October 1, 2021. Expanding and fostering forest research capacity in economically disadvantaged countries is the mission of the Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC) of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), which held its first global virtual event called IUFRO World Day on September 28-29, where CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) played an important role as one of the main partners of the organization in Latin America.
Marianela Argüello L., Communication and Knowledge Management Officer of the Environment for Development Unit (EfD-Central America) of CATIE and coordinator of the Latin America and Caribbean Forest and Environmental Communicators Network (Recofalc), was in charge of leading the IUFRO-SPDC session for Latin America entitled “Capacities for forest science: Shape your professional future”, which brought together more than 40 university students and forestry professionals from countries in the Latin American region.
“The participants were able to learn about the different options that exist for young professionals in our countries, such as the Scientist Assistance Programme (SAP), the Young Scientists Initiative (YSI), the training programs carried out in partnership with CATIE, as well as to hear a testimony from a participant in these programs, were part of the objectives of the session," said Argüello.
Janice Burns, Deputy Coordinator of the IUFRO-SPDC mentioned “CATIE played a key role in developing and implementing this activity to ensure that Latin Americans are able take full advantage of current opportunities offered by IUFRO-SPDC and have a voice in shaping future capacity development to match the needs and priorities of forest scientists in the region”
The synchronous session lasted 90 minutes and had as speakers Roger Villalobos, researcher at CATIE's Climate Action Unit and Maria Laura Quevedo, former participant of the IUFRO-SPDC programs in 2014 and 2019.
Villalobos highlighted the different efforts made between IUFRO and CATIE to contribute to capacity building of university students and young professionals in the field of forest landscape restoration, while Quevedo shared her experience and how having participated in a pre-congress course in the framework of the XXV IUFRO World Congress, held in 2019 in Brazil, allowed her to develop a project on forest landscape restoration with rural women, which has led to involve university students and have an impact on rural communities in Paraguay.
A participatory session
Through this session, interactive activities were carried out in work teams, which allowed the participants to present their current needs in the areas of competencies and theoretical knowledge. Among the competencies that were highlighted were the use of technological tools; strategic alliances with different actors such as decision-makers; forestry communication; scientific writing; and the use of a second language, among others.
Among the participants were young professionals from Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Paraguay, among others.
IUFRO is a worldwide non-profit organization, which holds world congresses every 4-5 years and provides a global network for all individuals and organizations involved in forestry research and related disciplines. If you are interested in participating in the activities of the special programmes, projects and initiatives, please visit their official website: www.iufro.org.
Marianela Argüello L.
Communication and Knowledge Management Officer
Environment for Development Unit (EfD-CA)
Dannia Gamboa Solís
Information Technology and Communication