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Clearing the path

Updated Tuesday 15th June 2010

From COP15: Washington Ochella provides an insight into his work on environmental awareness, policy analysis, research and governance.

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Copyright The Open University

Please note: This interview was recorded in a noisy environment, which may affect the clarity of the contributor's words.

Text

Interviewer: How did you get interested in climate change?

Washington Ochella: My interest in environmental issues basically stem from my professional training, which was initially in agriculture, and given the fact that agricultural productivity, production, especially in Africa, is largely natural resource based, and this brings the question of conserving the very basic natural resource upon which our countries’ production depends. And that now brought me to take into consideration environmental awareness, environmental research, environmental policy analysis and more so capacity building for environmental conservation.

Interviewer:
What are you working on now?

Washington Ochella:
At the moment I’m working on a number of issues and projects. Those which particularly relate to mainstreaming environment in African university training, university research and university outreach, together with innovation that affects agriculture and rural development. But more particularly with my international engagement I do capacity building and training for environmental scenarios and policy analysis on behalf of UNEP.

Interviewer:
What will you be working on 5 to 10 years from now?

Washington Ochella:
I know in the next five years I’ll still be very much active in environmental policy analysis and issues of governance. I’m seeing me much much more involved in emerging environmental research and outreach activities, particularly those that relate environmental science and policy together with governance.

Interviewer: Optimist or pessimist?

Washington Ochella: With regard to 2020, I would outrightly say I am optimistic. In the sense that we are going to have much more operational and working global networks that harness knowledge, that package research outcomes, that relate to environmental management and governance, whereby, although by 2050 we may not have achieved some of the targets under the environmental aspects of the Millennium development goals, but moving towards 2050 we shall be beginning to be seeing pathways that work towards effective governance, pathways that work towards effective harnessing of environmental knowledge for purposes of environmental conservation.

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