Carlos Montenegro Pinto

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, Class of 2021-22

  • Home country: Ecuador
  • College and degree: Master in Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands; Bachelors in Business Administration in Sustainable Tourism, Universidad Catolica del Ecuador 
  • Current career: Americas Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Americas Field Division at Conservation International
  • Specialization: Environmental policy and climate change 
  • Emailcem338 [at] (cem338[at]cornell[dot]edu)

What is the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far? 

While working at the UNDP I was acting as the regional coordinator for the project Life on Land (SDG 15) which was a collaboration with the Nature for Development Program (based in New York) and NASA. This project aimed to provide assistance to the governments of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru for the creation and use of geo spatial information in the Amazon Biome. My main contribution for these actions was to promote the use of science for the decision making process and to design and implement a stakeholder engagement plan at the international and local level among community-based organizations, private sector and local governments.

What are the big challenges you want to tackle in your country?

According to Ecuador's first Biennial Update Report, current land use, land-use change, and forestry practices are contributing to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In Ecuador, poor farming practices, overgrazing, inappropriate irrigation and urban sprawl are the main drivers for these unsustainable practices. Even though the country has been making significant strides, the lack of education and access to innovative technology are still the main barriers to overcome these issues in the long-term. 

How do you think your Humphrey Fellowship and your time at Cornell will help boost your career?

I hope to build a program focused on decision making and education related to climate change adaptation through sustainable agriculture, environmental issues, forest management and international environmental policy. Additionally, I intend to improve my networking abilities, communication skills, and international partnerships through an internship in an organization working on global climate change issues that aims to support decision-makers design policy based on scientific research. These skills would allow me to return to my region and create a collaborative policy design process aimed at engaging diverse stakeholders to influence and create policy related to climate change issues. 

What does public service mean to you?

For me, public service is the commitment to achieve sustainable development and promote the respect of basic human rights, such as gender equality. I have committed myself to the field of environmental conservation because it allows me to engage and work directly with local communities so that they are part of this transformational process.

Tell us a fun fact about you. 

Cooking, hiking, biking and dancing are the activities that I enjoy the most when I am not working. 

What would be your personal motto? 

I have several: Go with the flow. Just be yourself. My home is my head.  

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