A French APO at FAO Headquarters from 1997 to 1999, Alexandre Borde now runs his own environmental company specializing in “carbon brokerage.”
"Before joining FAO, I worked for almost two years as an environmental economist at the World Bank. A person I was working with on a project from FAO suggested I apply. I contacted the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and after five months, was selected.
During my assignment I provided technical expertise in environmental economics to projects in Morocco, Madagascar and Chile. On one mission I had to organize a conference for more than 100 participants in Budapest which was very challenging.
Throughout my assignment I was also able to get involved in programme and policy development which enabled me to learn more about international negotiations. One negotiation I took part in was on environmental information, observation and monitoring including the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) which monitors the relationship between climate and terrestrial carbon. By taking part in discussions with experts in climatology and meteorology I understood, back in 1998 and 1999, that climate change would become a major environmental issue.
My supervisor gave me progressively more and more responsibilities. We would have regular meetings together which were very helpful and he was always available to explain and guide me when I needed advice.
After I finished my APO assignment I worked for the French Ministry of the Environment before setting up Carbonium, a carbon brokerage company, in 2004. We develop CDM and JI projects under the Kyoto Protocol, and specialize in renewable energy projects - mainly small scale hydro, wind, biomass and biogas. We are based in Paris but have agents in Burkina Faso in Africa, Viet Nam in Asia, and soon in Latin America. Recently, we have also been involved in reforestation and afforestation projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As an APO, working with colleagues from so many different cultures and backgrounds requires you to be curious and open and teaches you diplomacy. I travel a lot, and thanks to my APO experience, I am comfortable dealing with people from all cultural backgrounds. The international working environment at FAO was very enriching and exciting. I keep in touch with other ex APOs from all over the world. The last time I went to Japan, I met a former APO who is now working at the Ministry of Agriculture in Tokyo - he showed me the best spots in the city!"