Name: Carlos Fuentevilla
Position: Junior Professional Officer – Fisheries Policy Analyst
Duty: Rome, Italy
What prompted you to apply for a position at FAO?
As a professional with a training in marine resource management, I sought a position at FAO because its Fisheries and Aquaculture Department is the foremost and one of the most important global institutions dealing with living aquatic resources. I also have a tremendous interest in food security and poverty eradication, the main goals of the Organization.
What does a normal day at work look like for you?
A normal day of work at FAO HQs involves the management of a wide variety of tasks across a different number of topics. A very typical day commences with a quick review of any potential global development in fisheries/aquaculture and continues with an e-mail check to respond to all urgent queries. Most days include a meeting on a topic that I’m working on, either small-scale fisheries, regional fisheries bodies, international policies, child labour, tenure in fisheries, among others. These meetings can be within the division, but quite commonly involve inter departmental cooperation. Sometimes, the day will include a seminar by a renowned international expert, who regularly comes to FAO, given the organization’s key standing in global fisheries and aquaculture. The day will continue with a wider range of activities related to the topics I am currently working on. These can involve report writing or reviewing, preparing and developing project proposals, liaising with member states or resource partners, taking care of the logistical and technical preparation of conferences, workshops and consultations, etc.
What advice would you give to someone wishing to join FAO?
I would encourage them to apply but would also invite them to realize that this job requires a strong commitment towards slow processes. As an international normative agency, we rarely see immediate on-the-ground impacts, since our goal is to progressively and (with the consensus of Member States) develop world where sustainable food production and higher standards of living are available to all. One must be able to look at the long term impacts of everyday work and be able to remain at task, even with the lack of immediate results. I would also advise them that their work and future is in their hands. I would also definitely advise them that if they want to get things done, they must do them themselves (in collaboration with their colleagues).
To which extent are your personal as well as your professional experience being enriched by the work of the Organization?
The personal experiences are outstanding given the massive diversity of colleagues with whom we work every day. The day I started working in FAO was also the first time I met someone from Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Maldives. And that was only in one day! The personal growth vis-à-vis open mindedness and ideology as well as cultural sensitivity is made easier by this working environment. Professionally, for someone working in fisheries, FAO and FAO-related activities are the pinnacle of the activity. I have learned more in two years at FAO than in all previous jobs and schools combined. I now have a strong perspective of the global issues related to fisheries and aquaculture and how to approach them in any number of ways, across countries and under particular circumstances. FAO has no doubt been an effective vehicle to gain the experience necessary to further contribute to my professional future.