CEESP SC member Mersie was one of the speakers at a discussion event on the role of the African Diaspora in Biodiversity Conservation organized by the African Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) with the support of USAID.
Hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of the Congo in Washington, DC, the event was seen as a part of the celebration of the African Union Golden Jubilee (May 25, 1963 - May 25, 2013) to discuss the findings of the USAID commissioned study report: The African Diaspora in the U.S. and its Interaction with Biodiversity Conservation in Africa.
Diaspora is defined as a group of people living abroad with strong connection to their countries of origin. African Diaspora has become strong economic force (remittances and direct investment), social force (expansion of education and health services) and also political force (articulate advocates for change) in their countries of origin. But its contribution to biodiversity conservation has been, at best, limited. Nor has there been serious effort both by governments and conservation organizations to engage the Diaspora in biodiversity conservation.
Participants in the meeting discussed ways that conservationists and African Diaspora groups can better collaborate towards common goals.