Charlene Hewat, CEO of IUCN Member Environment Africa shares her impressions from Day 3 of the Regional Conservation Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa and reminds us that today is also World Rhino Day.
The third day of the Forum falls on World Rhino Day: 22 September, a special day to remember what is happening to our poor rhino around the world, especially in Southern Africa. In 2007, 18 rhino were shot in South Africa, last year 333 rhino were poached and killed, and so far in 2011 over 285 rhino have been brutally slaughtered. If the rhino disappear what is going to be next? Will our children only see them in picture books like the dodo bird which used to inhabit Mauritius? Find out more on Environment Africa’s website!
So why is my organization a Member of IUCN? What is this huge international organization? What does it do? Here’s a quick reminder: IUCN’s Mission is to influence, encourage, assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and the diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
So today we discussed the draft IUCN programme for the next 4 years. This programme has been developed via a consultative process, with Members, Commissions and IUCN employees all contributing towards it. The new framework includes 3 key areas: Valuing and conserving biodiversity, Rights to nature-sharing benefits and Nature based solutions to climate, food, growth etc. This takes a more holistic approach to conservation and communities, which is very pleasing to see. Environment Africa has been a Member of IUCN since 1997, but it is only now that I feel IUCN is getting it right by working with and through its Members instead of the old way of competing with Members. Well done IUCN!, I really hope that together we can move forward.
IUCN also opens doors to the best international expertise in the world and this is exciting for us as Members as we are provided with opportunities to access and use this knowledge. Currently, we are in discussion with the Secretariat and some IUCN Members to look at a programme within Southern Africa to move communities from Aid to Trade whilst conserving our environment. This programme will include a Private, Public, Community, Partnership (PPCP) approach, which Environment Africa has been working on for the past two years, as well as the development of sustainable funding mechanisms. We look forward to hopefully sharing news of this work with you at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2012!
Environment Africa is an African organisation which is passionate about conservation and communities and finding African solutions so as to create a sustainable future for both current and future generations.