Deputy Director, Ecosystems Division, UN Environment
Dr Monika MacDevette is an environmental physiologist having studied the adaptive responses of plants to harsh and stressful environments, particularly low temperature and freezing stress. Monika obtained her BSc and MSc (Plant Biotechnology) from the University of Manitoba, and PhD (Crop Physiology) from the University of Saskatchewan and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia in genetic engineering. Her experience in research, and the application of physiology and developmental genetics to understanding how living things cope with environmental stresses, provides the basis for her interests into the impacts of environmental change on ecosystems and human well-being. Monika was recently the Deputy Director of the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre at Cambridge, UK. She is currently serving as the Deputy Director of Ecosystems Division at UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Over the past 20 years, she has worked in South Africa, India and Kuwait where she has played a leading role in programmes including: the transfer of genes coding for Antarctic fish anti-freeze proteins into plants; screening for low temperature stress tolerance in forestry production systems; managing the development of spatial information decision support systems in the fields of agriculture, biodiversity and coastal and marine development; assessing international research proposals on the human health impacts, and on groundwater contamination from the oil fires in Kuwait; coordinating multi-institutional environmental research partnerships; and serving on an international team to review the performance of a European biodiversity information institute. She established and operated a private technology management consulting company in Cape Town prior to working with UNEP since 2002.
Her professional interests include technology foresight, and fostering the integration of science with organizational dynamics to support informed environmental decision-making - how to get smart people in institutions and government to make good environmental decisions based on sound science.