Nora Berrahmouni, senior forestry officer for Africa at FAO
Monday, June 1, 2020
Posted by: Laura Capponi
Nora Berrahouni is the Senior forestry officer for Africa, at the FAO Regional Office for Africa. She is also helping to start a SER Chapter in Africa. Nora became a lifetime member of the Society in 2019. We reached out to her to learn more about some of her current projects, and her experience in the field of ecological restoration.
What’s your current job?
I am currently working as the Senior forestry officer for Africa, at the FAO Regional Office for Africa, based in Accra, Ghana, leading forestry, climate change, biodiversity, and restoration programmes in the region. I am also the Secretary of the FAO African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC), a regional statutory body of FAO.
What projects are you working on right now?
I am an active member of FAO’s programme team working on Africa’s Great Green Wall Initiative including through building and implanting collaborative projects with technical and financial partners (such as the Green Climate Fund) aiming at strengthening sustainable forest products value chains and restoring landscapes for resilient livelihoods and benefits of women and youth.
I am also leading a technical cooperation programme in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency and member countries to support implementation, monitoring and resource mobilization for the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100). I am a member of the Management Team of AFR100. Among one of the expected outcomes of this work is the preparation of a state of restoration in Africa to be developed with countries and AFR100 partners.
For SER, I’m collaborating with members in Africa to establish a chapter in our region.
As Vice-Chair of FAO’s Women Committee I’m supporting the agenda of gender equality and women empowerment within the organization. I’m also contributing to the activities of the Network for African Women Environmentalists.
What do you find most rewarding about working for your organization?
The beautiful mandate of FAO and my current focus on Africa is close to my heart. I enjoy the opportunity to work with so many stakeholders and across sectors : communities, scientists, forestry, wildlife, agriculture, environment. I also appreciate having the opportunity to work on concrete field projects with concrete results and at the same time developing capacities and policies for scaling up and advocating for increased investments.
How long have you been a member of SER? What’s your best experience thus far?
I’ve officially a member over a year now, but I have been always following SER work. I’ve appreciated the wonderful support and exchange I had with SER members and colleagues – they are always open to exchange, and are always supportive and responsive.
My best experience was the SER global Conference that I attended in September 2019 in South Africa!
What was your childhood dream job?
As a child I enjoyed studying and working on nature and plants…that’s why I have followed my dream to be an ecologist, and that’s why I am passionate about restoration and nature!
What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?
I loved it all. Each moment gave me a joy and has been a rewarding learning experience.
I cherish my work with people all over the world, in particular on dryland restoration and biodiversity during the years spent at the WWF Mediterranean Programme and within FAO contributing to building up (step by step) Africa’s Great Green Wall.
Why would you encourage others, particularly young people, to get involved in this field?
I would encourage everyone (women and men) to get involved in restoration because nature is the answer to many of the challenges we are facing today. Nature is life! By building back nature, and restoring our ecosystems, we will restore our health and our world for the present and future generations. CoVID-19 is a wake-up call, climate change and the increasing desertification is another one! The more we have the youth turning to green studies and green/nature-based jobs, better we will be.
It is the decade to act. There is no choice; we need all to contribute to this golden opportunity: The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) if we want to survive and to achieve all UN Agenda 2030.
Guilty pleasure: What can you not live without?
Definitely Coffee! My family, friends and colleagues know that well!