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IUCN Congress Bulletin

Volume 39 Number 18 | Sunday, 4 September 2016


The IUCN World Conservation Congress

Saturday, 3 September 2016 | Honolulu, US


Language: EN (HTML/PDF) FR (HTML/PDF) SP (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB+ Meeting Coverage from Honolulu, US at: http://enb.iisd.org/iucn/congress/2016/

On Saturday, the Forum continued drawing participants into exploring solutions to some of the planet’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges, including through: achieving the conservation imperative for sustainable development; engaging Pacific youth as future environmental and cultural leaders; and making pledges towards achieving the Bonn Challenge.

THE SDGS JOURNEY: ACHIEVING THE CONSERVATION IMPERATIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Inger Andersen, IUCN, said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be utilized to foster collaboration between the development and conservation worlds. Jeffrey Sachs, The Earth Institute, called for ‘social rationality,’ which implies breaking globalized indifference and then making rational decisions for long-term planning.

James Watson, Wildlife Conservation Society, stressed the need for: ecologically sensible targets for protection and restoration; improving current Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) targets; and protecting the last remaining globally intact ecosystems. Celeste Conners, Hawai‘i Green Growth, said the best solutions are “in the middle” – in between: public and private sectors; communities and industry; and individuals and the community.

Nestor Batio Bassiere, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Green Economy of Burkina Faso, underscored the importance of political leadership for implementing the SDGs. Xavier Sticker, French Ambassador for the Environment, underscored that resilience is about both communities and environment. Hugh Possingham, University of Queensland, stressed the need for better metrics and more specific goals for conservation.

To promote investment in conservation, Catherine Novelli, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, stressed the need to move from high-risk to low-risk profit endeavors. Julie Ann Wrigley, Wrigley Investments, identified three areas businesses should focus on: the SDGs relevant for their work; partnerships; and scaling up successful projects. Jan Olsson, Swedish Ambassador for Environment and Oceans, stressed the importance of gender equality for SDG implementation and conservation projects.

LISTEN TO YOUNG VOICES: ENGAGING PACIFIC YOUTH AS FUTURE ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL LEADERS THROUGH CREATIVE EXPRESSION

Takiora Ingram, Pacific Writers’ Connection, moderated the workshop, which explored creative tools for communicating environmental issues and concerns. Panelists highlighted creative writing, poetry and music programs throughout the Pacific Islands, with Ingram emphasizing that the future of conservation and environmental leadership lies firmly in the hands of future generations. Ingram described My Hawaiʻi Story Contest, an annual environmental writing contest for middle school students from across the state. Robert Pennybacker, Pubic Broadcasting Service Hawai‘i, outlined his weekly student news show, HIKI NŌ, which mentors students across Hawai‘i in professional journalism and compelling storytelling. Hoku Subiono, HIKI NŌ graduate, described and screened his news report on sustainable fishing in a South Kona village on Hawai‘i Island.

Joni Mae Makuakāne-Jarrell, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, underscored the importance of connecting culture and science in her work, noting “Hawaiians were there long before the national park was thought of.” Through participatory music writing and performing, Kenneth Makuakāne, musician, illustrated how conversation should be relevant and dynamic.

Craig Santos Perez, University of Hawaiʻi, read his poems about food, globalization, refugees, elephants, trees and the ocean. He illustrated how Pacific Island literature can help teach us to listen, as well as promote environmental literacy. The ensuing discussions considered how to empower youth to tell their stories in their own language and own way.

KEY BIODIVERSITY AREAS (KBA) PARTNERSHIP

During a press conference announcing the partnership of eleven organizations to identify key areas for biodiversity conservation, Patricia Zurita, BirdLife International, said the KBA standards would support governments and the private sector to minimize impacts of development on nature. Marco Lambertini, World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) International, added that KBAs also facilitate policies for planning safeguards. Jane Smart, IUCN, said the KBA standards would support Aichi Target 11 (protected areas) by providing information on habitats recognized as KBAs.

