IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 Bulletin
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Volume 89 Number 14 - 18 November 2014
IUCN WORLD PARKS CONGRESS 2014 HIGHLIGHTS
Monday, 17 November 2014

Participants attended stream sessions throughout the day on the eight themes of governance, climate change, health and wellbeing, human life, conservation goals, indigenous culture, sustainable development, and the new generation. In the evening, a session of the World Leaders’ Dialogues titled “The Nature of Crime: The Extent and Impact of Illegal Wildlife” trade convened with leaders from conservation, non-government organizations, academia and government to share their perspectives on social equity.

STREAM SESSIONS

STREAM ONE: The IUCN World Heritage Outlook: Setting a Decade Challenge for the World Heritage Convention: Cyril Kormos, The WILD Foundation, facilitated the session, saying the World Heritage Outlook provides the first global assessment of natural World Heritage Sites. Elena Osipova IUCN World Heritage Programme, said the Conservation Outlook Assessments are used to categorize heritage sites based on values, threats and protection status of sites.

Marc Hockings, University of Queensland, discussed the IUCN Green List of Well Managed Protected Areas developed prior to the Outlook, to share successes of PAs in reaching good management standards. He also mentioned the “Enhancing Our Heritage” project, developed by IUCN and UNESCO to monitor the success of World Heritage Sites. Susan Lieberman, WCS, said her organization has contributed to the Outlook by providing scientific and technical information on 32 sites.

Julia Miranda, Londoño, National Natural Parks of Colombia, said the Outlook will enable sharing of success stories, and that the baseline data on sites forms a basis for scientific research and PA management. Stephen Morris, US National Parks Service, praised the development of the Outlook, underscoring its value in bringing additional focus to conservation and sustainability issues for management of world heritage sites. Feng Jing, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, said the tool will enable engagement with more partners, including civil society and indigenous peoples on the world heritage agenda, and further enhance the work of the World Heritage Committee.

Barbara Engels, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, moderated the discussion session. Participants highlighted the need to ensure feedback and comments from other stakeholders. They agreed that the impacts of climate change or war should not be used as indicators of site performance as they are beyond site managers’ control, and that the exclusion of cultural information compromises the valuation of mixed sites.

STREAM TWO: Restoring natural systems to provide resilience to climate change: The session was moderated by Fernando Camacho, National Commission for Protected Areas (CONAP), Mexico. Mike Wong, Parks Canada, underscored that well-managed ecological restoration in PAs is critical for helping ecosystems and people adapt to climate change and for building local capacities to respond to associated challenges.

Chu Van Cuong, University of Queensland, presented on wetland restoration in the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve, Vietnam. He described an area threatened by wetland fragmentation and conversion to rice and aquaculture, where previous restoration efforts had limited success.

Joyce Loza, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, described transboundary cooperation between South Africa and Lesotho for providing water services and strengthening institutions through the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project. She underscored participatory planning in effective rehabilitation of wetlands and rangelands, and how this improved community support for land-use zoning and rotational grazing.

Rajendra Khanal, IUCN, discussed the Panchase Protected Forest in Nepal, noting that success increased by promoting public, private, and community partnerships and by developing a payment scheme based on survival rate of seedlings rather than the gross number planted. He also noted the role of independent evidence-based monitoring.

Erustus Kanga, Kenya Wildlife Service, underscored that functioning, well-connected PA networks are an essential part of the global response to climate change. He discussed how habitat restoration in and near PAs enhance water storage capacity, reduce human-wildlife conflict, and deliver ecosystem services.

Edna María Carolina Jarro, National Natural Parks of Colombia, explained how restoration is monitored through a network of permanent plots across the PA system, and how Colombia is broadening the scope to include restoration of coral reefs.

Carlos Sifuentes Lugo, CONAP, highlighted the value of community workshops in: raising awareness among landowners; empowering communities to identify their concerns; and targeting priority areas for restoration and invasive species control.

STREAM THREE: Why Urban Parks Matter in Creating Healthy and Liveable Cities (Part 1): Moderator Guillermo Penalosa, 8-80 Cities, reported that by 2045, 80% of people will be living in cities, and said decisions taken today regarding city planning will impact billions of people for decades to come. He urged widespread involvement in “making the case” for parks in urban areas.

