grantees » Karin Kaechele, 1978

Karin  Kaechele, Brazil

Karin is a passionate Brazilian driven to understand how the rising economy’s demand for food and energy is impacting land use worldwide. In the past, Karin worked to address these issues in collaboration with the organization Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV), which is a leading environmental civil society organization in the southern Brazilian Amazon that works for conservation and governance of forests in Mato Grosso State. During her first five years at ICV, Karin consistently exceeded the expectations of her colleagues. Her dedication and work produced significant and impressive results, both locally with the restoration of degraded forests through the improvement of environmental management, and at the national and international scale with the approval of the Principles and Criteria for Responsible Soy production. There she played a key role in leading the civil society organizations’ group in the negotiations, among other relevant accomplishments.

Karin used her JWH Initiative grant as an investment in her academic and professional career, as she completed an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York. The MPA program trains students to think systematically and act pragmatically, and gave Karin the skills she needs to build bridges between environmental science and policy. The degree program provided her the opportunity to strengthen her experience with global environmental issues, and to build her skills in agricultural-environmental policy concerning how to feed the world’s population without deforesting additional land. She wisely states that “today there is a need for a better understanding of the drivers of global change, the economic and institutional forces that shape our world, and how and where public policy should be directed”. Having completed her degree, Karin will continue working in the U.S. for the Carbon Finance Unit at the World Bank as a short-term consultant, focusing on aiding the government of Ethiopia in establishing a National Climate Fund.

On applying her grant activities to her future work, Karin says, “I will continue with my mission to protect the tropical forest and to promote development in a sustainable way, but from a more strategic perspective”.