Professor Chosen as a Lead Author for United Nations Environmental Report
Richard Mbatu, Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy at USF St. Petersburg.
(July 3, 2018) – Richard Mbatu, Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy, has been selected by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to become one of the lead authors for the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) for Youth. GEO is the UN Environment’s head assessment on environmental, social and economic trends that shape the environment, and issues reports that aid world leaders in making policy decisions that directly address environmental issues and turn plans into action.
“I was surprised and very excited for this opportunity,” said Mbatu.
GEO reports address the state of global environmental issues from pollution to climate change, detailing the current status, drivers of change and how to implement policies that would improve outcomes. While the study of such complicated environmental issues on a global scale is the work of experts and academics, the information takes into account all stakeholders, including different cultural groups and indigenous people. The final study produces three derivatives of focus: a GEO for cities, for business, and for youth.
Change as a result of policy recommendations in the GEO report since its first publication has had its ups and downs. Early goals aimed at more countries utilizing sustainable development by the year 2000 have not been met. Widespread development has resulted in large-scale habitat destruction, and including indigenous people in sustainable development has been slow. However, the availability of potable water around the world has seen significant improvement.
As a GEO for Youth lead author, Mbatu will work with young adults on ways to increase engagement among young people, who will inherit many of the major global environmental issues of today. Early ideas include apps, videos and other digital media, as well as pop-culture.
“The GEO for Youth process and eventual product is driven by youth, for youth to stimulate conversation and empower them to speak up, recognize the causes of environmental change in their their specific regions and participate in the decision-making process,” said Mbatu.
Mbatu is one of several tasked with providing technical expertise and ensuring timeliness and accuracy throughout the report. He is very familiar with GEO as he uses previous reports as course material in his current teaching of environmental policy and sustainability at USF St. Petersburg.
Mbatu received his PhD at Oklahoma State University in 2006. He is currently an assistant professor of environmental policy, with a research focus in forest resource management and the structure of plans, programs, agreements and convention dealing with forest resource management and climate change.