CEC Summary of Issues Raised at Aviemore

28 May 2010 | News story

CEC’s new Specialty Group Leaders joined Steering Committee members at their annual event, meeting for the first time with CEC Regional Vice-Chairs, CEC Special Advisors, IUCN staff and guests. The group of 32 participants identified strategies and outcomes related to the International Year of Biodiversity, World Conservation Congress, and how to manage conservation knowledge to achieve results for IUCN. 
 

Keith Wheeler, Chair of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, convened the CEC Steering Committee for their second meeting of the 2009-2012 intersessional period. The group met in Aviemore, Scotland, from April 14 to 16, 2010. Facilitation was provided by Wendy Goldstein, CEC Deputy Chair, and Chuck Phillips, CEC Specialty Group Leader.

CEC’s new Specialty Group Leaders joined Steering Committee members at their annual event, meeting for the first time with CEC Regional Vice-Chairs, CEC Special Advisors, IUCN staff and guests. The group of 32 participants identified strategies and outcomes related to the International Year of Biodiversity, World Conservation Congress, and how to manage conservation knowledge to achieve results for IUCN.

Meeting outcomes

The meeting aimed to engage CEC’s leadership in working to contribute to the IUCN One Programme and in performing against the CEC mandate on strategic communication (CEPA) for the environmental Conventions, innovative learning for professional updating, and strategic dialogues to co-create solutions. Participants also considered knowledge management for IUCN as networking organization, with the vision of having one seamless and integrated way to share knowledge throughout the various programmes and Commissions and to share that information with a vast general audience. The meeting addressed the following objectives:

  • Plan for the World Conservation Congress in Korea;
  • Plan contributions to the International Year of Biodiversity;
  • Knowledge provision to the new CEC web presence;
  • Targets and criteria for an increase in membership including youth;
  • Work with other IUCN Commissions and programmes, especially WCPA;
  • Progressing the World Conservation Learning Network.

Some key points of the discussions

1. CEC calls for more support to IUCN Global Communications: The Steering Committee recommended that as communicating the issues of IUCN is a huge task to carry out, IUCN Global Communications requires increased support and resourcing. In particular it is suggested that IUCN staff need to embrace new social media in their work.

2. IUCN and CEC need to share knowledge but lack adequate systems: CEC recommends that IUCN (Secretariat) develops an effective and seamless knowledge management system suitable for 21st century needs. By the next Congress, IUCN needs to be THE environmental knowledge institution or it will lose its global position. Presently IUCN and its six commissions are operating with 20th century knowledge management tools. The challenge is to increase the capacity of the entire organization, not only in corporate communication but also in strategic communication, learning and knowledge management. IUCN needs to be able to share its knowledge with other institutions to assist in decision making. CEC needs this structure in place to support the work of its own Commission so it can play its role as a knowledge provider on communication, learning, education and capacity building and be supported as a fully functional network around the world. The Commission must deliver its mandate, yet it is a constant challenge to pull out the capacity of all CEC members to contribute experience and advice to the IUCN programme as there is no system to store and process the information.

3. CEC’s role is changing. One theme that emerged from the discussion is the evolving function and structure of the CEC. Is CEC is moving towards an emphasis on strategic communication, learning and knowledge management and away from its past role as an ‘education’ commission? This shift reflects changes in how IUCN’s audiences want to acquire information. Demand-oriented learning is informal with use of social media; in contrast, school education (with which the term education is usually associated) traditionally takes a more supply-oriented approach. (Even so, the Commission is developing up a professional capacity building programme drawing on tertiary education.) Should the Commission change its name to reflect its emerging role?

4. CEC needs a networked structure: It was suggested a less hierarchical structure could facilitate learning and knowledge management, supporting the Commission’s new functionality and role. The role of Regional Vice-Chairs was thought to potentially create a blockage as regional members defer to the Regional Vice-Chair for advice. In a way we are moving towards a networked structure with the speciality groups overlaying the regional structure with national activators. Should the Commission change its structure to reflect a more networked organization? This could be revised in the next mandate, starting 2013, though experimented with in the interim.

5. CEC may need to do things differently at the regional level. Participants from Africa said that it is difficult to find entry points to engage CEC in IUCN’S work in the region and link to the IUCN programme. This is difficult as the programme planning process did not include CEC in its planning process.

6. CEC needs to (re)-develop its communication strategy. Communication is lacking in the region and between regions. Such as strategy could emphasize CEC’s role in facilitating linkages of experiences South-South. It would also focus on how to engage CEC members in all regions so they feel they are part of something that is meaningful.

7. CEC’s next meeting could address a refreshing or review of its own vision and strategic plan. CEC needs to make explicit the metrics by which we measure our own success (how will we know we made a difference) and why we prioritise certain aspects such as knowledge management.

8. In terms of process, CEC used a new tool (for us) called Posterous in this meeting — making the event virtually paper-free, helping with simultaneous reporting, and providing practically instant feedback on group work and planning. By the end of the meeting, all of our work plans were completed and posted on the web, accessible to all. The site formats the reports in a form that is easily uploaded to our official website pages for all CEC members and others to read. Posterous was introduced by the CEC Specialty Group Leader on Knowledge Management.
 


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