Associate Professional Officers

Baku Takahashi

Baku walks to work on the Trang Tien Bridge which links Hue’s old and new towns over the Huong River.

“There is no hassle in commuting or going around in town - everything is within 10 to 15 minutes distance. If I go out of the Hue downtown, I can immediately see rural scenes like paddy fields, mountains, rivers, lagoons, and natural beaches.”

Baku strolls through Dong Ba market, the biggest “wet market” in Hue City.

“It is my personal mission while in Hue to understand local natural resources availability better.”

Baku checks out local produce at the Dong Ba market in Hue.

“My assignment has convinced me that the community-based or joint management of natural resources is the way to go in the context of many developing countries, especially with the decentralization trend of natural resource governance.”

Baku is also a training unit coordinator.

"I plan and implement capacity building workshops related to fisheries and livelihood promotion in Hue city as well as in the lagoon areas. There are only three international staff based here in the project office in Hue city and my work entails a wide range of activities.”

Baku goes to project sites to monitor aquaculture pilot models.

“Learning better techniques on aquaculture management including polyculture techniques has been very useful. I should be able to apply this knowledge as a livelihood option for local communities in any community development work I take on in the future.”

Baku checks the location of stake traps in the lagoon with a GPS and map of fishing gear.

“As part of the project we are mapping fishing gear and aquaculture ponds. This assignment has allowed me to refresh my skills and knowledge on GIS/GPS application to natural resources management.”

On his way home from work Baku drops into "reptile" liquor shop in Hue.

“I don't necessarily drink them but love to find out about different and new things.”

Because Hue is such a small town, Baku often goes home to prepare and eat lunch with his wife Aya.

“We don’t eat local food everyday but I do enjoy it. Hue has two different kinds of traditional food: Hue food (for ordinary people) and Royal food (traditionally for the Dynasty). Hue food is spicier and has stronger taste as compared to dishes from other regions.”

Baku’s wife Aya moved with him to Hue.

“Life was initially a little difficult with no TV at home, no English newspaper or bookstores. Now we have many good friends here, and Aya has also started helping poor children in one of the resettlement areas in Hue city (it's called Happy Hue Project) with local Vietnamese volunteers.”

Baku is an APO sponsored by the Japanese government. He has been assigned as a Natural Resources and Environment Officer to an FAO Trust Fund Project in Viet Nam until April 2009 based in Hue City, Viet Nam. His wife Aya lives in Hue with him.

“I joined the APO programme in order to move into field work. I had been working at the headquarters of a UN agency in Japan, covering many countries and subjects at the same time. However I'm a field oriented person and wanted to focus on one country so the APO programme represented an opportunity to move to a project office.

As a natural resources unit coordinator for a project entitled Integrated Management of Lagoon Activities, I plan and monitor the mapping of fishing gear in the lagoon and other natural resource related surveys. I am also a training unit coordinator so I work on capacity building workshops for local fishery livelihoods. The good thing about working in the field is that whenever I have a doubt, concern or question, I can go and check with my own eyes.

As my original background was community-based forest management, learning about fishery resource management has been something new for me. It has expanded my horizon/coverage as a natural resources manager and will give me more opportunity to work in different project or programme settings in the field.

I would advise anyone who is interested in natural resource management or rural development, to go to the field as an APO. Field experience at the early stages of one's career is valuable even if you are plan to go into policy making or lab work in the future. It helps you think from experience, rather than just thinking with your head."