Day Six

After my first two days here last week I was amazed at the lack of intensity at the meeting despite the crucial nature of what is being discussed. Colour? Grey. Ok so we are supposed to be discussing serious science...maybe that’s why, writes Elizabeth Radford – International Programme Manager from IUCN’s Member Plantlife International.

Elizabeth Radford, Plantlife International

I’m here at the meeting in Nairobi specifically to lobby for the endorsement of the revised and updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation – a document that focuses on conserving the world’s plant diversity.

My strategy is, first of all, to focus on talking to as many ‘Parties’ (government representatives) as possible, to find out their position on the Plant Strategy and to tell them about our Important Plant Areas (IPA) programme, supporting site-based conservation of plants around the world.

The long and often tedious ‘word smithing’ discussions in working groups enabled me get to know my target delegates to influence.

Note to self: so much for scientific discussion - this feels very political. Fortunately, Ghana is very balanced and injects some humour – good stuff! Emotion of any type is a welcome relief.

During the breaks, behind the scenes, most delegates are positive and willing to listen. Some were not initially focused on plant conservation, as it was not up for discussion until this week.

Note to self: keep on trying, the piles of our funky reports are disappearing fast.

Today (Monday) it’s IUCN’s promotion event on the Plant Strategy – time to have our say. Must get as many people there as possible. Give a short snappy presentation (buzzwords at the ready). Let’s give the delegates something to remember. Let’s inject some colour to these proceeding. Let’s ensure we keep our Global Plant Strategy. Star of my show? My jar of honey from forest and grassland Important Plant Areas representing bottled plant diversity...and livelihoods, and ecosystem resilience and carbon sequestration and ENERGY. Let’s energise this meeting. Colour? A rainbow please.

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