Career Summary Viewer: Dr Martin Leckson Kaonga

Personal Information
Title: Dr TAA Member No: 3239
Forenames: Martin Leckson Year of Birth: 1962
Surname: Kaonga Email Address:
Honours/Award: Gates Cambridge Trust, Joint Japan/World Bank/Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, SIDA, ICRAF, JICA    

University Qualification & Completion Year

2005 University of Cambridge, UK PhD Agroforestry & Environment
2005 University of Cambridge, UK M. Phil. Environment & Development
1995 University of Science & Technology, Ghana M. Sc. Agroforestry
1988 University of Malawi B. Sc. Agriculture

Career Summary
Dr Martin Kaonga, the Executive Director of the Cambridge Centre for Environment in Cambridge (UK), is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission through development and implementation of organizational policies, strategies, programmes, and activities. His previous appointments include Director of Science and Conservation at A Rocha International - ARI (2010-2015), Director of Conservation Projects (2008-10) at ARI, Student Supervisor at MPW in Cambridge (2006-08), Lecturer (Agroforestry) at University of Zambia (1999), and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer (agriculture/agroforestry) at the Natural Resources Development College in Zambia (1988 - 1999).

Martin's expertise in agriculture, forestry, and environment has developed based on his education and training, extensive research, field-based practice, numerous consultancy assignments, board and advisory council memberships and professional memberships. Apart from his undergraduate degree in agriculture, Martin has an M. Sc. in agroforestry from University of Science and technology in Ghana and postgraduate qualifications (M. Phil and PhD) in environmental sciences (agriculture, agroforestry, an environment and development) from Cambridge University (UK). Martin has also attended specialized courses in artificial insemination and embryo transfer, agroforestry and social forestry for energy security, participatory approaches and methods, soil and water conservation, project management, environmental auditing and reporting, greenhouse accounting and verification, training and capacity development, soil carbon accounting, and climate change and REDD+.

Over the past 32 years, Martin has held several management positions in the United Kingdom and Zambia, which have involved policy formulation, strategic planning, leading teams, co-ordination of programmes, budgeting, supervision of staff, financial management, report writing and effective communication of the organizational vision, mission, programmes and activities. He has also worked as a Consultant in training and capacity development, project management, environment and natural resources management, validation and verification of terrestrial carbon projects, monitoring and evaluation of projects, writing and editing of course materials, and reviewing of research and grant proposals.

His international assignments have enabled him to design four global conservation and climate change projects covering 21 countries across five continents. As a Director of Science and Conservation, Martin supervised over 60 country-specific community-based projects in New Zealand, Canada, USA, Brazil, Peru, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, India, UK, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Bulgaria, and Lebanon. The projects focused on: biodiversity and ecosystem services in land-based, fresh water, and marine and coastal ecosystems. In his role as Conservation Projects Director, he managed the rapid assessment programme (RAP) on biodiversity conservation in Papua New Guinea and the Climate Stewards Programme (CSP) with projects in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Peru. He has a proven experience in programme/project management, feasibility studies, project monitoring and evaluation. Over the past five years, Martin has reviewed five Plan Vivo Technical Specifications for climate change and mitigation projects in Africa, evaluated 25 agrotechnology research project proposals for the Ministry of Science and Technology in Kazakhstan, and 45 biodiversity and sustainable development project proposals for Defra and DFiD (UK).

Over the past 15 years, Martin has conducted agriculture-, agroforestry- and forestry-based research in Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, India and France seeking to: understand plant and soil carbon storage and fluxes using field measurements, modeling and biographic studies; study plant biodiversity and ecosystem services in changing environments; and explore livelihoods of natural resource-dependent people in developing countries. Most of the findings from these studies have been published in different media including: several articles published in peer-reviewed journals; an edited book entitled "Agroforestry for biodiversity and ecosystem services: Science and Practice"; and technical reports, website-based articles, and features in newspapers, magazines and reviews.

One of Martin's key strengths is providing advisory services. As a Scientific Advisor on the Climate Stewards Board, he advised the Board on climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. In his role as a member of the Darwin Expert Committee, Martin contributed to the advice given to the UK Government on implementation of the CBD, CITES and CMS commitments. He has also sat on the A Rocha Portugal Advisory Council, University of Zambia Agroforestry Committee, and Plan Vivo Advisory Group. These roles have bolstered his advisory competence. Martin ensures that he keeps abreast with developments in his field through his professional memberships. He is a Chartered Scientist (CSci) with the Institution of Environmental Sciences, a Member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists (MIPSS) and British Society of Soil Scientists (BSS). Martin is also a member of Tropical Agricultural Association (TAA).

As a training and capacity development consultant, Martin has conducted training needs analyses, designed courses, prepared course content and training materials, delivered training, monitored and evaluated courses, and prepared training reports. Some the major assignments include: assessment of training needs of middle-level natural resources managers and users under the IUCN-funded Upper Zambezi Natural Resources Management project in Zambia, TEVETA lecturers in the Ministry of Science and Technology in Zambia, and small-scale farmers in Central province of Zambia. He has also designed over 20 customized courses in agriculture, agroforestry, natural resources management, and environment and sustainable development for IUCN, SNV and other institutions in Zambia. Another major assignment undertaken is the assessment of the potential for introduction and adoption of Technology-Mediated Open and Distance Agricultural Education and Improved livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa, with emphasis on Zambia. Apart from developing training materials for the Natural Resources Development College and Mwekera Forestry College in Zambia, Martin has edited training materials on cassava production for ITTA and the food security manuals for the Commonwealth of Learning.

Martin is still actively involved in academic activities. He is co-supervising a PhD student at a University in Spain, who is researching on policy frameworks and sustainable forest management in Cote-D'Ivoire. He is also a research collaborator with the "Agroforestry for livelihoods in humid tropics" project in the Department of Geography at Cambridge University.

With this extensive professional experience in agriculture, agroforestry, forestry and environment, Martin continues to look for opportunities to work with other professionals in the field.

Last Updated: 10/09/2016