Comments from the Chair (Issue 0710 | May 2011)

“Because the planet can’t sustain our current development model” was the sub-heading of the successful CEESP Conference, Sharing Power: A New Vision for Development, held in Whakatane New Zealand 12-15 January.

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The Sharing Power Conference was a first for CEESP in many ways. It was the first time the Commission held a global Conference. The first time IUCN and CEESP partnered with indigenous organisations (Te Runanga o Ngati Awa and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi) in a meaningful and comprehensive way. The first time CEESP had worked with the other IUCN Commissions, the President, Director General and Secretariat including the IUCN Oceania Regional Office in a way consistent with the new ‘One Programme' approach. Most importantly, it was the first time, CEESP reached out to a broader network in such a systematic way to share information, insights and solutions on issues of deep concern to CEESP and to progress thinking on a new conservation ethic and a a new vision for development There were many lessons learned during the Conference that will be progressed by CEESP in the coming years.

The Sharing Power Conference also held special significance for me as it was a great honour to be able to host this event and welcome participants to my beloved tribal (Ngati Awa) homelands in Whakatane.

No event of this kind can happen without the financial and in-kind support of sponsors. Sincere thanks to the following organisations for their support: Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, Te Puni Kokiri, Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, IUCN, J R McKenzie Trust, Rights & Resources, NZ Lottery Grants Board, Victoria University of Wellington (VMS), the RESPONSE Trust, Ecological Society of the Philippines, Kokohinau and Wairaka Marae, Maori Womens' Welfare League and Linden Leaves. Heartfelt thanks to Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa and Tuhoe, the other Iwi (tribes) who hosted Conference participants during the field trips; the kaumatua (elders) and leaders who guided participants through Maori culture, and to all the volunteers without whose help we would not have been able to hold the Conference as smoothly as we did. Thank you everyone for your support.

CEESP experienced a few difficulties with communication this year.  The Commission Theme lists were inactive for three months due to a fault in the IUCN system and this greatly hindered intra-Commission communications at a very important time in CEESP reporting and planning.  A short-term remedy has been found and the long term solution is to develop a purpose-built Commission portal. There will be more news on this in the next newsletter.

The CEESP website has recently been refreshed and re-designed to make the site more accessible and easier to navigate. Please check out the new-look web-page here:

There have been a few changes in the CEESP Steering Committee. You can find out more about our newest SC members in this newsletter, but I would like to take this time to acknowledge and thank, Ton Boon Von Ochssee (former Co-Chair of the Theme on Environment, Conflict and Security) and Ali Darwish (former Regional Vice Chair for West Asia) for their contributions to CEESP. Both resigned due to heavy work commitments. Commissions are dependent on volunteers and are always grateful for any time someone is able to contribute. Both of these positions have subsequently been filled but we CEESP is still seeking expressions of interest from members willing to serve as Regional Vice Chairs for Asia and Africa.

In March, I travelled to Asuncion, Paraguay to attend the Commission on Environmental Law Steering Committee Meeting.  It was the first time I had the opportunity to experience first- hand how other Commissions operate. CEESP and CEL share many common interests and will be announcing a joint Commission Theme very soon.

The next meeting of the IUCN Council will take place from 22-25 May. I will be presenting the CEESP 2010 Annual Report to Council at this meeting. The CEESP Annual Report will eventually be loaded onto the CEESP website. As always, your feedback on this newsletter would be much appreciated – please send comments to:

As always, your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please send any comments to:


Work area: 
Social Policy
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