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The Catalyst team has been busy lately with Ben participating in Climathon in Wellington, Gerard working on agricultural aid in Pakistan and Kimberly being invited to peer review country GHG inventories for the UNFCCC – a great honour.

Ben heads to Climathon

New Zealand Climathon was held in Wellington last month and Catalyst’s Ben Canaguier went along to participate – he was even part of the winning team.

Climathon is a global event held simultaneously in 59 cities across 36 countries where participants come up with ideas to address local climate change challenges (e.g. urban planning, housing, waste removal). They have 24 hours to develop their ideas in a mentored/pressure-cooker environment.

Wellington was the only city in New Zealand that participated and obviously Ben, our local correspondent, couldn’t resist pitching an idea.

For 24 hours Ben and his team developed “Platypus – a simple climate change action service”. The rough idea is to offer consumers an easy opportunity to help local “mitigation providers” (e.g. Rainforest conservation project, food rescue) by paying the “true carbon cost” of their food/drink (e.g. $0.1 for a flat white, $0.5 for a breakfast).

The developed solution benefits:

-          The retailer (marketing opportunities, being at the forefront of a low carbon world)

-          The consumer (opportunity to take action, learning more about the true carbon cost of his food, fulfilment by helping a local enterprise)

-          The mitigation provider (new reliable revenue stream)

The first validation tests were promising. Team Platypus was pleased to receive the first prize and has the opportunity to develop the idea further through the Victoria University Entrepreneurship Bootcamp.

Gerard in Pakistan

Catalyst’s Gerard McEvilly is co-ordinating a new programme focused on livestock, cropping and horticulture smallholders in Pakistan.

The programme will target new opportunities across value chains that have been selected for their capacity to alleviate poverty and engender inclusive growth. The research will be delivered by a diverse team of Australian and Pakistani experts, supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Both Australia and New Zealand deliver aid programs through their respective Foreign Affairs and Trade Department /Ministry. For 30 years, ACIAR has provided special expertise in tackling technical challenges in partner countries through “Research for Development”. This fits well with Gerard’s extensive experience in managing horticultural R&D programs and his interest in education and professional development.

Gerard has some prior experience in Pakistan, having reviewed the previous ACIAR programme there last year. The new programme will build on the lessons learned and branch out into different crops. It will also develop partnerships with commercial value chain partners, other donor programs and NGOs in order to maximise the impact of the research both in terms of scale (farmers reached) and impact (ongoing benefits).

Gerard will be co-ordinating the Agriculture Value Chain Collaborative Research (AVCCR) program. This has an ambitious goal (especially given the scale and diversity of farming in Pakistan): That rural poor, particularly women, living in the Punjab and Sindh significantly and equitably benefit from improvements in strategic value chains.

Kimberly to review country GHG inventories for the UNFCCC

Catalyst’s Kimberly Robertson was recently asked by the UNFCCC to be part of an expert review team reviewing the 2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventories of Canada and Russia as a Land-Use, Land Use Change and Forestry expert.

“The invitation reflects my expertise in carbon inventories and forestry in particular. It was an honour to be asked and to take part with a range of international experts in their fields,” she says.

“The reviews were conducted as desk reviews, meaning they were more a review of documentation rather than a more detailed In-country review. We had a few difficulties: there was no English translation of the Russian inventory report (google translate was very useful!) and all the review team meetings were in the late evenings - as most experts were in Europe.  But we managed to finish the reviews on time and the draft reports are now going through the UNFCCC process.”

The aim is to publish the reports on the UNFCCC website early next year.

 

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