The Technical Advisory Group or TAG is an established working group mandated by IUCN ORO to provide strategic direction and advise on each of the four thematic areas in the IUCN regional plan. The four thematic areas are: Value and Conserving Nature, Governance of Nature's Use, Nature-based Solutions and Blue Green economy.
How did the idea of TAG come about? The idea to have TAGs first came up through the concept of the "One programme" approach and the need to ensure an inclusive Secretariat that seeks the input of members, commissions etc. In February 2015, when the Secretariat had its regional workshop, the idea of a technical advisory group to provide this guidance was first mooted. It was also an outcome of the Oceania Regional Conservation Forum held at the GCC complex mid last year. From the two meeting outcomes it was decided to form the TAG. Who are members of the TAG? Each of the TAG programme coordinators recommend names of people that are technically experienced and competent in that area of expertise. So expertists in the area which the thematic group covered were nominated for that area. TAG members provide their time on a voluntary basis, however for any face-to-face meetings, the programmes have been asked to provide morning tea, lunch and conference facilities and if airfares are involved than they provide airfares as well. The need for TAG? Too often technical people will just do their work without looking up and realising that perhaps they are going off course. Different experts who form the TAGs were brought together to make sure that the thematic areas itself is contributing to the overall global plan. The TAGs make sure that the strategic direction is in line with what global wants. All this is just part of IUCN ORO's overall project planning and management and to get an oversight into the whole project. What happens after TAG meetings? After the meetings,TAGs provide guidance on how to reword or reshape some of the programmes within the thematic areas and how best to adjust some of it - what not to do, where to put additional focus on etc. The purpose of this is to make sure we are: 1. not duplicating efforts that have already been done by other conservation organisations in the region, and 2. we are able to provide the comparative advantage that we have the technical expertise within the Secretariat and the commissions and in the region. The meeting of the TAGs last month is the first face-to-face meeting and it is hope that in July the TAGs will have another review of the programme either through Skype or face-to-face (if they can afford it) and in December provide a feedback on where they think the programme has gone. The different programmes have been asked to provide an update on their achievements back to the working group and than in December the working group can than present that.