Portrait of Filipe Storch de Olivera
Three Cairns Scholars

Felipe Storch de Oliveira, Brazil

Goal: Build bridges between UN programs and Indigenous communities in the Amazon

How do you turn high-level climate commitments into on-the-ground action?

This is a question that Felipe Storch de Oliveira has grappled with for some years. A native of the state of Acre, Brazil, he has spent much of his career working to connect international financing from the United Nations to small NGOs within the Amazon rainforest. While he understands the value of this work, he also has seen how it can go wrong — how partnerships fray and how municipalities most in need of aid often struggle the most to secure it.

Now, as a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) student at the Yale School of the Environment, Storch de Oliveira is intent on studying how to build bridges more effectively between UN programs and local and Indigenous communities in the Amazon.

“Yale will strengthen my natural science knowledge and policymaking skills, both so important to creating environmentally and culturally adequate interventions,” he says. “I love the opportunities to expand classroom knowledge into more profound conversations and to engage with a fervent community of environmental managers and scientists.”

Storch de Oliveira is particularly interested in the promise of the REDD+ program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and non-timber forest products, which he believes can transform high-level climate commitments into forest management programs across the country.

In his classes, he has been exploring other international tools, like the Green Climate Fund. “These mechanisms can be used beyond the REDD+ markets as ways to strengthen local capacities,” he says. “In this way, I am learning a variety of instruments needed for enabling climate-resilient development.”

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