Note from the CEESP Chair

CEESP Note from the Chair -- Kristen Walker-Painemilla

It has been a fruitful 2018 for CEESP so far. The last half of 2017 and first quarter of 2018 has focused on our partnership with the Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) and planning for the Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods Conference that will take place in Halifax, Canada, May 28th-30th. We are very pleased with the conference development and the engagement of IUCN family in the conference, from CEESP through the 5 other Commissions, to the IUCN secretariat and IUCN members. We had originally envisioned a conference of 250-300 participants, and we now have over 400 participants registered. 

In addition to conference preparation, we have been working very closing with the IUCN Secretariat through the new Global Rights and Governance program (GPGR), which has a focus on Gender, Human Rights and Conservation, the Natural Resource Governance Framework and the Indigenous Peoples engagement.

Group picture of the Resolution 80 meeting

Group photo for Resolution 80

In particular, we partnered with GPGR to facilitate a meeting of IUCN’s Indigenous members. If you recall, a landmark decision was reached for indigenous peoples and conservation at the IUCN Members Assembly at the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in 2016. As a result, a new separate category of membership for Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations was created. As part of that process, GPGR and CEESP collaborated with 17 IUCN IPO Member organizations to convene a meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica this past March. Led by the IPO Members, the meeting successfully led to the development of the first IPO Member-led strategy. As a complement to the strategy, Yeshing Upon with the Association Sotzil in Guatemala, gave the statement on behalf of IUCN and the IPO Member organizations at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in April, highlighting these advances in recognition and strategy. This was the first time IPO Members spoke on behalf of IUCN.  Please see the articles in the CEESP May 2018 newsletter for more details. Special thanks to Ame Ramos, Deputy Chair CEESP, Lorena Aquilar, Director Global Programme on Rights and Governance, Kaia Boe, Program Officer GPGR and Ceclia Steele with GPGR.

We also supported work on Resolution 80: System of categories for indigenous collective management areas in Central America. This builds on efforts from October where an initial meeting was held supported by IUCN’s ORMACC office with IPO Members from Mesoamerica (who are the proponents of the resolution). The purpose of the meeting was to reflect and orient proponents of the resolution to the process, and create a timeline to work on the resolution. In March CEESP and ORMACC supported IPO Members to host a meeting on the resolution in Panama hosted by the Fundacion para la Promocion Indigena in Kuna community of USTUPO. The meeting yielded the development of a concept of an Indigenous system of Protected Areas that would be inclusive of IUCN categories but would reflect indigenous concepts of collective management. Members are finalizing this concept and will engage in discussions with WCPA later in the year. As the meeting was hosted by the Kuna, we were also welcomed to participate in the celebration of the Kuna revolution with the community. It was wonderful to see how the Kuna maintain their rich history and ensure its passed from generation to generation.

Dancing Kuna Women Kuna Revolution Celebration credit Kristen Walker Photo: Kristen Walker-Painemilla

Work on the Natural Resource Governance Framework (NRGF) continues to move forward.  Through the efforts of GPGR, we have secured financing for a second phase of NRGF. Jenny Springer, Chair of NRGF has worked to establish a new working group and reach out to members working closely with GPGR. Activities planned for this year with GPGR are a “correspondence” analysis of major IUCN global initiatives with significant governance dimensions; refining and further developing the NRG Framework and related technical materials with inputs from working groups and wider theme membership, and to prepare training materials and conduct NRGF regional workshops (proposed for East & Southern Africa).

Former CEESP Chair, Aroha Te Pareake Mead was part of the IUCN delegation at the 6th Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Plenary which took place in Medellin, Colombia from 17-24 March. Aroha followed 'Nature's Contribution to People', Indigenous and Local Knowledge and the Asia-Pacific Assessment.  IPBES released 4 regional assessments covering the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and Africa. The reports provide a sobering perspective on the continued decline of biodiversity. IPBES-6 also allowed for the release of an assessment of land degradation and restoration. For more information please see Aroha’s article in the newsletter.

In March, we also saw ongoing attacks on Environmental Defenders  and in particular on UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Vicky Tauli Corpuz, along with other key leaders in the Philippines. I worked with  IUCN Director General, Inger Anderson on a response from IUCN. I also want to direct you to the recent article in the New York Times on Vicky Tauli Corpuz,  She Stands Up to Power.

Through the CEESP Theme on Business, Best Practice and Accountability, chaired by Masego Madzwamuse and the Theme on Governance, Equity and Rights, chaired by Jenny Springer, we are in the process of carving out a body of work on the issues regarding Environmental Defenders, and the team is focusing on putting together a special addition of Policy Matters that will engage the commission, members and the secretariat.

The 94th Meeting of the IUCN Council took place from 29 April – 2 May 2018 in Gland, Switzerland. Main conversations focused on looking toward the future in terms of the process for IUCN’s Programme Development and the IUCN Congress and Members Assembly in 2020.

As announced on Friday, France will be the host of the next IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC), in 2020. The French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition and IUCN signed an agreement to jointly organize the next IUCN WCC, to be held in 2020 in Marseille.

As always, Commission Chairs convened prior to Council to share work, ideas, and to foster collaboration. Currently, we have multiple collaborations happening across commissions from specialist groups, task forces, work on culture, expansion of work on education, communication and so forth. Our main area of focus is the upcoming CBD meeting in Egypt and organizing a joint event across the Commissions. In addition, Sean Southey, Chair CEC and Antonio Benjamin, Chair, WCEL will both be in attendance at the Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods conference engaged in several sessions.

IUCN Commission Chairs credit Sean Southey Photo: Sean Southey

Finally, I wanted to let you know that the IUCN Secretariat established a Commission Support Unit (CSU) to support all six commissions.  The services of the CSU include, amongst others, support for the processing of Commission memberships, management of the Commission membership database, financial management for Commission Operating Funds, logistical support, and support for Commission communications. One of the main areas that we have been working on with them is how to improve the membership process across the commissions, as it has been very complicated, and the overall turnaround time has been extremely long. In the future, you will see a more streamlined process for membership application and approval.

There are still so many things that I could report on, so I continue to encourage you to submit reports, stories and blogs so that we may continue to post them to the CEESP site and on Facebook.

Thank you for all of your efforts and engagement in IUCN and the work you do every day! I look forward to seeing many of you in Halifax and engaging with others as I travel to the regions. 

With regards to the Communities, Conservation & Livelihoods Conference, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and long hours that CEESP Deputy Chair, Ame Ramos Castillo has put into the conference and in particular the program. Also to Iben Munck, CEESP Executive Officer, Jon Scheller, CEESP Financial officer and to the CEESP Steering Committee for the abstract reviews and all of their session preparations. And I can’t forget our partners at CCRN, Dr. Tony Charles and Renee Field. We will be reporting more on the conference via our CEESP page on the IUCN website, Facebook, Twitter, and a special newsletter on the conference itself. Please stay tuned and I look forward to seeing many of you in Halifax!

Kristen Walker Painemilla

CEESP Chairs 2016-2020

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