I am a 25 year-old French citizen with origins from a Caribbean Island called Martinique. I became passionate about climate change issues after a class I had on the linkages between natural resources and climate change five years ago during my exchange programme in Norway. Since then, I have made all my academic and professional choices with one goal in mind: to better understand the interactions between humans and their environment and more specifically how to support development while preserving our planet’s fragile equilibrium.
My first time main work that dealt with the concept of landscape management was my Master thesis which focused on vulnerability issues in coastal adaptation to climate change in a territory in the north of France. It was interesting to think about the coast as a component of a landscape, to understand how it is impacted by climate change and how this impact is affects society, economy and the environment in several ways.
Also, with a political science background and professional experiences in different countries (Thailand, UK, Myanmar, Ethiopia); I worked a lot on the vast topic of adaptation to climate change. For close to 2 years now, I have worked in Ethiopia with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) as a consultant-researcher based at the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) part of UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) in Addis Ababa.
Recent relevant work related to landscapes management
I have been involved in research projects focused on the adaptation of smallholder farming systems to climate change challenges and the importance of climate information services in building appropriate development policies. Some of these research works were my entry point into landscapes management with special focus on agricultural practices. The research purpose was to understand how some specific measures can help farmers to be more resilient to climate shocks and how to measure this adaptation through relevant indicators such as climate risk management, wellbeing or resilience indicators.
In my recent work, I worked on an Irish Aid project designed to disseminate agricultural technologies (such as improved seeds) to support smallholder farmers in the Tigray Region (of Ethiopia) to enhance their resilience in facing climate challenges. Employing focus group discussions and individual interviews enabled me to understand the role of these technologies in their adaptation to rainfall shortage and temperature increase observed during the past years (according to climate data collected). It showed how landscapes are crucial for viable agricultural practices that ensure food security and sustain livelihoods under increasing variable climate conditions.
My interest and what I expect from this experience
I am interested in sustainable landscape management, as it is a central issue to building a liveable future. For the YIL 2015, I chose the Education Landscape Challenge because I consider education as a key process to initiate sustainable changes and progress in landscape management. I welcome the opportunity provided by this challenge to think about what issues a landscape academy should seek to address. The thinking around the design of such academy will help to identify all the stakeholders that should be involved, the key subjects that should be taught and the role of youth in all this.
I expect this brainstorming exercise to be really exciting. In addition, I think informing and enlightening people about different innovative approaches to climate adaptation around the world is essential. Because, to achieve sustainable landscapes management, people need to share best practices, successful coping mechanisms and to draw on experiences from various parts of the world to cope with and counter the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and environments.
Diane Guerrier is one of the 10 young champions who will work on the “Education” Landscape challenge with Youth program’s partner: Landscapes for People, Food and Nature , Wageningen UR , EcoAgriculture Partners , World AgroForestry Center .