COP 25 Delegation Bios
BCCIC Climate Change’s Multilateral Affairs Team is thrilled to announce its delegation to the 25th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid, Spain. The delegation includes undergraduate, master’s and PhD students as well as working professionals, and delegates represent several diverse areas of expertise including international relations, biodiversity science, economics, behavioural psychology, and agricultural science.
BCCIC’s COP delegations have two main goals:
1) To train and empower young and future generations of Canadians working in climate diplomacy, encouraging them to focus on areas they are most passionate and well-versed in (ie. gender, Indigenous peoples, Just Transition, climate finance, mitigation and carbon market mechanisms);
2) To foster a strong and professional youth presence on the domestic and international stages in the fight for young and future generations’ right to a sustainable world. By giving youth the training and professional networks needed to influence high-level decision-making, we are helping them claim more agency over deciding their climate future.
Keila Stark is the BCCIC COP25 Delegation Coordinator. She has been involved with BCCIC for several years through their UNFCCC and 2030 Agenda programs, including co-author the second and third volumes of ‘Where Canada Stands’ reports tracking Canada’s progress on the sustainable development goals. She has a background in marine biology and political science, and is currently a PhD student in Zoology at the University of British Columbia. She is passionate about empowering scientists to take on a more influential role in international environmental diplomacy.
Her research interests include investigating the drivers of biodiversity in coastal ecosystems, predicting how marine biodiversity will change under future warming, and incorporating social equity into conservation projects (ie. REDD+) to optimize outcomes for nature and people. She has worked for the Vancouver Aquarium, BC Wildlife Federation, Parks Canada, the UBC-Nippon Nereus Program, and the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland, Australia. Outside of science and policy, loves SCUBA diving and training for triathlons.
At COP25, her focus will be on pushing for strong Article 6 guidelines, and mainstreaming blue carbon and marine biodiversity conservation as mitigation measures in countries’ NDCs.
Andrea Byfuglien is an environmental advocate, science communicator and sustainability scholar, currently completing a Master of Science in Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC. She has a demonstrated history of working on innovative sustainability projects, and is passionate about empowering individuals to understand the impacts of the climate crisis as well as the solutions available.
Andrea holds a double Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Geography from the University of Melbourne. Her current research at UBC is in collaboration with UBC Botanical Garden and focuses on behavioral interventions to motivate meaningful climate action. Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, she is interested in advancing sustainable development through applied behavioral science.
Andrea is recognized as an UNLEASH Global SDG Talent, and served as a delegate to the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2019. At COP 25 she will focus on biodiversity conservation and methodologies for implementing climate action.
Hailey May is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia holding a B.Sc. in Conservation. She is focused on sustainable and equitable resource systems and policy as a solution to the climate crisis. She is the Communications Lead for Climate Guides and Youth4Nature, both youth-ran nonprofits focused on engaging young people with climate action and nature-based solutions in Canada and internationally. Her work focuses on establishing space for young professionals around the world to meaningfully participate in and influence international governance decisions on nature and climate, in addition to building global regional hubs in support of youth working on nature and climate.
Hailey’s experience spans from independent research on changing resource availability in India as a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholar and under the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecsosytem, to research on Arctic dendochronology and epigenetics at UBC, to wetland policy with the BC Wildlife Federation, and into the international governance world through her involvement with Youth4Nature at the UN Climate Action Summit. She is interested in environmental and agricultural policy, which she hopes to gain experience with through at UNFCCC COP25 and bring back to her work with the BC Legislative Assembly and local agricultural community. At COP25 Hailey will be following tracks relevant to biodiversity and agriculture, particularly the KJWA.
Skylar Kylstra: I am a scientist with a B.S. in Global Resource Systems and I am currently pursuing my Masters of Land and Water Systems at the University of British Columbia. I am very interested in how plants can be used as a tool to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change through sustainable agriculture, green infrastructure, ecological restoration, and better land and water management. I have taken an interdisciplinary systems approach to my education about climate change, integrating fields including agriculture, watershed science, ecology, soil science, anthropology, environmental law, engineering, and economics. I have been involved in numerous projects related to climate change; these include a project to create a monitoring system for solar pump irrigation systems for farmers in Nicaragua, and an agricultural research project in BC which aims to assess the impact of different management practices on GHG emissions from crop fields.
I applied to attend COP25 with BCCIC because climate action is my passion and I believe that multilateral policy is one of the most direct ways to tackle the problem. I am very excited to meet other youth involved in climate action all over the world and learn more about the processes of negotiations for global climate policy.
Diana Carrillo Risi is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia. She studied International Relations, and considers herself a third culture multilingual professional having lived in seven countries. She aspires to continue traveling around the world hoping to make a change. Diana is interested in foreign policy, climate justice, human rights, and women empowerment. She is passionate in aiding to tackle the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, as she has not only lived in developing countries, but has witnessed development implementation programs from her household relating to nutrition improvements, food security, and disaster relief. Diana is thrilled to attend COP25 this year having already attended SB50 in Bonn. At COP25 Diana will primarily focus on Gender Equality, Adaptation and Mitigation, and Human Rights.
Molly Rahal is completing her undergraduate degree in International Relations at the University of Warsaw, after growing up in Vancouver and previously attending UBC. For the past two years, Molly has grown extremely passionate about climate change mitigation, and has been involved with a number of projects and demonstrations. She is currently a Co-Director for online platform For Life, aimed at fostering community among existing youth activists within the climate change movement while bringing in, empowering and educating new activists. For Life’s latest campaign was aimed at activating youth voters prior to the recent federal election in Canada. She is a Sustainability & Communications Strategist for carbon offsetting initiative N0CO2, which uses donations to plant trees for carbon sinks in Madagascar, Nepal and Indonesia. She previously attended the UNFCCC SB-50 in Bonn, Germany where she followed the formal conclusion of the IPCC special report on 1.5 within the Paris Agreement, and the HLPF in 2018 focused on the 2030 SDG Agenda. This will be her third UN conference with BCCIC. She feels privileged and is beyond grateful to have the opportunity to push for climate change mitigation alongside such incredibly inspirational people. In her spare time, she enjoys visual arts and learning languages.
