Message from the Chair - CEESP Newsletter 1 - 2013

15 March 2013 | Article

This is the first Newsletter of the Commission since the World Conservation Congress in Jeju. We’ve been very busy re-organising the work of the Commission, appointing Steering Committee members, re-appointing Commission members and grappling with the challenge of having a leading role in developing IUCN’s first social sciences flagship ‘knowledge baskets’, the Natural Resources Governance Framework (NRGF) and the Human Dependency on Nature Framework (HDNF). 

Both of these initiatives provide an opportunity to give greater visibility to many of the heartland issues of CEESP such as rights-based approaches to conservation, rights of indigenous peoples, sustainable livelihoods and participatory conservation.

This Newsletter introduces you to the new CEESP team - Steering Committee and Secretariat Focal Points.

The Jeju WCC Members’ Assembly approved the CEESP Mandate for 2012-2016 which clarifies that CEESP’s work is focused on the following programme priorities, incorporating the diverse perspectives and experiences of the CEESP membership:

1. Development and promotion of a conservation ethic that supports diverse knowledge systems and values, delivers rights-based and equitable conservation with improved governance of natural resources and tangible livelihoods benefits, and links biological diversity with the cultural dimensions of nature conservation with a focus on the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

2. Increased use of rights-based approaches to natural resource management and governance that promotes social and cultural equity, indigenous peoples' self-determination, community governance, sustainable livelihoods and human security.

3. Nature-based solutions to global challenges—such as climate change, conversion of forests and farmland to monocrops, including biofuels projects, food insecurity, poverty, inequitable economic and social development—that are underpinned by economic policies that reinforce sustainability, social equity and environmental integrity.

4. Enhanced capacity of civil society, governments and the private sector to ensure corporate social and environmental accountability and reduce the negative impact of industries on climate, bio-cultural diversity and food security.

A copy of the CEESP Mandate in English/Es/Fr can be located here: http://www.iucn.org/about/union/commissions/ceesp/ceesp_about/membership/member_resources/

Social and cultural outcomes are not easy to measure, but it is the aspiration of CEESP for 2012-2016 is to build our programme priorities into the new initiatives, NRGF and HDNF, and to give better visibility to how social objectives such as the ‘rights-based approach’ can also deliver environmental and economic benefits. Within this newsletter, you will find out more about these two initiatives and I encourage you to get involved.

Another new initiative for CEESP is the establishment of the Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge Advisory Committee (ITKAC). The ITKAC is a small group of experts whose main role will be to: Develop an overview of how ITK is being framed in international processes - the achievements and gaps; Propose key messages/interventions/visions that should be advocated by IUCN and CEESP about ITK in international processes; and Provide expert advice to the whole of the Commission and to IUCN on ITK issues. There is more information about the purpose and composition of the ITKAC in this newsletter.

I learned a lot during my first Term as Chair of CEESP but on reflection I spent much more time than I had planned to on infra-structure, organisational culture, (re) building relationships, improving communications and outreach issues. In my final three years I intend to devote much more time to the issues that made me join CEESP in the first place – I will be actively involved in the development of the Natural Resources Governance and Human Dependency on Nature Frameworks, the ITKAC, and progressing all of CEESP’s programme priorities. I am looking forward to this next term.

Aroha Te Pareake Mead
Wellington, March 2013