From left to right: Foreign Service Officer, Geneva Tyndall, Director of the Multilateral and Global Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Troy Torrington, Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) Fellow, Onika Stellingburg and Director of the Department of Environment, Ndibi Schwiers.
Ms. Onika Stellingburg of the Department of Environment in the Ministry of the Presidency has been selected to participate in the prestigious
Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) Fellowship Program. Ms. Stellingburg, who is the Stakeholder Management Coordinator at the Department of Environment, was the nominee from the Caribbean region and from global nominations. Guyana joins Kiribati, Seychelles and The Maldives as the four countries that will participate in the 2018 Fellowship.
Ms. Stellingburg will spend one year, based at the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations in New York where she will be working on climate change issues, including attending all major UNFCCC meetings and working alongside AOSIS and Guyana’s diplomats at the United Nations. She will return to continue her work with the Government of Guyana after her year of real-world negotiation experience at the United Nations. Her participation marks the first time Guyana has been selected to participate in the coveted Program.
The Fellowship was developed for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to provide substantive training focused on the complex climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. SIDS include low-lying coastal developing states like Guyana which share similar characteristics with small islands and face peculiar social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities to their development on account of climate and related vulnerabilities. Guyana is especially vulnerable to sea level rise as it sits some 1.5 meters beneath sea level and its the coastal plain on which 80% of its population resides and which contributes to a significant
percentage of its GDP.
Ms. Stellingburg’s participation in the Fellowship is anticipated to contribute to building Guyana’s negotiating capacity in the UNFCCC process. The AOSIS Fellowship, now in its fourth year of operation, selects early career professionals from AOSIS member countries to participate as part of their national delegation to the UNFCCC and at the United Nations headquarters. The 2018 AOSIS Climate Change Fellowship is supported by the Government of Italy.