After more than ten days of debates, presentations, reviews and voting, the IUCN World Conservation Congress is over. The IUCN Programme is adopted without any problems, IUCN has a President from China, I have a great new team of Councilors from Europe, and we organised a few excellent events that put Europe on the map in Korea.
What does the outcome of the Congress mean for IUCN in Europe? A few immediate thoughts spring to mind:
I had very constructive discussions with a group of the IUCN National Committees in Europe, representing the IUCN membership, and will strengthen collaboration between them, the Secretariat and experts from our scientific Commissions in the coming months and years. It was good to see several of the European National Committees actively involved in the discussions about Motions and programme development.
We agreed that business and biodiversity is a key issue for Europe, and we will be developing further activities in this area, with involvement from all concerned. The presentation about our work with the Finnish forest industry was well received, and it was an honour to have Minister Hautala from Finland present at this session. I just learned that our partner UPM Kymmene is recognised as the 2012 supersector leader in basic resources by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes.
Transboundary conservation is important in Europe, especially for our offices in Belgrade and Tbilisi. I was told that participants were interested to hear about our ongoing work, and it was very nice to have Minister Pentus-Rosimannus from Estonia reflect on our involvement in the European Green Belt. We will continue to coordinate action in transboundary conservation, together with the World Commission on Protected Areas and relevant Members and partners. This will include a continuation of our forest governance work in eastern Europe.
I was congratulated on our achievements with the European Red Lists of species. We will help the European Commission and the Council of Europe to complete outstanding species assessments and start work on Invasive Alien Species and the Red List of Ecosystems.
I had several meetings about coastal management and our work in overseas territories. This is an important niche for IUCN in Europe, and we will strengthen and expand our ongoing work, in partnership with relevant Members and partners.
There was also a lot of talk about the role of local and regional authorities in IUCN. In Europe, we are working with ICLEI and others to develop a programme of action for biodiversity conservation in European cities. This is another priority area for IUCN in Europe.
Congress is over – the next one will be in four years time! Where? That will be decided next year, but I know that Turkey is keen to host it, and if they are successful the next congress will again be in Europe!
I hope you enjoyed reading about the various events and activities of IUCN Europe during the IUCN Congress in Korea. I want to thank my colleagues again for having put together an interesting programme.
This is my last story about the Congress – my next stories will be “normal” news from Europe.