Aliyah Sahqani and Alexander Meyer Internship at UNDP

By Aliyah Sahqani & Alexander Meyer

The United Nations Development Programme’s Global Programme on Nature for Development
works to identify, showcase, and celebrate nature-based solutions to help achieve the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development at local, national, and international levels. We intern under
different initiatives of the Global Programme on Nature for Development.

One such initiative is the ‘The Equator Initiative’ which brings together various organizations to
recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions. They carry out their work
through 3 main action areas. The first being the Equator prize which is awarded each year to
recognize ten Indigenous peoples and local communities who have used innovative, nature-
based solutions to achieve their own local development goals, while building community
resilience. The Equator Dialogues are another area of work where the organization holds
community meetings to influence policy, and lastly the Equator Knowledge program documents
the best practices of communities.

Aliyah had the opportunity to support the Equator Initiative team in conducting the community
dialogues in 2022, which create an enabling environment for local and indigenous community
action. With the onset of the new Equator prize cycle, I am now supporting the team in
reviewing nominations for this year’s Equator Prize – the call for nominations are out and local
and indigenous communities working towards sustainable development solutions are eligible to
apply. These organizations are from all around the world, and their work ranges from supporting
rural transition to regenerative agriculture to protecting critical habitat and freshwater resources,
and much more.

Alexander works on the Learning for Nature initiative, a premier UNDP e-learning program. It
connects biodiversity policymakers, change-makers, and subject matter experts to promote
biodiversity conservation and facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It fosters on-the-ground learning, synergies, and linkages to engage tens of thousands of
participants from almost every country around the world as together we journey towards
sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities.
On the Learning for Nature team, Alexander coordinates different deliverables to offer
comprehensive training opportunities for government representatives implementing nature
based solutions in their local contexts. The courses he supports have engaged more than
20,000 people in four major languages from around the globe. They have covered diverse
subject matter such as ecosystem restoration, spatial planning, biodiversity finance, and green