We are delighted to welcome the YPARD Belgium Country Representative Michael Ruggeri.
Michael holds a masters degree in Rural and Agricultural Development from the University of East Anglia, preceded by another masters degree in Environment and International Development from La Sapienza University.
Among other things, Michael has recently collaborated with FAO on the preparation of the State of the Worlds Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture report, launched in February 2019. Before that, Michael had the chance to conduct a small piece of research in South Africa, in collaboration with the African and Climate Development Initiative, on the impact of climate change on food, energy and water resources in selected communities in the Cape province.
As part of his dissertation research project, Michael also had the chance to study the impact of sustainable intensification on deforestation rates in an agriculture-forest frontier landscape in Zimbabwe under different scenarios. This required the use of modeling software, such as InVEST, which sparked his interest in scenario-building for evidence-based rural development planning and strategy definition.
Over his studies and his working experiences, Michael also matured and nurtured other interests in several agriculture-related subjects, such as climate-smart agriculture, conservation agriculture, biodiversity conservation (ex-situ and in-situ), participatory rural development and much more.
While working and studying, Michael also was a volunteer for various environment-related organizations with an aim to actively contribute to the sustainable management of natural resources and their conservation. Among others, as part of the WWF Italys team, Michael helped collect data regarding some national parks management effectiveness, also with the objective to identify prospective conservation priorities. More recently, Michael started collaborating with some of IUCNs working groups, which gave him the chance to actively contribute to knowledge outputs, including white and position papers on various conservation-related matters.
Michael considers his role as Belgiums country representative as a great chance to have young people passionate about agriculture and related sectors experience and (re)discover the way they can actively contribute to the development of sustainable agricultural systems through a cross-disciplinary lens. Indeed, supported by an active YPARD community, this role can be the right starting point to support young people unveil the multi-faceted nature of agriculture, ranging from understanding the policy-planning process to climate-smart farming, urban farming and much more.
At the account of joining YPARD as a country representative, this is what Michael had to say:
"Belgium is literally a fertile ground to have the youth get closer to agriculture, thanks to an in-depth understanding of the concept of sustainability across various segments of society. An active and thriving community in the fields of, among others, sustainable development and green living will surely help YPARD build a strong network of solid partners in the hearth of Europe".
Welcome on board Michael Ruggeri!