In the ensuing discussion, Smart noted that expert and local level engagement would enable inclusion of all taxa. Tim Stowe, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), said the main challenge is marine biodiversity knowledge gaps. Gustavo Fonseca, the GEF, reported prioritization of projects at the country level. M. Sanjayan, University of British Columbia, said even though all places on the planet are important, KBAs prioritize areas requiring intervention within the next five to ten years.

MAKING ECOSYSTEM-BASED ADAPTATION (EBA) EFFECTIVE: EVIDENCE FROM THE FIELD TO IMPROVE POLICY AND PRACTICE

Ali Raza Rizvi, IUCN, said the objective of the workshop was to learn from each other about how to make EBA effective.

On criteria and principles for and multiple benefits of EBA, Shaun Martin, WWF, highlighted that the criteria for EBA are climate change, people and nature. Angela Andrade, Conservation International, outlined key principles for EBA including, inter alia: promoting resilience of societies and ecosystems; multi-sectoral approaches; operating at multiple geographical scales; flexible management structures that enable adaptive management; and basing decisions on the best available science and local knowledge. Sakhile Koketso, CBD Secretariat, highlighted that cooperation among ecosystems, adaptation, development and disaster risk reduction communities allow for interventions that deliver multiple benefits.

On tools, Ed Barrow, IUCN, presented the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems as a tool which assesses ecosystems and drivers of change. He highlighted its power for informing action for conservation, restoration and evaluation. Presenting the Theory of Change for Community-based Conservation tool, Kate Mannle, Rare, said it aims to help practitioners understand how to change people’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior to reduce threats and reach a conservation result that benefits people and nature. Adam Whelchel, The Nature Conservancy, presented a coastal resilience and natural solutions toolkit. He said innovative web-mapping tools can support decision-making in identifying nature-based adaptation and risk mitigation solutions.

On effectiveness of EBA, Xiaoting Hou Jones, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), introduced the report, Ecosystem-based Approaches to Adaptation: Strengthening the Evidence and Informing Policy, and said it aims to gather evidence about where EBA is effective. On assessing effectiveness of EBA for food and water security, Carlos Flores, Salvadoran Ecological Unit (UNES), presented an EBA case study in El Salvador. Marta Perez, IUCN, outlined lessons learned on assessing effectiveness, such as the need for deep characterization and description of EBA projects. Regarding “no-regrets” measures, Jorge Recharte, the Mountain Institute, said if designed right, such EBA projects should have a positive impact under any future climate scenario.

Participants engaged in several small group sessions throughout the workshop.

NEW BONN CHALLENGE PLEDGES - PASSING THE 100 MILLION HECTARES MILESTONE

Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, Bianca Jagger, IUCN’s Global Ambassador for the Bonn Challenge, Clement Chilima, Forest Department, Malawi, and Martin Keller, Latin American Alliance of Private Reserves, Guatemala, reported on progress of the Bonn Challenge - a global initiative to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. Maginnis emphasized the complementarity of the land and forest restoration initiative and efforts to reduce deforestation. Chilima announced Malawi’s pledge to restore 4.5 million hectares of land by 2030. Keller announced a pledge by private landowners to restore 40 thousand hectares of a natural reserve in Guatemala. Emphasizing the initiative as an important tool for addressing climate change, Jagger applauded 113 million hectares of pledges reached to date, including from governments at the national and sub-national levels, companies, and landowners.

CONSERVATION 2.0: EMPOWERING NEXT GENERATIONS

On new approaches to promote conservation of nature, Justin Bogardus, Filmmaker, Producer, Director, Editor, shared a video demonstrating that nature can be “marketed” to create empowering messages of its value. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, shared experiences in youth empowerment through linking traditional knowledge with sciences. Bruno Monteferri, Founder, Director, Conservamos por Naturaleza, Peru, presented a video navigating overcoming challenges through personal narratives and collaboration. Alison Sudol, Musician, Actress, IUCN Goodwill Ambassador, shared efforts to use her “spotlight” to direct attention to conservation and youth.

