunity to set our world on a path toward equity and prosperity. If we take care of our land, water, and wildlife, we can create millions of new jobs and generate billions of dollars in economic returns in the years to come.


Welcome - Bryan Gerhart, Senior Partnerships Advisor, Office of Global Partnerships at U.S. Department of State

Opening remarks - Monica P. Medina, Assistant Secretary Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Discussion Moderator - Tanja Dedovic, Regional Thematic Specialist on Labor Mobility and Human Development, Regional Office of IOM in Cairo, Egypt

Our panelists: 

  • Cedric Habiyaremye is a Research Associate at Washington State University where he leads the Global Participatory Quinoa Research Program. As a kid, Cedric often went hungry, living in a refugee camp and through a national famine in Rwanda. Today he is a world-renowned crop scientist and agricultural entrepreneur developing solutions for a zero-hunger and malnutrition-free world. He is the scientist who introduced quinoa in Rwanda and pioneered its research and production in some other parts of Africa. As a scientist, Cedric also serves as Research Lead at Food Systems for the Future, a nutrition impact investment fund. Cedric is also a serial entrepreneur. He founded and co-founded several companies, including: QuinoaHub, Origence Foods, Farmwella, Temo Solutions, PAGRIC, and more. Cedric is also serving
  • Dr. Raha Hakimdavar is the Director of Space Sciences at Ball Aerospace, where she leads civil space science and technology strategy development. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Non-resident Fellow with the Middle East Institute’s Water and Environment Program. Previously, Dr. Hakimdavar was a Watershed Program Hydrologist and Acting National Program Lead for Remote Sensing and Geospatial Research at the U.S. Forest Service. She led research on the integration of Earth observations into the UN Sustainable Development Goals during her Presidential Management Fellowship appointment at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Hakimdavar serves as a consultant for UN Environment and the World Bank in the Caribbean on hydro-met, flood risk, and disaster risk reduction projects. She notably helped establish the first remote hydro-meteorological network to support disaster risk reduction, agroforestry, and hydropower development in the South Department of Haiti. 

Special remarks - Lucas Black, World Wildlife Foundation Vice President for Climate Finance