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Emily Le Cornus AECOM career took her to Kenya in Africa

Emily Le Cornu's AECOM career took her to Kenya in Africa

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Climate specialists working at AECOM can have a real-world impact in helping to reverse the biodiversity crisis.

Meet AECOM Associate, Climate Change, Sustainability & Resilience, Emily Le Cornu

Emily reflects on her conservation success and explains how she devised a market-based mechanism to help local communities protect Kenya’s cloud forests.

Part of an international sustainability project 

When Emily's climate change work for AECOM took her to Kenya, she became the climate change technical lead on an international, multi-disciplinary project, known as GNIplus. The multi-million-euro project was designed to support the Government of Kenya in delivering on some of its international climate targets and commitments under the Paris Agreement and was funded by the German Government and delivered by a consortium of three other organisations. Emily was responsible for the delivery and coordination of AECOM’s three workstreams.

"We focused on forestry and water, developing climate action status reports for both sectors. These sector readiness reports were central in developing an understanding of barriers to implementation along with identifying opportunities for future investment. We then developed sector roadmaps that mapped out additional climate action solutions, as well as devising pilot projects for on-the-ground implementation," explains Emily.

"For instance, we designed a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme to protect the cloud forests of the Chyulu Hills, one of the country’s critically important water towers that replenish an important water source for the city of Mombasa."

Building online resources 

Emily explains how a PES scheme is a market-based mechanism to encourage the conservation of the world’s natural capital and ecosystem services. Through working on the project, Emily knows first-hand the potential that a PES scheme can have to influence new behaviours and effect change: the scheme will help the local Maasai communities protect this national asset by providing an additional source of income alongside the sale of carbon credits, and incentivising new land management practices.

"One unexpected output from our Chyulu Hills work was our PES toolkit. Inspired by AECOM’s Natural Capital Laboratory, we built the online resource using AECOM’s PlanEngage interactive engagement platform. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing others use the toolkit to set up PES schemes in other parts of the world," adds Emily.

Leading an innovative project 

AECOM Kenya project

Implementation often demands innovation. As part of a pilot project in the water sector, Emily and her team developed a telemetric monitoring scheme that will allow the Kenyan government to assess water quality and enforce restrictions on polluters. This work will improve access to data and enable a live review of water quality.

"When I consider the word ‘implementation’ in relation to this project, I think of the complexities and challenges around engaging with all the different stakeholders, from senior members of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation to the private sector and civil society. I think we succeeded because we were flexible, adapted the way we worked to suit, and built some excellent working relationships," continues Emily.

"For me, my years in Kenya on the project were amazing and being able to visit the cloud forests – and other areas – as part of my job was incredible. I also know that we must change our economic, social and financial models so the trends that have exacerbated biodiversity loss will stabilize. I sincerely hope that my technical work on GNIplus has gone some way to doing that for the Kenyan people."

Inspired by Emily's career story?

AECOM people bring expertise, skills and unique perspective to help solve their clients’ biggest challenges.

Joining AECOM means becoming part of a global team of nearly 50,000 experienced planners, designers, engineers, scientists, program and construction managers and other professionals working on projects spanning transportation, buildings, water, new energy and the environment.

Like Emily, forge a career with a sustainable impact at AECOM.


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