Tropical Forestry alumni at international organizations: Carolle’s internship at the UNESCO office in Nepal

IMG_1405.JPGCarolle is an alumna of the Tropical Forestry Master Course at TU Dresden who is currently participating in the Carlo-Schmid-Program for internships in international organizations. In the following, she reports from her experiences and impressions at the UNESCO office in Kathmandu:

My internship with DAAD Carlo-Schmid-Program is to work at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) office in Kathmandu, Nepal. I arrived here at the beginning of January for a six months contract, and my role is to assist the development, planning, and implementation of activities and projects related to natural science policies, including chiefly the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the Natural World Heritage (WH) initiatives in the region. Specifically, I am supporting the Government of Nepal to select the best site for designating as a Biosphere Reserve, the first of Nepal.

I choose this position because it was a potpourri of everything that I am interested professionally – to work in between science and government, in a multi-stakeholder scenario, with capacity-building and cooperation and with development, land use, and protected areas.

To work inside the UN system is very challenging and sometimes confusing – many acronyms, departments, strategies, and guidelines – to understand how the bureaucracies work and my whole as a 6-month intern took me a while, but it is a good experience to have. Also, to be inside UNESCO and understand the mission and mandate of this organization – to build and strengthen peace, dialogue, diversity and science as a platform for development and cooperation – is very exciting and an honor to be part of.

Here I am very much focused on protected areas and landscape systems of conservation. A topic that, in fact, I would like to have had more in the Tropical Forestry master course. However, in overall the concept of ecosystem services, the applicability of threatened species, forest management systems, planning at forest and landscape scales as well as cooperation models are the ones in my day-to-day routine, but most importantly the application of scientific methods for data collection, analysis, and evaluation. The lectures about CITES and UN-system in the module of International Nature Conservation of the International Academy for Nature Conservation were very valuable as well.

I want to work with landscape-scale management, including but not limited to protected areas management. I see myself in the future working in the interface of local, national and international initiatives aiming forest conservation in the tropics. Coming to Tharandt for the master of Tropical Forestry was the first step to bridge my experience from a local/regional level to a more international scope. Being accepted by the International Academy for Nature Conservation to the module of International Nature Conservation was the second and the opportunity offered by the Carlo-Schmid-Programme to do an internship with UNESCO was definitely the most outstanding chance.

I believe that it is crucial to have young, driven, and well-trained professional (and more women!), to keep us all in the conservation game, worldwide. I want to play my role in this game, and the opportunity to work with UNESCO would serve me well in my prospective career.

Wherever you are, no matter the country, governments make decisions about landscape and as scientists, we must be able to advise and support from a technical and rational point of view, but more than the technical background, to convince politicians that science-based decision-making is the best choice is probably one the biggest and most fundamental challenge for the years to come.

Carolle was already very active during her studies in Tharandt. She was the speaker of her batch and participated in different international conferences, like the UN Climate Change Conference and the Global Landscape Forum both in Bonn:

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