IUCN event | 07 Dec, 2022

Beyond the Status Quo: Reimagining the Future of Conservation NGOs

Explore some of the thematic challenges facing conservation NGOs and showcase the innovation happening in the sector

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Boreal Wildlands, Ontario, Canada

Photo: Digital Image

For decades, the work of conservation non-governmental organisations has helped to raise awareness of environmental issues and put them on the international agenda. But how is it that, despite all these efforts and despite the many successes (however you judge success from your own perspective), we have not managed to significantly slow the ecological crisis, not to mention halt or reverse it?

In the last three decades, wildlife populations have declined by more than 60%, while 1 million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction (Living Planet Index, 2019). The effects of environmental destruction are progressively increasing. And while the consequences of climate change and biodiversity loss affect all humans on earth, their impact is not lived equitably among geographies, class, race and gender, often deepening already existing structural inequalities as well as threatening human rights (IPBES, 2019).

Some will rightly say that there are bigger forces at play that are outweighing the efforts of conservation NGOs. Some say that an underfunded and overworked sector is already doing its best. But is this truly the best way the sector can collectively deploy its energy?

There is a shift happening in and around the NGO sector and the time is ripe for radical transformative change. This side event will seek to explore some of the thematic challenges facing conservation NGOs and showcase the innovation happening in the sector that is beginning to confront the status quo:

  • How can we address and dismantle racist and discriminatory structures, rebalance the power, and move away from neo-colonial conservation approaches?
  • How can the sector embrace interdependency and inclusivity?
  • What role can digital communities and technology play in transforming conservation practices, and especially in improving fundraising, governance, and engagement models?
  • Ultimately, how do we create collective action to affect change?