Collaboration across the IUCN family characterized CEC activities at the CEESP Sharing Power Conference and later at workshops in Auckland and Wellington.
By Dominic Stucker and Wendy Goldstein
New Zealand was the scene of some good IUCN "pillars" cooperating in January 2011. First, CEC members were involved in the CEESP Sharing Power Conference in Wakatane New Zealand. In fact, virtually all Chairs of Commissions, including Keith Wheeler, CEC Chair, attended and gave a great summary of their roles and work in response to interview questions. Supported by local organizers and the CEC, young participants made significant contributions to the gathering, speaking in the plenaries, engaging in workshops, and creating a rough cut video of participant interviews, shown in the closing plenary. Keith was also asked to give some closing remarks and all in all there was a very good spirit of cooperation.
After the Sharing Power Conference, Dominic Stucker and Wendy Goldstein, both CEC members, facilitated workshops in Auckland and Wellington on January 17th and 18th respectively. Participants were invited from IUCN member organisations by the IUCN Regional Councillor for Oceania Diana Shand on behalf of the National Committee of IUCN. IUCN members provided the facilities and hosting of the session. We are particularly grateful to IUCN member organisations Eco, Forest and Bird and WWF - NZ.
As Diana pointed out, though many of the community relations staff, educators and communicators came from IUCN member organizations, they did not know much about what IUCN or its Commissions offer by way of resources to assist in their work. So we showed our latest provocative video "Love. Not loss." as the brand for biodiversity communication and introduced the ideas in Branding Biodiversity (a strategy publication by Futerra), and then passed out CDs of the CEPA manual developed for the Convention on Biological Diversity. We provided an open space technology approach to the workshops whereby the participants proposed their issues and had free forming groups discuss them. Some groups became quite concrete about follow up actions they could take, to network and exchange ideas, and make IUCN resources more visible. Others dialogued on how to make fungi heroes instead of forgotten species and talked of positioning them in the great soil and climate regulation story. One educator works with immigrant Chinese on conservation issues and was soon linked up with Australian collaborators.
Participants found it a bit hard at first to cast their minds to what they could develop as part of a CEC programme for New Zealand. However it was not long before quite similiar activities emerged in both Auckland and Wellington - one being to raise the profile of the environment on the political agenda, another to develop more cooperative learning and sharing exchanges in the country for education and communication.
Unfortunately our new CEC National Activator for New Zealand could not come to the workshops. She is Ann Brower, Senior Lecturer of Public Policy (Faculty of Environment, Society and Design) Lincoln University, Christchurch, NZ, firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope that most who attended the workshops will become part of CEC and put into action at least some of the ideas they discussed.