It was a great pleasure to be invited to speak at the 12th International Nature Conservation Forum organised by the IUCN Spanish National Committee and Andalucian local government, in Seville at the beginning of May. The theme was the ‘State of Nature Conservation in Spain’ and, to help with context, speakers were invited from the IUCN Regional Office in Brussels (Luc Bas), the National Committees of Denmark (Ann-Katrine Garn) and Sweden (Jan-Olov Westerberg) and myself for the UK, to share thoughts from our regional and national perspectives. There was also a Mediterranean dimension with speakers from the IUCN Mediterranean Office in Malaga, and from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.
The event was well attended – 170 on the first day, and included a high-level session with government representatives and prominent civic dignitaries. All very impressive and well organised.
The invitation stemmed from engagement in the IUCN Working Group for National Committee Development which I have the privilege of chairing for the past three years. This group meets online once a month and has achieved some significant results in that time. Ten European National Committees and the IUCN Director General signed the ‘Charter of Rome’ in 2013, agreeing to work together in close collaboration. We hope to increase that number. A ‘Toolkit for National Committees’ has been produced, translated into French and Spanish and is being used in other IUCN regions. We encourage IUCN Members to submit projects demonstrating IUCN Programme implementation to our ‘Project Postcard’ initiative. We have initiated a Motion to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September – (002) ‘Development of a Global Group for National Committee Development’ – and organised a six-hour ‘Celebration of National and Regional Committees’ event on the Opening Day.
IUCN members are encouraged to discuss and debate the motions to Congress online via the Congress Portal and this process will close on 3rd July.
Do let me know if you are intending to go the Congress and you could be part of the UK delegation.