Planning for the IUCN Congress and International Year of Biodiversity

Two time-sensitve areas of activity were discussed by participants at the April 2010 CEC Steering Committe Meeting in Aviemore, Scotland. CEC is making plans for the 2012 IUCN Congress in Korea. And CEC wants people to care and to take action in the International Year of Biodiversity -- Futerra has some great ideas.

Planning for Congress. A flip chart from small group work at the CEC Steering Committee Meeting

A. The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012 is an opportunity to showcase CEC work, share innovative learning experiences, initiate new partnerships and provide learning services. Participants proposed a number of activities.

Planning for the IUCN Congress:

  1. Identify and start relations with new partners for strategic dialogues to draw new sectors to the Congress (e.g. the private sector for greening the economy, or food and agriculture);
  2. Apply to the IUCN Secretariat for CEC to host the Learning Opportunities programme and marshal expertise from the network to run these capacity building workshops;
  3. Renew the ‘Buddy’ experiment partnering young people with mentors in Intergenerational Partnerships for Sustainability, leading up to and including Congress as its theme, this time with the participation of all Commissions;
  4. Plan an incentive to support young people to attend, through a subsidy on fees, e.g. ‘Blog It Earn It’ to sponsor bloggers to participate in and document Congress;
  5. Work with IUCN Members to prepare motions to support the CEC agenda to present at the Congress;
  6. Develop South Korea networks to organize local CEPA events during the Congress.

During the IUCN Congress:

  1.  Hold strategic dialogue sessions at the IUCN Forum on new emerging themes such as  agriculture, food, soil and population;
  2. Develop scenarios on war/peace games about climate change and security with the project 'Climate Change and the Military’ and NGOs looking at disaster relief;
  3. Launch/unveil the IUCN World Conservation Institute;
  4. Hold dialogues with journalists to expose them to the thinking such as Futerra’s findings on climate change communication;
  5. Ask CEC members to hold a Knowledge Café, a social media forum event;
  6. Ask young professionals to help with CEC stand;
  7. Award CEC prizes during the CEC meeting as incentives for action in the regions and in specialty groups, and perhaps to recognize journalism reporting;
  8. Profile CEC work on Sustainability Centres and greening campuses.

Next steps:

  • Create a group of people to start concentrating on Congress planning; 
  • Adapt existing Congress manual into a small CEC manual to provide guidance on how to prepare for Commission engagement at Congress.

B. CEC wants people to care and to take action in the International Year of Biodiversity.

Guest speaker Laurie Bennet of Futerra Sustainability Communications gave a compelling presentation on communicating biodiversity to inspire people to care and take action.  He shared some of the lessons that Futerra has learned about messaging:  keep it simple; don’t use guilt; don’t talk about sacrifice or fear; don’t be boring. 

He encouraged CEC to promote messages that:

  • Make connections between people and nature;
  • Tell visionary stories, putting emotion into scientific data;
  • Focus on the opportunities of biodiversity conservation;
  • Use humour and enthusiasm to catalyze action; and
  • Thank those who act.

Futerra worked with the Secretariate for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to develop a series of messages to be disseminated widely during the International Year for Biodiversity (IYB). These messages were developed in extensive consultation with CEC members: see  The messages are generic, but deliberately so.  CEC Regional Vice-Chairs and National Activators are encouraged to adapt these for local use and our own contexts. A suggestion was made to develop a CEC ‘message box’ where members could provide examples of how they shared the IYB messages and the resulting impact.

CEC members are encouraged to use the IYB logo whenever communicating CEC work, to disseminate it as widely as possible. Find the logo at  When using the logo, inform CBD by email to or to

To gain leverage for biodiversity messages and promote the International Year of Biodiversity CEC members are encouraged to link biodiversity messages to other topical issues in the media such as climate change, livelihoods, or the economy. For example forest conservation is an important means of limiting carbon emissions and releasing carbon into the atmosphere.    


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