IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe (IUCN SEE) was established in spring 2004 in Belgrade, in the premises of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, an IUCN member. From the very outset, the office has been operating under the guiding principles of a Strategic Plan for the IUCN South-Eastern European Programme called “Conservation without frontiers – towards a new image for the Balkans”. This strategy served as a basis for IUCN’s activities in the region till 2012, enabling IUCN to maintain a steady growth in terms of membership and activity portfolio. Most of the goals of this strategy remain quite topical to-date, yet the region has faced a rapid change over the last ten years, having influenced conservation priorities in SEE. In September 2012, the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the biggest global conservation event, took place in Jeju, South Korea, and brought the IUCN Programme 2013-2016. Alongside a new IUCN European Programme has been developed. These two documents call for the development of an updated strategy for IUCN in South-Eastern Europe, which will be elaborated in 2013 in a broad consultation with IUCN Members and partners.

The strategy is a principal document for the IUCN Secretariat, Members and Commissions, with a strong spillover effect on a broad network of IUCN partners and experts from SEE and beyond. The process of strategy development is led by IUCN SEE and the crucial step for its formulation is the IUCN South-Eastern European Members’ meeting (Tirana, Albania, 6-8 March 2013). The meeting is co-organized by IUCN SEE, IUCN Members in Albania – Institute for Nature Conservation of Albania (INCA) and Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA), and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration of Albania, and supported by the MAVA Foundation.

The main objective of the IUCN SEE Members’ meeting is to discuss IUCN’s strategy for South-Eastern Europe and define priority goals for IUCN in the region, aiming at Shaping a sustainable future for South-Eastern Europe. Its goal is to translate the core and thematic areas of the IUCN Programme 2013-2016 into an effective and result-oriented sub-regional programme. The preliminary results of the regional needs assessment survey will be presented and discussed at the meeting. The meeting will also provide a networking platform for the membership and allow for discussion on constituency-related issues.