Tobias Volbert, Playscape Creations, presented on the “7 Senses Foundation” that aims to create healthier neighbourhoods and communities, and to include people with disabilities. He called for: improved design and planning of public spaces; change in regulations and policies to extend past mobility accessibility; and a greater consideration of neurodiversity and disability in the design of open spaces.

Amber Bill, Wellington City Council, explained the benefits of biophilia, or the human need for connections with nature and other forms of life. She reported on the recovery of biodiversity, enhanced quality of life, and economic growth through raised property value due to development of green belts in cities.

Lee Yi Ling, Singapore Health Promotion Board, described the role of parks in improving health through community “touch points” where people connect with each other, and in influencing healthy lifestyle habits. She cited examples of park-related health initiatives from her city, including: “Sundays at the Park” where groups exercise and families participate in games; “Community in Bloom,” where residents create small gardens to grow vegetables and flowers; and “Exercise is Medicine,” consisting of fitness corners within city parks.

Vance Martin, The WILD Foundation, presented on his organization’s vision of “wilding” cities or making them ecologically permeable and resilient. He said the organization’s mission is to create a collaborative of champions to facilitate exchange of strategies and partnerships among 12 cities to increase their natural spaces.

Fran Horsley, Parks Victoria, shared information on Melbourne’s nature-based parks, reporting that people living near open space, consistently have healthier profiles. She cited improved cognitive development of children and students with learning disabilities benefit from outdoor spaces as related benefits.

STREAM THREE: Why Urban Parks Matter in Creating Healthy and Liveable Cities (Part 2): Emily Munroe, 8-80 Cities, facilitated the session.  Bing Wen Low, National Parks Board of Singapore, discussed habitat enhancement projects for Bishan Park and sidewalks in the city aimed at enhancing biodiversity rich sceneries. He reported increased species richness, improved aesthetics and community engagement in nature conservation and citizen science.

Noel Corkery, Corkery Consulting, and Suellen Fitzgerald, Western Sydney Parklands Trust, underscored the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to integrate sustainable development and biodiversity conservation in urban parks, and to create platforms for social cohesion of multicultural communities.

Myron Floyd, North Carolina State University, presented the “Get Up, Get Out and Go” (GGG) campaign in the  Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which targets disadvantaged communities, and aims to create healthy recreational and physical activities through park visits. He underscored the need for innovative ideas and engagement opportunities in order for parks to remain relevant to community’s needs.

Richard Fuller, University of Queensland, noted that children in Brisbane are spending more time indoors than maximum-security prisoners. He presented results from a joint study between ecologists and health scientists, and underscored that understanding barriers to interaction with nature is more important than building new parks in Brisbane, saying that for low-income people nature phobia is a major barrier.

Robert Moseley, The Nature Conservancy, presented the successes of the Chicago Wilderness organization in connecting people with nature, outlining programmes, which reconnect children to nature. He highlighted the development of the “Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Plan for Nature” to advise the city on integrating nature conservation and people.

Vanessa Trowell, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, said that urban parks are now evolving from single to multi-function uses, and that landscape architecture is providing innovative opportunities for multiple use public spaces, including play areas, dog walk areas and other recreational services.

STREAM FOUR: Ecosystem Restoration and PAs: Delivering Socio-Economic and Environmental Benefits: Kyran Thelen, IUCN, introduced the session.

Referring to the ‘Bonn Challenge’ to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands worldwide, Gretchen Walters, IUCN, highlighted the possibilities for rapid returns on landscape and ecosystem restoration efforts. She said that in densely populated countries, restoration can support biodiversity corridors, with riverine forests providing connectivity.

On recovery from natural disasters, Nicholas Hill, Zoological Society of London, presented research showing that mangrove replanting efforts to increase resilience have often been ineffective, due to inappropriate siting and plant selection, and the continuing increase in fishponds for aquaculture. He recommended prioritizing protection of recovering and natural mangrove stands; restoring former mangrove habitats previously converted to fishponds; and applying best available scientific standards for all replanting.

Mark Webb, Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, Western Australia, presented a restoration project in the arid lands of the Al Hisseya Natural Area north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He described “seed orchards” as an approach to landscape restoration.

Agus Utomo, Burung Indonesia (BirdLife), presented village resource management agreements by local communities. He noted that on-the-ground management of sites in Indonesia is often lacking, and that working with community groups such as cooperatives and farmer’s unions is key to the success of conservation efforts.

