WCEL Chair Antonio Benjamin, CEESP Chair Kristen Walker-Painemilla, and CEC Chair Sean Southey attended the Communities, Conservation & Livelihoods Conference in Halifax, Canada from 28-30 May 2018.
Attended by over 400 participants, the “Communities, Conservation & Livelihoods Conference”, organized by the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy − CEESP, provided participants with the opportunity to network and learn about IUCN’s efforts to engage with indigenous peoples. It also highlighted environmental and livelihood challenges facing communities and approaches to achieving success in conservation and in securing sustainable livelihoods. The Conference brought together people from diverse backgrounds, including community representatives, researchers, Indigenous organizations, governments, legal experts, and nongovernmental organizations. Over fifty Special Sessions covered a wide range of themes, featuring many communities and organizations around the world, together with over 140 individual presentations, organized into thematic sessions. Presentations with an indigenous focus featured strongly over the three days as did themes such as indigenous and local knowledge; collaboration and conflict resolution; governance and rights; women, gender and youth, judges and indigenous peoples, and Marine Protected Areas and spatial management. The Conference also included many thought-provoking films, photo exhibits, and art installations, as well as an interactive creative arts recycling workshop.
Several Indigenous People’s Organizations (IPOs) who are IUCN Members offered their views on the benefits of IUCN Membership. Other IUCN Members presented information about the benefits of joining the Union included: Kristen Walker-Painemilla (CEESP Chair), Sean Southey (CEC Chair), Nadine Crookes (Board Member of the Canada National Committee of IUCN Members), Rick Bates (IUCN Councilor), and Stewart Maginnis (IUCN Global Director, Nature-Based Solutions Group).
The Conference also celebrated the Seventieth Anniversary of IUCN. WCEL Chair Antonio Benjamin commented: “This Conference was an extraordinary global gathering that demonstrated strong collaboration across the Commissions, the benefits of integrating indigenous members in the IUCN family, and the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to conservation success. I want to extend my congratulations to CEESP Chair Kristen Walker-Painemilla and her team for putting together a first class gathering in a spectacular location.”