Tommy Garnett is a dual citizen of Ireland and Sierra Leone, with a background in Agricultural and Development Economics. Following completion of post-graduate studies in the former USSR, he began his career in 1984, as a high school teacher in Kenya, where he taught Agriculture, Mathematics and Physical Education for 4 years. In 1992, Tommy founded the the Environmental Foundation for Africa, as a charity in the UK, to create awareness about the environmental impacts of the conflict and to empower the local people to protect the integrity of nature in West Africa. Since then, Tommy traveled extensively in the West and Central Africa region, studying and reporting on the nature and extent of the threats to the Guinean Forest Ecosystem. Tommy has been a member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication since 1996. From 2006-2012 he served on the CEC Steering Committee as Regional Vice Chair for West and Central Africa. Tommy also served as a member of the UN Panel of Experts from 2003-2007, monitoring economic sanctions on Liberia, with the specific task of assessing the socio-economic, ecological and humanitarian impacts of the sanctions, co-authoring several reports for the UN Security Council during this time. He is a contributing author of CEPA Toolkit for Africa, published by the CEC in 2007.
From 2010, Tommy oversaw the design and construction of the Biodiversity and Renewable Energy Learning Centre (Learning Centre), which was completed and formerly launched in June 2014. A first of its kind in West Africa and situated on the edge of Freetown’s Western Area Peninsula Forest National Park, the centre was current hosts visitors from various sectors and all age group, especially school children, who can now experience nature and sustainability principles first hand.
In October 2016, Tommy joined BirdLife International, to lead its Regional Implementation Team, managing the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s investment portfolio in the Guinean Forests of West Africa Hotspot, spanning eleven countries from the Guinea to the Gulf of Guinea Islands of Sao Tome & Principe.