Barron Orr, a professor in SNRE's Office of Arid Lands Studies, is one of 20 scientists selected from around the world to form a group called the Science-Policy Interface, which falls under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The UNCCD is one of three UN conventions designed to unify countries around policies to protect the environment and support sustainable practices.
Orr has extensive experience in bringing science to bear on environmental challenges with often complex social and cultural dynamics in a way that involves concerned stakeholders. He has served as a contributing scientist to the 194 signatory nations within the UNCCD since August 2010 and is the only U.S. researcher selected for the Science-Policy Interface, which is known as the SPI.
"I think my primary strength is a significant amount of experience in participatory research processes, in knowledge transfer and in what we might call translational science," Orr said. "All of that is due to my experience here at the University of Arizona in Cooperative Extension, because that's where we have essentially come up with these kinds of tools – ways of reducing that boundary between science and society through engagement, and ensuring representation of local needs in the scientific process."