The African Forest Forum (AFF) Secretariat has announced Prof. Labode Popoola as the new Executive Secretary.
His tenure as CEO is effective October 1st, 2023.
Prof. Popoola takes over from Prof. Godwin Kowero who guided the establishment of AFF and has been at the helm of the institution since 2007.
“The institution has grown from a one person staff when it started to 3 scientific staff in 2009; now it has a staff complement of 10 regular staff, six of whom guide the scientific work of the institution, supported by four technical specialists. With this level of staffing, AFF is now firmly established and works with an average of 40 experts and 20 postgraduate students every year in undertaking its various tasks,” AFF said in a statement
“On behalf of the Members’ Forum and the Governing Council, the AFF Secretariat greatly appreciates Prof. Kowero and thanks him for his invaluable leadership, expertise, definitive contributions over the years,” noted the Secretariat
Labode will take responsibility for the efficient functioning of the AFF Secretariat and ensure that it continues to support collective advocacy and actions – with particular focus on the relevance and contribution of forests and trees to the people of Africa and their environment.
Prof. Labode Popoola is an accomplished scholar with more than 20 years of senior management experience working in various institutions across Africa.
He holds a PhD in Forest Economics from the University of Ibadan. His academic career has seen him occupying every academic position in the university system, ranging from undergraduate programme coordinator to Vice-Chancellor.
As an experienced researcher and project leader, Labode Popoola has led several internationally funded researches involving over USD4 million, including the MacArthur Foundation USD 900,000.00 grant for the establishment of the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Programme. The University of Ibadan was one of the 10 Universities that won the grant involving over 70 Universities across the globe in 2010.
He was also a team member and Steering Committee member of the USD 1.75 Million Japanese Trust Fund (JTF) Grant for Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA).
He is currently, Director, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network-Nigeria; member, Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Chairman, Sustainability Support Forum, an NGO for the driving of Agenda 2030 (SDGs) of the UN in Nigeria.
Labode has won several awards and honours. They include an award for Invaluable Service in Agroforestry from the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, Nairobi (2001); award for excellent service to the forestry profession by the Council of the Forestry Association of Nigeria. He also received the Osun State Government Merit Award for Excellence in Science, Research and Community Development in 2010, and an Award of Excellence by Osun State Government in 2018 for making Osun State University financially self-sustaining.