Citizen Science Supporting Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Susan Mwangi, MCCJ Collaborator

Science can significantly contribute to the discussion of multilateral environmental agreements by incorporating citizen science. As discussed in the session, citizen science involves integrating people’s views into science, bringing lived experiences alongside taught experiences. “The science of the people”. Citizen science is described as democratic, bottom-up, and empowering, giving agency to individuals. It offers an opportunity for all humans to contribute to the next level of scientific understanding. This approach enriches the data and evidence available. One key role of citizen science is in policy-making and good governance. It provides real-time data from the ground and incorporates social and cultural aspects into scientific spaces. This type of science has a tangible impact that can contribute to local and global frameworks.

During the session, it was highlighted that citizen science projects can support youth livelihood and well-being by engaging youths in research, particularly in data collection, giving them a sense of purpose and the capacity to generate quality data. This inclusivity, where science is accessible to everyone, and everyone has a stake in science, allows for a more comprehensive and just transition, especially in addressing the triple planetary crisis. Some challenges were identified regarding the utilization of citizen science. One notable issue is the erosion of indigenous knowledge systems. Preserving this knowledge for future generations is crucial, making citizen science an invaluable tool for capturing these stories, which carry significant impact. Additionally, another obstacle was highlighted by the absence of platforms to connect stakeholders.

Susan Mwangi, a collaborator of MCCJ, working with the Comboni Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), Nairobi, Kenya.