In a panel on integrated approaches to empowerment, Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, spoke of her movement, Roots & Shoots, aimed to overcome apathy and depression by encouraging each person in the 150,000 participating groups to know that their choice has an impact. Anne Walton, International Marine Protected Area Management Capacity Building Program, shared vertical and horizontal approaches to institutionalizing capacity building for leadership, describing the connection between individual strengths, passion and knowledge for collaborative leadership. Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service, US, reported positive results from strategies to engage millennials and build a generation of advocates for conservation.

WESTERN GRAY WHALE ADVISORY PANEL (WGWAP)

Chairing the press conference, Giulia Carbone, IUCN, explained that WGWAP has been advising Sakhalin Energy since 2004 on oil and gas operations off Sakhalin Island to reduce impacts to endangered western gray whales. Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, reported that the population has increased from 115 to 174 whales since the panel’s inception, and underscored the panel’s principles of independence, transparency, accountability, and engagement. Douglas Nowacek, Duke University, emphasized the need for independent observers in seismic surveys, and expressed concern about cumulative impacts. Deric Quaile, Shell Global Solutions, said WGWAP has helped advance best practices for critical activities. Azzedine Downes, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), praised WGWAP as an emerging example of stakeholders committed to working together. Wendy Elliott, WWF, emphasized the role of financial institutions and called on Exxon to join the panel to address concerns regarding their operations. Panelists highlighted the need for long-term funding, the importance of trust-building, and data-sharing protocols on ownership and use.

INCORPORATING CLIMATE ADAPTATION INTO AGENCY-LEVEL PLANNING IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS REGION

Laura Brewington, East-West Center, moderated the session.

Sam Lemmo, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Chip Fletcher, University of Hawaiʻi (UH), reported on an Interagency Climate Adaption Committee, which will soon publish a sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report.

Rick Camp, UH, presented research in support of resource managers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. He explained how climate modeling in combination with models of plant species distribution can be used to forecast suitable habitat range under future climate conditions. Clay Trauernicht, UH, shared experiences with raising public awareness about wild fires to reduce fire management costs. He noted that climate change-induced droughts increase the likelihood of wildfires, which threaten ecosystems and communities in the Pacific.

Christin Reynolds, Hawai‘i Green Growth, explained that climate adaptation in Hawaiʻi would benefit from “diverse implementation action [by] allowing for high-level politicians and on-the-ground tree planters to be part of the story.” As key to success, she highlighted: public private partnerships linked with high-level political support; transparency of progress with public dashboards; and collective impacts to solve complex problems, such as fresh water security. The session concluded with an introduction to the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment website, which provides stakeholders with resources, including climate change impact assessment reports, case studies, data and various climate tools.

INCORPORATING CLIMATE ADAPTATION INTO AGENCY-LEVEL PLANNING IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS REGION

Laura Brewington, East-West Center, moderated the session. Sam Lemmo, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Chip Fletcher, University of Hawaiʻi (UH), reported on an Interagency Climate Adaption Committee, which will soon publish a sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report.

Rick Camp, UH, presented research in support of resource managers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. He explained how climate modeling in combination with models of plant species distribution can be used to forecast suitable habitat range under future climate conditions. Clay Trauernicht, UH, shared experiences with raising public awareness about wild fires to reduce fire management costs. He noted that “climate change-induced” droughts increase the likelihood of wildfires, which threaten ecosystems and communities in the Pacific.

