Meet the 2020 AOSIS Fellows

Brittany Meighan, Belize

Brittany Meighan is a climate change and environmental services professional.  Through her background in environmental science and environmental engineering, and her experience in the public service as a climate change mitigation officer and greenhouse gas inventory coordinator, she has accumulated a breadth of experience in low carbon technologies, climate change policy and negotiations, and UNFCCC international reporting process. She recently coordinated Belize’s First Biennial Update report and Fourth National GHG Inventory, and is now a certified reviewer of BURs for developing countries. Her philosophy involves bridging science and policy to forge solutions for global concerns.

Joel Suárez, Cuba

Joel Suárez is a climate change and sustainable development advisor and negotiator.

He has been involved in the climate change negotiations since 2016, awarding him the Prize “Ray of the Day” granted by the Climate Action Network. This was due to his role in the coordination on Loss and Damage for the Group G-77 and China during the UNFCCC 22nd Conference of the Parties.

Joel has served as the Chief of the Cuban Delegations for the Mid-Term Review of the Samoa Pathway in Samoa, the SIDS National Focal Points meetings, and the ECOSOC’s Commission for Science and Technology for Development, between 2018 and 2019. Within his many roles, he serves as a designer and coordinator for local sustainable development projects in rural communities across Cuba. He is a member of the Cuban Speleological Society, where he organizes national and international scientific expeditions. Joel holds a bachelor’s degree (with Honors) in International Relations.

Emma Pongopia, Papua New Guinea

Emma Pongopia is a Foreign Service Officer.

She is attached to the International Organization Branch under the Multilateral and Development Cooperation Division as desk officer for climate change, environment and oceans. This year will mark her fourth year of working with the Department. Prior to joining the Department, she served as a Banker with the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Bank.

Her current roles include: writing letters, briefs, statements, and talking points, preparing policy submissions to the government, commenting on policy documents, organizing and coordinating meetings and events, preparing of PNG’s participation at international meetings and high-level events relating to climate change, environment and the oceans.

Emma’s recent engagement was attendance at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York and preparing for PNG’s participation at the 25th Conference of Parties (COP) in Spain. She has also represented DFAIT to contribute in the formulation of the PNG’s National Oceans Policy, the review of the Climate Change Management Act 2015, the preparation of the National Action Plan for the United Nations Framework for Combating Desertification (UNCCD), as well as assisted in implementing the first Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness Programme and participated in the workshop for the development of a roadmap to achieve PNG’s National Determined Contributions under the UNFCCC, among others.

Emma graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a minor in Public Policy Management.

Elissa Lalande, Seychelles

Elissa Lalande is a Senior Policy Analyst for Climate Change.

She has enjoyed working one year in the post with the Department of Energy and Climate Change. One of her roles and duties is to propose and draft new policies and legislation on energy and Climate Change based on relevant principles, programs, practices, and processes.

Elissa’s biggest job right now relates to her leadership and assistance in drafting the first National Climate Change Policy for Seychelles. In her job, Elissa reviews and updates existing policies and legislations in relation to Energy and Climate Change.

In Elissa’s work, she travels around the world to represent her country and deliver presentations about Seychelles’ vulnerability to Climate Change at various workshops, symposiums and conferences, both nationally and internationally, including at COP. While overseas, she presents Climate-related information to relevant stakeholders. Additionally, Elissa assists consultants to provide guidance for the preparation of grant applications to obtain funding for programs related to energy and climate change or sustainability or just simple project proposals.

Elissa gathers and reviews Energy and Climate-related studies from government agencies, research laboratories, and other relevant organizations and develops, or contributes to the development of, educational or outreach programs related to Energy and Climate Change.

This year’s four AOSIS Fellows are joined by a Nauru Fellow

Evalyne Detenamo, Republic of Nauru

Evalyne Detenamo is a 2020 Nauru Fellow and an environmental management specialist.

Evalyne recently earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Management from the University of the South Pacific in the Fiji Islands. Her experience includies working with the Nauru Quarantine Division, under the Department of Justice & Border Control.

Evalyne is keen to learn as much as she can from those that have expertise in her field of study. She loves to travel and meet new people, as well as learn from them and learn their culture.