Saint Lucia Facilitator
Onika Benn is a climate change specialist and stakeholder management professional with several years of experience working at the intersection of national, regional and international climate and environmental policy development.
She holds a Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Environmental Management from the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom and is trained in Climate Change Negotiation by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). She is proud to be the first and only Guyanese participating in the Climate Change fellowship hosted by AOSIS, where she also provided technical support to AOSIS in global climate meetings for negotiations of critical sections of the Paris Agreement Rulebook.
These qualifications have served her well and enriched her experiences over the years. At the international level, Onika was the lead climate change negotiator for the Group of 77 and China in 2018 at the United Nations headquarters, playing a key role in the development and adoption of the main climate resolution for 2018. She has supported the government of Guyana in the development of a 30-year national development plan, aimed at transitioning the entire country into a green economy, specifically leading stakeholder engagement for the development of the framework document and leading the support for mainstreaming the green economy principles into the national budget of this emerging economy. This public service experience has honed her skills in stakeholder management, multilateral diplomacy, environmental communications and policy development.
Outside of the paid professional realm, Onika is recognized a regional youth leader and worker, engaging with international organizations and representing youth in the area of climate, environment and youth development. This recognition led to her selection by the World Economic Forums’ initiative, the Global Shapers Community, as one of the first Guyanese to serve in the Georgetown Hub – for which she was also the first elected curator and leader of the group. Work in these organizations included building and funding libraries in impoverished communities, annual back to school drives for indigenous school children and networking events to scale up other projects and initiatives. Regionally, she was also able to serve as the Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean in the Royal Commonwealth Society and Board Member of Information and Communications of the Caribbean Regional Youth Council lending support to regional youth initiatives.
Outside of work, Onika is an avid reader and a quasi-professional movie critic. She thoroughly enjoys travelling and learning to cook and subsequently eating dishes from around the world. She dreams of a world where all nations develop responsibly in a manner that respects the human right of current and future generations to live in comfort, peace and security.