Cathy Watson, Chief of Programme Development for World Agroforestry, will discuss how agroforestry -- the deliberate integration of trees on to farms -- can restore river flows, conserve soil, bolster livelihoods, build rich diets, meet energy needs, and act as a refugia for pollinators and other threatened biodiversity. Using examples from India, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Uganda, she will explain why trees are fundamental to human well-being and resilience on a planet in climate breakdown.
Cathy Watson has worked for over 30 years in Africa and more recently across the wider tropics. She is Chief of Programme Development for World Agroforestry, which focuses on trees as keys to landscape and human health. A longstanding journalist, she reported for the BBC during conflicts in Rwanda and Burundi and continues to write for The Guardian and other outlets. At the peak of Uganda’s HIV epidemic, she set up Straight Talk, which The Lancet termed a model for prevention. A believer in planetary health before it had a name, Cathy graduated from Princeton with a Ba in Biology and Science in Human Affairs and from University of Missouri with a graduate certificate in agroforestry. She was made a senior Ashoka fellow in 2006.