Making the LINK to Scottish nature

Scottish Environment LINK – an umbrella group of 34 NGOs and Member of IUCN – said farewell to its President Helen Zealley OBE and welcomed President designate Ross Finnie at their Annual Congress in Birnam on 18 November 2011. Mr Finnie is a politician and former Minister for the Environment and Rural Development in the Scottish Executive, and Member of the Scottish Parliament for West of Scotland.

Hans Friederich at LINK Annual Congress Photo: Scottish Environment LINK

The theme of the Congress was “Scotland’s place in the world: sustainability and success in leaner times”, and IUCN Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Friederich provided insight into the draft IUCN global Programme and the future plans of IUCN in Europe. He also discussed the benefits of IUCN membership with participants.

Participants, many of which are IUCN Members, agreed that the value of membership to IUCN includes:

  • Influence: Gaining influence at an EU and international convention level which most organisations find difficult to resource;
  • Knowledge transfer: Adapting ideas and best practice examples generated within the IUCN global network and applying these in the UK, and vice versa;
  • Coordination and credibility: Members, through the National Committee, make use of the respected IUCN brand to bring people together and open doors.

The IUCN UK Peatland Programme was given as an excellent example of the value of working under an IUCN banner, as the profile of the programme has been raised by having it adopted as a project of the IUCN National Committee in the United Kingdom. The Programme exists to promote peatland restoration in the UK and advocates the multiple benefits of peatlands through partnerships, strong science, sound policy and effective practice. The work of the Peatland Programme is overseen by a coalition of environmental bodies including the John Muir Trust, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, RSPB, North Pennines AONB Partnership, Moors for the Future and the University of East London.

Stuart Brooks, speaking on behalf of the IUCN UK National Committee following the recent launch of the Peat Programme’s Commission of Inquiry on Peatlands said that "It has become evident over the last three years that the hundreds of contributors to this ground breaking review have shared our vision for an evidence based proclamation for nature based solutions for using our peatlands. There is a great opportunity now to work across the global IUCN networks to share the benefits of this knowledge and influence outcomes for peatlands everywhere."

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