South America prepares for the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress

30 August 2011 | News story

The positive energy from the first South American Forum of IUCN Members in Lima last July has not been lost. Communication between the constituents has generated a lot of action and today the Commission on Environmental Law is preparing to support the Chilean National Committee to review a major environmental rule; meanwhile the Secretariat in Quito announces the completion of two key meetings: the Regional Committee and the vice-chairmanships of committees.

The forum, held from 13 to 15 July, was characterized by a real spirit of collaboration among participants reflected in its support to One Single Programme promoted by the Union.

In the midst of a busy schedule, 66 member organizations, 14 representatives of commissions, 2 regional councilors, 19 strategic partners and 17 people from the IUCN secretariat debated during more than 10 technical sessions on strategic issues for the region: climate change, energy, governance, transboundary conservation, economics and other themes.

The discussions focused on IUCN’s new four-year programme for 2013-2016 and its thematic areas, one of which generated strong criticism. IUCN Members in South America said they had not found a satisfactory explanation that would motivate and justify the elimination of the thematic area "Ecosystems and Human Well-Being" to be replaced by the proposed "Managing ecosystems to improve food security." Their opinion is that this proposal represents a limitation in the objectives and a statement based on different opinions, needs and capacities between developed and developing countries.

Representatives of the Congress Organizing Committee reported on the preparations being made in Jeju. The Lima forum provided an opportunity for members to understand how they can participate in Jeju, and specific procedures about the governance of the Union. The region welcomed the decision of the Union to incorporate local and regional governments and suggested they should be included in the same category as states and government agencies with the capacity to vote. The Forum was also an opportunity for the region to create a working group that will organize the election process for regional councellors. This work is already underway.

All constituents from South America are highly motivated and active following the meeting, which allowed them to agree on a coordinated and planned strategy to guide their actions.