We recently chatted with Climate Fellow and USFS Central Africa Program (CARPE) colleague Dr. René Siwe Ngamabou. We learned about his proudest accomplishments from three years as an embedded Department of State Climate Fellow in the Republic of Congo's Ministry of Forest Economy. We also learned about his enthusiasm for a new regional-wide women's mentorship program that aims to get more women involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change reporting process.
How would you describe your job as a climate fellow?
Answer: I support sustainable management of landscapes and climate change efforts. In the Republic of Congo, I provided technical support for setting up the National Forest Monitoring System, preparing the National Greenhouse Gas inventory, and designing emission reduction programs.
What did you like best about your position?
Answer: I liked working really closely with the national institution. It gave me a chance to understand country requirements and the challenges they face. It also gave me the opportunity to find tailored solutions to specific issues.
What was most challenging about your job?
Answer: Politically, countries understand the importance of contributing to global efforts to stabilize GHG emissions and reduce the impacts of climate change and are committed. The problem is political commitment vs. capabilities and motivation on the ground. Even those that are trained may lack the framework to operationalize what they know.
What do you think was your greatest achievement?
Answer: We strengthened the National Forest Monitoring System, and we created a Measuring, Reporting, and Verification Unit that can address issues associated with the System. We assigned roles and responsibilities so staff within the ministry can carry out their work effectively. Furthermore, Ministry staff now have training and resources to enable them to effectively monitor forest cover and land use and to estimate greenhouse gases. We have also created products to inform policy decision-makers on sustainable management of landscapes.
What was your favorite part about the job?
Answer: I enjoy trying to impact change, and I find being a mentor very rewarding, in my job and beyond. It gives me a chance to transfer my experience and knowledge to others.