Véronique Zurcher, Membership Officer, outlines some of the priorities for 2011.
2010 has been a busy but exciting year. Much has happened and more is to come. 2011 is going to be a critical year for IUCN Members so I will focus on highlighting some of the milestones and work ahead of us.
The Regional Fora will provide Members, Commissions and Secretariat with an opportunity to meet and prepare for the next World Conservation Congress, taking place from 6 to 15 September 2012, in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Agendas of the Regional Fora will include consultation on the IUCN Programme 2013-2016 and on the changes proposed to the governance of the Union from the IUCN Council, as well as training sessions on all aspects of the Congress (motions process, accreditation, voting, etc.) to ensure Members are well prepared to exercise their rights and to get the most out of this huge and sometime daunting event that is the Congress. Key to the success of the World Conservation Congress, the Regional Fora will be a major concern for the Membership Unit and Membership Focal Points worldwide. Together with the other departments of the Constituency Support Group (Governance Unit and Congress Unit), we are very much looking forward to working with you all.
The IUCN Secretariat has developed an online tool to facilitate reporting by IUCN Members and the Secretariat on activities contributing to the implementation of Resolutions and Recommendations adopted at the 2008 World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. Let me take this opportunity to remind you that it is essential that all Members record their activities and achievements in response to the Resolutions and Recommendations ahead of the Jeju Congress so that a comprehensive report on the achievements of the Union as a whole can be produced. Should you require any assistance, please consult the Membership Focal Point in your Region or the Membership Unit.
The Membership Unit continues its efforts to build on the recommendations included in the 2007 External Review and in the Global Survey of IUCN Members conducted in 2007, and to implement Resolution 4.001 “Strengthening the links between IUCN Members, Commissions and Secretariat”, which was adopted at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. As part of these efforts, an online Membership Mapping System has been developed to map IUCN Members according to the thematic areas of the IUCN “One Programme” and their involvement in the governance of the Union. A first pilot phase has resulted in some 300 Members being mapped. Thank you to all who contributed. In 2011, Members will be able to directly input information in the system and you will hear more about this shortly. We hope that this tool will promote better coordination and help to develop synergies between Members, National and Regional Committees, Commissions and the Secretariat. The system will also help us report on the engagement of the IUCN Members in the delivery of the “One Programme.”
We recognize that another way of strengthening links in IUCN is through consultations conducted with Members as well as National and Regional Committees, giving you the opportunity to express your views on important policies. Recently, a first draft of an Operational Guide for National and Regional Committees has been submitted to the Committees for their review. The results of this consultation will be presented to Council in May 2011.
Furthermore, to help us identify additional means of strengthening the links between IUCN Members, Commissions and Secretariat, and to develop the capacity of National and Regional Committees (Resolution 4.003), two studies were conducted during the second half of 2010: one on non-governmental organization (NGO) and international non-governmental organization (INGO) Members and one on National and Regional Committees. The Membership Unit views these studies as part of a reflective and collaborative process aiming at improving our strategies, practices, and knowledge of each other. The research on NGO and INGO Members also provides a basis for the consideration by Council of possible modifications to the IUCN Statutes and Regulations regarding membership categories and the membership admission criteria. The results of these two studies were presented to the Constituency Committee of Council in November 2010 and the next step is to share the results of the studies with Members, National and Regional Committees in the coming weeks.
As part of our efforts to offer you better communication tools, we have modified our newsletter “Union Pulse” and intend to publish it more frequently. The membership pages on the IUCN website have been revamped and are now hopefully clearer to navigate. We are also in the process of developing our membership pages in French and Spanish, in an effort to provide more information in IUCN’s three official languages. Work on the new Members’ Portal is dependent on other IT developments currently underway, so during 2011, we should see considerable improvements on the Portal, allowing all of us to better interact. At last!
Finally, let me wish you all the best for 2011, International Year of Forests. As our Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, announced on 3 January: “‘Forests 2011’ will be an international celebration of the central role of people in the management, conservation and sustainable development of our world’s forests”. The Membership Unit will work closely with the Forest Unit to promote your work in forest conservation, so please let us know about your initiatives to protect forests and we will make sure that it gets the attention and exposure it deserves.
Membership Officer, Membership Unit