An opportunity worth taking

In his final blog as a Leadership Development Fellow, Amit Kumar reflects on his time in the programme. 

It is rare to find a opportunity in the Pacific Region’s civil society sector which aims to build capacity and leadership skills of young professionals who are inspired to work on climate change and sustainable development. But CAN’s Leadership Development Programme did this for me.

I was fortunate to come across this opportunity through my colleague and have been able to experience working at the regional level and witnessing sophisticated policy making processes at the international level by attending COP21.

The LDP Fellowship with CAN International has allowed me to work with Pacific Islands’ Climate Action Network (PICAN) whilst gaining valuable experience in areas such as organisational (network) strengthening, policy making, advocacy, campaigning, developing website content, and using social media to deliver key messages efficiently and effectively.

Policy making, advocacy and campaigning were areas that I really needed to develop upon prior to engaging in this programme. The LDP fellowship offered this opportunity as part of their capacity building agenda. Being actively involved in these areas of the programme has increased my confidence  to use my skills and abilities independently.

One of the best parts of this programme was attending the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris. Active involvement with the CAN-Secretariat during COP 21 allowed me to access high-level plenary sessions and enabled me to directly report for the entire CAN community. In the end, I accomplished my desired objectives, although being part of the CAN-Secretariat demands  a lot of passion for the cause.

During COP21, I was able to gain good insight into the strength of civil society to influence governments to accommodate our feedback on thel agreement. I closely followed the negotiations processes and saw that the enormous amount of work in the run up to COP21, done by academics, delegations and professionals across all sectors and disciplines had to be negotiated within a very short two week period – an immense workload and psychological burden. Eventually, the Paris agreement - a 30 page long document - was agreed upon.   

The entire programme has provided an instrumental experience that aligns very well with my future professional goals and my master studies. PICAN’s flexible working hours and virtual office    arrangement allowed me to study and work simultaneously.

It was my first experience working in a virtual office and it felt like I was working in a face-to-face environment. The Climate Action Network community operates in a close knit virtual environment setting and continues to effectively engage its members across the globe. I am very confident that the knowledge and skills I gained from this programme will support me in the next level of challenges.