More than 70 people joined the 2nd IUCN North Africa Regional Conservation Forum held on 4-6th October in Cairo, Egypt, under the theme 'Conserving Nature in North Africa: A common challenge for a prosperous future'. The Forum concluded with a renewed commitment to strengthen membership in the region and to improve IUCN Member involvement in the implementation of the IUCN Programme 2017-2020.
Key environmental challenges regarding biodiversity loss, vulnerable ecosystems, water-scarcity, climate change, as well as, the regional progress of the implementation of the IUCN Programme 2013-2016 in the region were examined by IUCN Members during the Forum.
In addition to sharing lessons and best practices collected through a survey with the contributions of more than 30 organizations (IUCN Members, Partners and donors), the delegates discussed how to achieve a better involve Members in the preparation and in the implementation of the next IUCN Programme 2017-2020, in coordination with the IUCN Secretariat and Commissions. To achieve this recurring claim in the region, Members further stressed the need to include innovative tools and practices such as capacity building, ecosystems services, joint initiatives on transboundary protected areas, youth involvement, and better use of the communication means provided by the Union.
Another important aspect addressed was the potential motions to be submitted at the next IUCN Conservation Congress, which will be held in September 2016 in Hawaii. Members reached a consensus on three criteria in order to draft more effective motions: regional scope, feasibility and relevance for the region. They agreed on the creation of a coordination group lead by the IUCN Councillor, Brahim Haddane with the support of the Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation to begin working on the first drafting in the coming weeks. They also discussed the strategy to increase North Africa experts within IUCN Commissions for the next period 2017-2020.
The last day of the Forum was devoted to current initiatives in North Africa in relation with IUCN Knowledge Products (Red List of Species, Red List of Ecosystems, and World Database on Protected Areas). A special session focused on identification of future perspectives in relation to Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) in the region. The Grant Director of Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Pierre Carret, explained the work developed by CEPF on this subject in North Africa. Representatives from different organization such as the Network of Marine Protected Area Managers in the Mediterranean (MEDPAN), WWF, the Regional Activity Center on Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) of the Barcelona Convention, contributed to the discussion on main country needs, Members expectations, available resources, potential partnerships to be built and IUCN's contribution to develop similar initiatives at regional and national levels.
Candidate for IUCN Regional Councillor for Africa
Dr. Emad Adly, President of the Arab Office for Youth and Environment (AOYE), an Egyptian non-governmental organization Member of IUCN, was proposed as candidate for the position of IUCN Regional Councillor for Africa to be elected in the next IUCN Congress. Dr. Adly expressed his gratitude for the unanimous support, and committed to enhance IUCN's agenda in North Africa, especially in terms of increasing membership network and of seizing available opportunities and boosting collaborative projects between States and NGOs Members.
The closing remarks of the Forum were given by the President of IUCN, Zhang Xinsheng, who recalled the biodiversity richness and institutional capacityof North Africa that helped in addressing several regional conservation challenges. He urged IUCN Members to continue their efforts in shaping the future IUCN Programme and to increase the representativeness of the region. He thanked the Ministry of Environment of Egypt and AOYE for hosting the Forum, and all the Members and partners for their long lasting commitment to IUCN mission and vision.
The outcomes of the Regional Conservation Forum will feed into further developing the IUCN Programme 2017-2020 which will be presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i in September 2016.
We invite you to take a look at our Facebook photo album of the event. We will also upload the presentation on our website shortly.
For further information: Maher Mahjoub.