El Mecanismo para la Restauración de Bosques y Paisajes

Enhancing the capacities of young forest and landscape practitioners in Africa and Asia

Year published: 15/12/2023

In 2023, the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized two online training programmes in collaboration with the Yale School of the Environment’s Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI). Strengthening the capacities of young practitioners is an important part of achieving the FLRM’s vision and is in line with the overarching Capacity, Knowledge and Learning Action Plan of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.  

In collaboration with FAO’s Regional Offices for Africa and Asia, a total of 57 young practitioners took the opportunity to complete a seven-week learning journey across two cohorts and interact with global and local experts on a variety of topics linked to forest and landscape restoration (FLR). Through online and interactive modalities, students undertook peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing.   

Ahmed Abi Abdi Warsame from Somalia was one of these students. His strong commitment to environmental sustainability and a desire to contribute meaningfully to addressing the global challenge of restoring degraded and deforested lands encouraged him to apply to the course. The well-structured curriculum and the course’s interactive nature (live discussions, case studies and collaborative assignments) fostered a dynamic learning experience.  

Ahmed said: 

The knowledge and skills acquired during the course have significantly contributed to my professional growth and effectiveness in the field of FLR. The course equipped me with the ability to critically evaluate and compare various FLR methodologies, considering both biophysical and socioeconomic factors, and provided access to a network of practitioners fostering ongoing learning and collaboration. 

Thanks to his participation in the course, Ahmed managed to secure a scholarship under the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network for a master’s degree in Sustainable Development at the University College Dublin in Ireland. 

Yukie Yokoyama based in Singapore learned about the course from a friend working in conservation, and successfully applied to refresh her knowledge, explore recent case studies and get an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals in Asia. A course with a regional focus was key for this as it allowed her to discuss ways of addressing shared challenges more effectively, learning from other participants’ experiences. 

Yukie said: 

The course’s emphasis on the latest guides, frameworks and tools has been immensely beneficial for my current work, particularly in my mangrove project. It is easy to overlook these resources in the daily grind, and this course has been a valuable reminder. The connections made, especially with the participants, have extended beyond the course, and I am sure we will cross paths again in the future! 

Benjamin DeRidder, FAO