Roel Posthoorn, Natuurmonumenten, the Netherlands, presented a land reclamation project to create an island reserve, Marker Wadden, in the Markermeer, one of Europe’s largest freshwater lakes. He described underwater landscaping to direct silt for use in the reclamation process, noting that the eventual return will be restoration of the fishery and birdlife, and leisure opportunities.

Participants agreed there is a need to change the focus of stories about human ability to change the environment, and called for “on-the-ground, inspiring stories about large-scale ecological restoration.”

STREAM FIVE: Good for Business: Solutions through Sustainable Sourcing and Supply Chains: This session showcased examples of sustainable supply chain-related initiatives and practices from across the world, and their relation to biodiversity conservation and PAs.

Session moderator Joshua Bishop, WWF-Australia, presented on the organization’s work to protect the Great Barrier Reef by promoting sustainable sugarcane production, including through technical advice to farmers and partnership with companies. He lamented that, after five years, nitrogen loads in the area have only decreased by 10%, compared to the estimated required level of 80%.

Petrus Gunarso, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited, presented on his company’s sustainable forest management policies in Indonesia, which include the aim of one hectare of conserved land per planted hectare.

Helen Crowley, Kering Group, suggested that natural capital accounting: helps companies value and locate environmental impact; enables comparability across types of impacts; and provides different stakeholder groups with “a common context” for seeking solutions.

Presenting on an initiative in Luangwa Valley, Zambia, James Deutsch, Community Markets for Conservation, explained how a model combining conservation farming and access to markets has increased average income, improved food security, provided alternative jobs to poachers and resulted in a “renaissance” of wildlife in the valley.

Brian Jones, Blue Ventures, shared experiences of working with coastal communities in Madagascar to restore fish stocks, including through establishing locally-managed marine areas and creating alternative sources of income.

Adriana Moreira, World Bank, outlined factors that have supported the reduction of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, including integrated resource management, law enforcement, and interventions in supply chains. She said simultaneous efficiency improvements in agriculture have led to economic growth in the region.

During a panel discussion and throughout the session, presenters highlighted some useful tools and success factors for sustainable value chains, including: multi-stakeholder partnerships; measurement for demonstrating impact; certification; voluntary market standards; market signals; companies’ internal vision in driving sustainability; and prioritization of local needs.

STREAM SEVEN: Assessing and certifying Indigenous Knowledge of Tracking in African Conservation and Protected Areas: Moderator Nigel Crawhall, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee, introduced Alfred Chedau, Khwe elder and tracker, and Thaddeus Chadau, both of the Bwabwata people from Namibia. They presented on their experiences in traditional methods of tracking wild animals, emphasizing the importance of transferring traditional knowledge inter-generationally, while lamenting that this knowledge is not regarded by government as a serious qualification, and that young people are therefore not interested in acquiring the skill sets.

Friedrich Alpers, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation, Namibia, presented experiences of working with indigenous trackers to educate the younger generation in traditional knowledge and accredit experienced trackers. He highlighted the effectiveness of the project in restoring dignity to the older generation and addressing social fragmentation and alcoholism.

On Namibia’s acceptance of commercial hunting, Crawhall noted that while some of the proceeds are directed to community infrastructure such as schools and clinics, there have not been corresponding efforts to create alternative livelihood opportunities, related to commercial hunting. He noted that safari companies are calling for assessment and accreditation of qualified trackers, while many traditional knowledge holders are being excluded from parks, and those with formal education who are getting the jobs “can’t tell one tree from another.”

A participant asked whether schooling for indigenous youth is recommended, since it erodes indigenous knowledge. Chadau said both formal schooling and indigenous knowledge are needed. Crawhall said that a Khwe dictionary has been developed, and that traditional knowledge could become part of the school curriculum.

 STREAM EIGHT: The Urban Gateway: Sparking an Interest in Nature Among The World’s City-Dwellers: David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat moderated the session. After short interventions, each presenter led individual round-tables that captured experiences from the audience on each of the eight topics.

Kathy Eyles, Australian National University, and Jasmine Foxlee, Australian Capital Territory Parks and Conservation Service, discussed: engaging volunteers through the ParkCare Programme; recruiting youth volunteers; and how volunteerism creates a sense of community.