Laura Chen: As a values-driven advocate, Laura’s mission is to foster a more diverse, regenerative and impactful economy. She is currently a student enrolled in the Bachelor of International Economics (BIE) program at the University of British Columbia. She is passionate about sustainable development and she is intrigued at how economic policy and market-based solutions can play an important role in reconciling climate justice issues. As an advocate for climate justice, she is determined to amplify meaningful engagement with youth and empower others in addressing the climate crisis.
Laura is also curious about the ways that individuals, businesses, governments and investors impact our world. She has worked as a research assistant for the Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing at Sauder (S3i) and UBC Sustainability Initiative, focused on Canadian and BC climate policy, and carbon pricing mechanisms. She is the co-president of the UBC Environmental Policy Association and is the co-founder of UBC’s Women in Economics and Policy club. She is currently a Policy Analyst for BCCIC’s Climate Change Programme, her research focusing on enhancing Canada’s NDC (nationally determined contributions) to increase ambition through actionable legislations, policies, best-practices, and lessons-learned. She was also a part of the youth delegation for SB-50 in June, following the carbon market and climate finance negotiations. Laura is also passionate about youth and civil political engagement to help champion a vision to transform our economy and society to tackle climate change and inequality at the pace and scale that science and justice demand. She co-founded a campaign called “Green Jobs For All” to break the language barriers in understanding the impacts of climate change and the solutions available, particularly focusing on the potential to create thousands of good green jobs through this transition to a clean energy economy. In her spare time, Laura loves to explore the diverse foodie scene in Vancouver and enjoys spending time in the outdoors.
Chloe Mao is a fourth-year student at UBC, currently pursuing a combined major in Statistics and Economics. To bridge her background in data science and her passion for climate action, she is currently working as a policy analyst within BCCIC’s Climate Change Program under its public opinion branch, focusing on data and research. Chloe is interested in learning more about the interdisciplinary nature of climate policy negotiations, more specifically the reconciliation of increased ambitions with economic development and climate justice in market mechanisms.
As an advocate for increased youth engagement in climate action, Chloe is honoured by the opportunity to represent youth perspectives in British Columbia as a part of the COP25 delegation. She was also a part of the youth delegation to SB-50 in Bonn earlier this year, where she followed closely the Article 6 discussions and developed more insight into the negotiations about the implementations of cooperative mechanisms under the Paris Agreement. She is cautiously optimistic and is looking forward to continuing following these discussions as a youth NGO observer at COP25.
Henrique Fernandes is a student of International Relations at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Originally from Brazil, he plans to focus his studies on international relations and global environmental politics to explore how Global North and Global South countries can collaborate on effective, robust, and fair climate action. This year, he has been engaged in a variety of climate-related projects in order to broaden his understanding of climate action. Over the summer, he worked for UBC Climate Hub (a student-run, administration backed organization based at UBC), where he helped co-design projects focusing on student engagement with climate action and analyzed how universities affiliated with PICS (the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions) can further support student climate action. Since February, he has been involved with BCCIC and now works as a Policy Analyst under the BCCIC Climate Change Multilateral Affairs Division.
He is also very grateful that he had the privilege to attend two UN conferences as a BCCIC Youth Delegate this year: the 2019 UN High-Level Political on the Sustainable Development Goals and the UNFCCC SB-50, where he focused on indigenous rights and Article 6 Negotiations. Through these experiences, Henrique has developed connections with Brazilian civil society organizations and civil servants. At COP25, he hopes to take advantage of these connections and focus on indigenous rights, Loss and Damage, and climate action/climate justice in the Global South (particularly in Latin America).
Sadie DeCoste is committed to using evidence-based policy to build a more just and equitable world. She sees climate action as a moral imperative toward protecting the world’s most vulnerable.
Sadie works as an analyst at E Co., a consultancy which specializes in the design of climate change projects in developing countries. She was recently part of the first graduating class at Minerva Schools, where she studied Economics and Earth Science in Germany, Argentina, Korea, India, the UK, and the US. She was fortunate to gain a deeper understanding of how climate projects work on a global scale as an intern in the Independent Evaluation Unit of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). She has worked as a research assistant at BCCIC as a co-author of the first and third ‘Where Canada Stands’ reports, which tracked Canada’s progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She is an alumnus of Next Up Vancouver and Students on Ice Antarctica expedition, and was New Westminster’s Junior Citizen of the Year in 2014.
Sadie is honoured to attend her fourth UNFCCC conference with BCCIC. She feels newly inspired by the youth climate movements to push for ambitious and timely climate action.
Philippe Roberge is an environmental scientist, science communicator, documentary filmmaker and photographer. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of British Columbia and is currently completing a Masters of Science in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at the University of Oxford in the UK.
His research interests include applications of new technologies in conservation, improving science communication, global energy systems and international law.
He has worked with SunPOWER, WWF, The Environmental Agency of Abu Dhabi, and most recently the University of British Columbia where he produced 7 short documentaries featuring the work of UBC scientists (www.philroberge.com/video).
During his tenure at the University of British Columbia Biodiversity Research Centre, Philippe founded the Biodiversity Research Photo Competition. The aim of the competition is to encourage scientists to share their fascinating research in a visual and artistic way.
At COP25, his focus will be on Biodiversity Conservation and observing dynamics of international cooperation on NDCs.