As a culmination of its stakeholder engagement activities for the year, the IUCN Asia Regional Office welcomed distinguished guests from diplomatic missions and international organisations based in Bangkok, as well as the Government of Thailand, for an informal reception in the garden located within its office premises. With more than twenty representatives from various organisations joining, the event also served as a timely opportunity to celebrate IUCN’s 75th anniversary.

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The inaugural ‘IUCN International Partners Day’ brought together representatives from the embassies and development agencies of China, India, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, and the United States of America. From international organisations, the event saw the participation of representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). The Thailand Government was represented by two Directors at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (DNP).

The event kicked off with the presentation of two videos, both developed by the IUCN Headquarters to celebrate the Union’s milestone.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr Dindo Campilan, Regional Director for Asia and Hub Director for Oceania, thanked the diplomatic and the international organisations community in Bangkok for another productive year of collaboration, especially since 2023 is the year when IUCN and partners demonstrated collective resilience from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Subsequently, Mr Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative to Thailand, UNDP, noted that “in light of the many pressing challenges our planet faces, from climate change to biodiversity loss and various types of pollutions, collaborations between all like-minded organizations will be required to ensure nature-based and people-centered solutions are found. This is why the UN Team in Thailand is pleased to join all of you tonight in this celebration of partnerships organized by IUCN and commends IUCN on its 75th anniversary for its contribution to protecting our planet”.

IUCN Asia extensively collaborated with the United Nations system on many occasions throughout the year, including the inaugural Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Rights in Asia Conference (CSERA) in October, where IUCN joined UNDP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Touching on his country’s commitment to conservation, H.E. Datuk Jojie Samuel, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Malaysia to the Kingdom of Thailand, further called on the audience to “harness the strength of our partnership to amplify our impact on environmental conservation, biodiversity protection, and sustainable development.”

The IUCN Asia Regional Office was able to strengthen ties with various diplomatic missions throughout the year, through a meeting with the IUCN Framework Partners (Denmark, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States of America) in March, with Southeast Asian countries in August, along with bilateral meetings.

Mr Komkrit Setbubpha, Director of the Innovation Research and Development Division, National Park Office at DNP, highlighted Thailand’s longstanding partnership with IUCN which has contributed to strengthening the country’s institutional capacities to access and mobilise resources, to achieve field-level outcomes for nature and biodiversity, and to participate in regional and international cooperation platforms. DNP, which represents Thailand as a State Member to IUCN, also serves as Chair of the IUCN Thailand National Committee.

In representing IUCN Headquarters at the event, Ms Sandrine Friedli Cela, Head, Office of the Legal Adviser, conveyed the global Secretariat’s gratitude and reaffirmed the senior management’s commitment to the Union’s partnership-driven approach in achieving its mission.

The event has produced significant outcomes, and follow-up meetings are already in the planning stage with potential donors and project partners. Leveraging the success of this occasion, the IUCN Asia Regional Office intends to organise similar events in the months and years ahead. These gatherings will not only involve our international partners but also engage various stakeholders, including Members, Commissions, academic institutions, the private sector, youth and more.

The IUCN Asia Regional Office extends its gratitude once again to all the partners who collaborated with IUCN in this region. We eagerly anticipate even more vibrant collaboration in the coming year.