Elisa de Lijster lived for a whole year in Brussels, Belgium for her two internships: one at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the other at the European Commission (EC). This is her story.
For a whole year (2009-2010) I was based in Brussels in light of my two internships for the FNP programme: at the IUCN and the European Commission.
The International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) offered me an internship at the Forest Governance Programme at the Regional Office for Pan-Europe (ROfE). I was very excited to start the internship as I consider the IUCN a major player in the conservation field and I expected to learn and meet a lot of professional people from multiple disciplines in such a global organisation. My main task during the internship was at the heart of a social forestry project called: ‘Strengthening Voices through Better Choices’ .
I assisted the Senior Forest Governance Officer in his coordination tasks around SVBC at EU-level. One of my major task was for instance to write the final technical evaluation report on SVBC to the European Commission. For this, I had to communicate with all the project leaders from the six countries, whose evaluation and progress stories I had to integrate into an overall, coherent report. Another main task was to organise a big evaluation event of SVBC at the ‘Illegal Logging Meeting’ at Chatham House in London.
My second internship was at the DG Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission. I got the internship after an admission and selection round that took around 5 months. I was based at the unit of ‘Consistency of Rural Development. I was asked to draft a state-of-play report on rural development interventions in the current programming period (2007-2013) for all Rural Development Plans (RDPs) in EU-27 Member States. Apart from analyzing annual reports and monitoring data, I had to conduct 27 interviews with geographical desk officers of all the EU countries, who were based in DG Agriculture and Rural Development. I had to analyze major areas of interventions, address the difficulties encountered in implementation of the management & administration and indicate what has been done to solve or ease these difficulties. The output was a meaningful report to the unit of ‘Consistency of Rural Development’ and for myself a meaningful learning process professionally and content-wise.