Message from the president

Valli Moosa, IUCN President

Dear fellow Council Members, sponsors, friends,

Sawubona and welcome to the webpage for the 1st stand-alone meeting of Council in the 60 year history of the World Conservation Union.

Both South Africa and IUCN are unique, remarkable and very close to my heart. And having the opportunity to conduct the important business of the Union against the backdrop of a world renowned conservation area such as the Kruger National Park is indeed a very special and significant occasion.

Of course, for many of you this will not be your first visit to Mzansi. The presence of IUCN in South Africa – and indeed the region – is significant and would have provided many with the opportunity to visit previously. IUCN was, after all, a key player in the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Vth World Parks Congress. Others might have come here as tourists, exploring the riches of South Africa in a more leisurely manner. And for some of you, this will be your first opportunity to experience first hand the opulence of the stars, the vastness of the African wilderness and embark upon a new journey, albeit only a first step, to your soul. Whatever the case, I am convinced that your visit in November will be a truly memorable one.

The spectacular setting of the Kruger area should, however, not detract from the importance of the business we will be conducting as custodians of the global environment. The 68th meeting of Council will have to consider a wide range of important issues pertinent to the Union at this time. To highlight only a few, preparations for the World Conservation Congress 2008 – the premier summit on sustainable development in 2008 (less than a year away when we meet), the new draft inter-sessional programme and draft financial plan for 2009 – 2012, the approval of a Code of Conduct for Council Members and the report on the membership Satisfaction Survey are on the agenda.

Conducting a Council meeting in an environment not purpose built for conferencing also has its particular challenges. Although extremely enriching, infrastructure and logistical implications that even in Gland require many hours of careful preparation and execution will require cooperation and understanding from everyone present at the meeting in Kruger. Due to financial and other considerations, IUCN will only provide a lean contingent of operational staff.

Most importantly, I wish to convey my personal gratitude to our generous sponsors and the Director General for making this meeting possible.

I look forward to seeing you in South Africa in November.

Sala Kahle,

Valli Moosa

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