Christin Reynolds, Hawai‘i Green Growth, explained that climate adaptation in Hawaiʻi would benefit from “diverse implementation action, allowing for high-level politicians and on-the-ground tree planters to be part of the story.” As key to success, she highlighted: public-private partnerships linked with high-level political support; transparency of progress with public dashboards; and collective impacts to solve complex problems, such as fresh water security. The session concluded with an introduction to the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment website, which provides stakeholders with resources, including climate change impact assessment reports, case studies, data and various climate tools.

GLOBAL COMMONS – SOLUTIONS FOR A CROWDED PLANET

This session, introduced by Naoko Ishii, the GEF, focused on the global commons, with presentations on: evidence of the need for radical, transformative shifts to avoid transgressing planetary tipping points; conditions needed for transformation; and large scale, widespread shifts that are already underway.

Defining global commons as biomes, biodiversity and biogeochemical systems of earth, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, presented graphs showing exponential deterioration in global commons such as, inter alia, carbon emissions, water use, energy consumption, ocean acidification, domesticated land and deforestation.

Penny Langhammer, IUCN, demonstrated the real impact of conservation action in the food-water-energy nexus. She reported that meta-reviews of conservation outcomes show positive impacts on nature, concluding that conservation is helping maintain natural capital needed to deliver sustainability solutions.

Andrew Steer, President, World Resources Institute, presented on emerging and potential positive tipping points for global commons. He emphasized that the conditions needed for such transformative change are: evidence of the problem that is well communicated; multi-stakeholder coalitions; leadership; citizen action; demonstration that solutions are possible; and political, social and technological opportunities.

Gustavo Fonseca, the GEF, moderated a panel on shaping the science and policy agenda to catalyze transformational change. Peter Bakker, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, called for language that engages business. Aroha Mead, IUCN, noted that conservation actions, such as protected areas, often exclude indigenous and local communities.

Ensuing discussion noted: how language on global commons can be more inclusive; climate is a factor in human displacement; and the value of nature should not be primarily economic.

EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS: ENDING WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING

Inger Andersen, Director General (DG), IUCN, pointed out that illegal wildlife trade is a serious threat to biodiversity globally, and progress is being made through UN resolutions and recommendations.

Moderator Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International, framed panel discussions, reporting that illegal trade happens on an industrial scale at US$20 billion a year.

Cristián Samper, President and CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society, explained that increased awareness, political will and funding are improving and can end illegal trade by stopping trafficking and demand.

Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, US, linked conservation and security, outlining the US holistic approach to work in mutually reinforcing ways to stop poaching, transit and demand through international collaboration.

Jesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community, shared experiences and progress in drafting regional strategies to combat poaching and illegal trade through law enforcement and capacity building.

Nyi Nyi Kyaw, DG, Forest Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar, reiterated the importance of raising awareness and education in local communities as well as building capacity in customs and law enforcement.

Marco Lambertini, DG, WWF International, spoke about the power of social marketing directed at consumers to reduce demand and mobilize the general public.

John Scanlon, Secretary General, CITES, clarified the need to work in an international consortium with specialized agencies working against crime and corruption so that wildlife crime is treated as a serious felony. 

During ensuing discussions, panelists discussed the need to, inter alia: share good practices; address corruption; reduce demand; and engage local communities.

HERITAGE HEROES AWARDS

Bibhuti Lahkar, Heritage Hero nominee, presented his work on the Manas Tiger Reserve and his efforts in the area of capacity building for local youth, NGOs, and ex-poachers. ‎Yulia Naberezhnaya, Heritage Hero nominee, presented her work on the Western Caucaus and spoke about her life mission to protect humans’ common heritage. Bantu Lukambo, Heritage Hero nominee, ‎presented his work on the Virunga National Park. He highlighted the challenges posed by the wildlife trafficking networks and oil companies, with many activists and NGO workers facing abduction, torture and death threats that lead to exile, while stressing also their commitment to protect wildlife no matter the risks. He called for the UN to take measures for treating environmental crimes as crimes against humanity. The organizers then announced Bibhuti Lahkar the winner of the Heritage Hero Award, based on an online voting process.