Guest Blog from Suzanne Carter, Climate Change Officer
Many UK staff take a secondment into another government department over the course of their careers as civil servants but is there a way to replicate this exposure (on a smaller scale) for Locally Engaged Staff? My line manger thought it was at least worth a try!
As the Consulate-General’s climate change officer, we had been asked to develop a new policy area on resource security – seeing how key resources like food, water and energy might be limited in a climate change scenario and the inter-linkages between the various resources.
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) were also starting a project on the very same topic so the secondment had the purpose of exposing me to their thinking, building closer links with one of the leading environmental organisations and giving me the space to think about these issues from a new angle. I also got invited to their AGM where former President Thabo Mbeki gave a fascinating account of some of the challenges in Africa regarding the environment and macro politics.
South Africa is already a water stressed country so the resource security debate is very much centred on this issue. In 2013 our team will be looking to encourage thinking about how this might be further constrained under future climate change and how it links to decision making in other resource sectors such as energy choices where water use for different technologies could play a vital role.
In terms of the secondment the plan is to complete a mini task for them on climate risks and vulnerabilities of the water food and energy nexus.
I have so far worked three Fridays at the local WWF office in Cape Town and have really enjoyed the experience and access to a different way of thinking.
All in all – if you are thinking of a new challenge for yourself for 2013 – consider the benefits of a secondment and the refreshed thinking it can give!