The second quarter of this program focused on outreach, in order to set up visits for the Fellows. We have also drafted a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the ECPA Fellows Innovation Projects, a program that has, so far, seen one visit by Janaki Alavalapati, ECPA Fellow to Belize. During the last part of this quarter, the program began to slowly receive additional requests for Fellows. Similarly, we have also seen some of the Fellows proposing visits that are of their interest to re-establish connections, or are a follow-up of their previous activities.
This outreach phase has also focused on contacting embassies of selected countries in DC, officers in the field (including officials from the local governments), U.S. Embassy officers, and the Fellows themselves. In addition, Partners has met with institutions involved with climate and energy projects in the region: Inter-American development Bank (IDB), World Bank, Americas Quarterly Magazine, the Organization of the American States and the Inter-American Foundation. We also made efforts to collaborate with the Fulbright NEXUS program. Furthermore, Partners has attended several conferences in DC to gather information about the regional needs and priorities regarding clean energy, sustainable cities, adaptation and sustainable forestry.
Part of the outreach included ensuring visibility of the program. To that end, Partners released a February 2014 Newsletter with information about the new ECPA Fellows Grant. The Program also wrote and published five blog posts, linking the political needs shown by Latin American and U.S. leaders with the ECPA Fellows Program activities. Some topics included were: Climate Change Discussed at the State of the Union 2014, ECPA Fellow Dr. Garimella Co-leads Partnerships between Purdue University and Colombian Institutions, the Overlap Between ECPA Fellows’ Work and Multilateral Institutions in the Western Hemisphere, the Future of Solar Energy and ECPA Fellows, and the New Report from the IPCC.
Another segment of this phase included the agreement by the State Department to amend the grant to include additional visits. The amendment (underlined) reads as follows: “The grantee will implement the project in the following regions: Central America, including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama; and the Andes, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. In addition to these regions, an ECPA Fellow may travel to any country which he or she previously visited as an ECPA Fellow to provide follow-on technical assistance”.
In regards to upcoming requests for Fellows, we have seen some related to urban planning and resilient cities. The U.S. Embassies in Colombia and Peru are processing a request forMariapaz Gutierrez on this topic. In light of two recent natural disasters (an earthquake in northern Chile and a wildfire in the port city of Valparaíso), the U.S. Embassy in Chile has mentioned interest in having Jeff Soule visit. Ecuador is processing a request that they are still defining for the Fellows to work with. We have been in touch with the U.S. Embassy in Panama, which will likely put out a request soon. Furthermore, we had a conversation with the Central American Hub located in Costa Rica, and they seem to be interested in a Fellow visit with a focus on climate finance and/or energy. Finally, Fellow Jeff Soule will be visiting Barbados to participate in the Caribbean Conference of National Trusts, which will focus on the conservation of Caribbean cities. This will promote the work he did serving as an ECPA Fellow last year in Barbados and in Central America.
This blog post was originally published in English by Partners Team, here.