Ms. Wizaso Munthali, Senior Inspector from IUCN Member Zambia Environmental Management Agency (formally the Environmental Council of Zambia) reflects on her experience at the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Conservation Forum (days 1-3).
I’ll start by stating that “the conservation of nature must not be driven by fear of loss, but by the love of it”, a feeling I have always had but somehow shelved along the way until I saw the screening of a 3-minute video by the Commission for Education and Communication, "Love-not loss", which refocused my mind on this matter. A strong starting point in my opinion.
As a first time participant representing the Zambia Environmental Management Agency, my focus was to first understand the Union and explore areas of biodiversity conservation that were new to me, such as food security and financing processes related to biodiversity conservation, particularly forest conservation. Through high-level panel discussions and technical sessions on days 1 and 2, I was left with a basic understanding of the relationships and interactions of these aspects with biodiversity conservation.
In addition, through these discussions I was introduced to current issues in biodiversity conservation and their impacts, a case in point being the issue of ‘land grabs’. Topics such as these ones provoked lively debates during the technical sessions and posed a challenge to me, to firstly understand them better and then to endeavour to assume a more professional stance, rather than an emotional one, as I execute my job as an environmental regulator in Zambia.
Networking on a professional and social level was another aspect of the Forum I greatly enjoyed; allowing me to discover the various approaches taken around the globe to bring about the same goal: the conservation of nature.
We are now in Day 3 of the Forum, The Members Business Assembly. What effect have the mornings’ proceedings had on me? Knowing my agency has voting rights at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress, gives me the responsibility to ensure that it exercises its right as an IUCN Member to vote for motions/resolutions and leadership that will benefit the Union, our region and the world as a whole!