The newly formed Science Advisory Panel for the Ministry for the Environment’s Chief Executive has strong links to Biological Heritage, with three of its seven members having connections to the Challenge. Co-lead for SO6: Pathways to Ecosystem Regeneration Dr Joanne Clapcott has been appointed to the panel, along with Professor Jason Tylianakis and the Challenge’s former co-director Dr Andrea Byrom.

The panel is chaired by the Departmental Chief Science Advisor, Alison Collins, who helps the panellists work closely with Ministry for the Environment (MfE) staff to ensure advice is relevant to policy needs. The purpose of the panel is to “provide independent strategic advice from a science and mātauranga Māori perspective” says Joanne. 

Joanne brings to the panel her experience working at the science-policy interface, through involvement in the development of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, recent advice to MfE on environmental limits and targets, and many environmental monitoring and reporting projects for MfE over the years. 

“I see my role in the Science Advisory Panel as supporting MfE to develop enduring policies and practices that support healthy ecosystems and thriving communities. This is directly aligned to my role with Biological Heritage where I co-lead a strategic research theme focussed on ecosystem regeneration.”  

Since leaving the Challenge, Andrea has been keeping busy with her role on the board of the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other work for MfE and the Department of Conservation’s Biodiversity Strategy.  

With a background in pest animal management and its impact on biodiversity in New Zealand, Andrea brings important expertise to the panel. “One of the things that really appealed to me about the panel and the reason that I applied for it is that they wanted people with more of a systems overview” says Andrea. 

“The work that I did in the Challenge as the co-director with Mel gave me a really good overview of the whole system and all the different people, organisations and disciplines that are involved.” Andrea’s work with Biological Heritage has provided her with lots of connections in different areas, which will be of great use in her role with the Science Advisory Panel. 

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