Raising awareness of environmental issues as a UN Volunteer Ocean Governance Assistant

Andrea Aakre is a UN Volunteer Ocean Governance Assistant, serving with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Namibia. Her assignment is fully funded by the government of Norway.

Andrea grew up believing that environmental degradation and climate change are among the biggest challenges humanity faces. Accordingly, she volunteered for organizations such as Amnesty International and Young Friends of the Earth.

While pursuing her career in the environmental field, this UN Volunteer assignment seemed like a perfect opportunity to raise awareness around environmental issues, with a focus on ocean governance.

"It is a privilege these days to be able to devote one's time to a role that feels meaningful."

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Andrea Aakre (Norway), UN Volunteer, serving with UNDP in Namibia. The Norwegian flag in the UN House reception.

Andrea's UN Volunteer assignment is not only limited to ocean governance assistance, but also encompasses broad support to issues related to the environment portfolio.

She recently created a website for the Benguela Current Commission youth ambassadors, where ambassadors can share their work with the world and raise awareness about managing the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem resources, stretching from South Africa to Angola.

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Andrea doing administrative work in the office.

On the other hand, Andrea has been coordinating a socio-economic impact assessment on how COVID-19 has affected the tourism sector, which is crucial to Namibia's economy. She also participated in the development of a new water management project.

"Being a UN Volunteer is rewarding, not only because it allows me to engage in the everyday work of a large development organization like UNDP, but also because it makes clear what the bottom line of development work in Namibia has to be about."

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From the workshop Andrea (Left) gave on SDG interconnectedness, given at Gobabeb - Namib Research Institute in January 2021.

Another major task that Andrea took part in was hosting the first Climate Action for Millennials Programme (CAMP).

The initiative trained young Namibian graduates on climate change, who then visited schools to pass on their knowledge about climate science and the impact of climate change on Namibian lives.

Together with the team, Andrea facilitated a workshop on identifying the interconnectedness between the different Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty) and 15 (Life on Land).

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From a visit to the Climate Action for Millennials Programme at Gobabeb in January.

Recently, Andrea has been planning Biodiversity Action Week hosted at Gobabeb - Namib Research Institute, in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ) and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

As a UN Volunteer protecting the environment, ecosystem and biodiversity, Andrea asserts, "Being able to converse with young graduates who are likely facing a future of drought as a result of climate change is inspiring."

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A group photo from Biodiversity Action Week at Gobabeb Namib Research Institute.