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Nina Kantcheva

Senior Policy Adviser, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) Engagemen – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

As a Senior Policy Adviser on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Engagement, Nina works to determine how UN Biodiversity Lab can be useful to IPLCs and how to support them to produce their own data through enhanced capacity, tools, and technology, respecting principles of data sovereignty. This may include assessing needs related to data and capacity, and organizing and providing training related to drones, GPS, and other technology. In terms of the project, Mapping Nature for People and Planet, Nina’s work is related to ensuring that IPLCs are part of the ELSA process, and that their lands and territories are considered in developing policies related to nature, climate, and sustainable development.

Previous experience and expertise

Nina Kantcheva is the Senior Policy Adviser on IPLC Engagement for UNDP’s Global Programme on Nature for Development Programme, also overseeing the engagement of IPLCs in the New York Declaration on Forests. With many years of experience at UNDP, working first with the Equator Initiative and then the UN-REDD Programme, Nina seeks to ensure that the priorities, needs and solutions of UNDP’s IPLC constituents, such as Equator Prize winners, are recognized and scaled, helping inform policy. Nina is also the co-founder of Tushevs Aerials, an initiative to democratize drone technology that includes design, building, data processing, and capacity building for Indigenous peoples, local communities, organizations and individuals to use drones for environmental and humanitarian goals. Nina has also been a Strategic Adviser for Tribal Link Foundation, a non-profit organization helping develop the capacity of Indigenous peoples to advocate at the United Nations.

Given her extensive experience at the UN and non-profit organizations, Nina aims to use her privileged access to be an ally to and open up political space for essential but marginalized voices, like those of indigenous peoples and local communities, and grassroots women. Understanding that we cannot solve the planetary emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss without their knowledge, experience, and decision-making, Nina works to establish and support initiatives and convenings that place the needs and priorities of indigenous peoples and local communities at the center. Born and raised in Bulgaria, Nina lives in New York City with her family.