I arrived this morning at the #IUCN2012 World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea. It is humid and warm here, with a cloudy sky.
The bus ride from Jeju Airport in the north of the island to my hotel on the south coast gave views on some of the wooded slopes of the Mount Hallasan National Park in the centre of the island. I hope that I will have a chance to visit some of the nature on the island, as this is after all a UNESCO World Heritage Area
As all the IUCN Regional Directors are in Jeju for the Congress, we agreed to meet up and discuss issues or common interest. Regional Directors at the meeting represented Asia, Central and West Africa, East and Southern Africa, Europe, Meso America, Pacific and South America, and the Directors of our Washington Office and the Mediterranean Coordination Centre in Malaga, Spain joined the discussions as well. The Head of Programme and Operational Support was part of the discussions, and for the last hour, the Director-General and Deputy Director-General joined as well.
We talked about a number of issues, including the global financial crisis and what this means for IUCN. We have lost one of our main donors temporarily, and fundraising was therefore one of the key points that we discussed. We reviewed options, and I explained that the European Commission could potentially be a major source of income for IUCN work in partner countries. We have to make a good business case and in order to avoid competition and confusion, we have jointly agreed that the IUCN Brussels Office will be the entry point to the EC to try and unlock this potential.
We also discussed the overall IUCN Programme 2013-2016 and related business plan, and agreed that the focus on knowledge products, work on the ground and policy influence is an efficient way of “selling IUCN”. The Programme is one of the documents that Members are asked to endorse during the Congress in the coming days, and it will guide us for the next four years.
Finally, we reviewed some of the motions that will be tabled for discussion and adoption by Members at the World Conservation Congress. IUCN Secretariat is not supposed to have an opinion on Motions, so there is not much that I can say about this at the moment.
Tomorrow is registration day, and the formal opening is on 6 September.
More news tomorrow