Marcia Pradines, US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), presented on urban wildlife refuge, including how FWS implements: eight standards of excellence; evaluation measures; and partnerships with municipalities to engage new audiences and develop “conservation constituencies.”

Ellen Bertrand, Parks Canada, talked about the creation of Rouge National Urban Park, within a 1-hour commute of 20% of Canada’s population, saying it is envisioned as a gateway to inspire new generations to connect with nature and the broader PA system. She led a joint roundtable with Daniel Raven-Ellison, National Geographic, which looked at “unlocking the potential of cities around the world.” Raven-Ellison explained that 80 organizations have come together to develop the Greater London National Park to capitalize on the city’s “green grid” and find creative ways to develop relationships with nature “on people’s doorsteps.”

Alexander MacDonald, Nature Canada, led a discussion on: breaking visitors’ perceived barriers to venturing into parks; focusing on stewardship at the neighborhood level; multi-lingual programming; and using Important Bird Areas to educate youth and promote citizen science on migrating wildlife.

Collin O’Mara-Green, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, explored outreach conducted by natural history museums and creative ways to “create first contact” with urban populations and youth.

Mark Graham, Canadian Museum of Nature, presented on the museum’s popular “Nature Nocturne,” party events that target 19-35 year-olds to explore the museum and share the experience on social media. He led a roundtable on the potential of large floor maps to orient people with their surrounding green spaces.

Tiago Pinto-Pereira, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, led a discussion on how to do outreach that affects changes in consumption and behavior choices.

WORLD LEADERS’ DIALOGUES

The Nature of Crime: The Extent and Impact of Illegal Wildlife Trade: Opening the event, Paul Rose, Vice President, Royal Geographical Society, described wildlife crime as “a battle on all fronts.”

Noting the international organized crime dimension of wildlife crime, and stressing there is “no silver bullet,” WWF Director General Marco Lambertini outlined ways to stop buying, traffic and poaching.

Lee White, Director, Gabon National Parks Service, described how the shift in poaching to organized criminal groups has transformed wildlife crime into an issue of national political priority, due to related security and economic impacts.

Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment, Australia, described his country’s work to stop poaching domestically, and to support international efforts, including through satellite monitoring.

Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, stressed the importance of communities seeing “more value in a live animal than a dead one,” and emphasized the importance of integrated strategies that incorporate law enforcement and community engagement.

Mary Rice, Head, Environmental Investigation Agency, stressed the need for cooperation across ministries and agencies based on a shared understanding that wildlife crime is a national issue.

Sean Willmore, President, International Ranger Federation, called for proper training and supply of equipment to rangers, and stressed the need to protect and increase the self-respect of rangers, including as a strategy to combat corruption.

On combating corruption, Widodo Ramono, Executive Director, Rhino Foundation of Indonesia, suggested working with local communities, and using the press for communicating on prosecutions.

John Scanlon, Secretary-General, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), underscored the need to apply similar techniques and technologies as those used to combat other types of crime, such as the “controlled delivery” method and use of modern forensics.

Rosie Cooney, Chair, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, drew attention to the evolution of rights of indigenous peoples and the role of local communities in protecting and stewarding natural resources. On legal trade, she noted that “the black market is hemorrhaging ivory from Africa” to supply demand stimulated by regulated domestic markets.

Nadya Hutagalung, Co-founder, Let Elephants Be Elephants, and Lambertini stressed the need for targeted messages, including to “individuals not converted” and specific consumer audiences, and working on social acceptability.

On inputs to the “Promise of Sydney” outcome, panelists mentioned, inter alia: the importance of political support at the highest level; governance; implementation of laws and policies; championing and supporting rangers; mobilizing resources for fighting the illegal trade in wildlife; coordination at all levels, from subnational to international; focusing on community engagement and positioning wildlife as an important land use; support and funds for education in countries driving demand, in particular in Asia; and working through the UN.

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The IUCN World Congress Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Camellia Ibrahim, Mari Luomi, Ph.D., Suzi Malan, Dorothy Wanja Nyingi, Ph.D., and Delia Paul. The Digital Editor is Brad Vincelette. The Editor is Brett Wertz <brett@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Global Environment Facility-United Nations Development Programme, The Helmsley Charitable Trust, and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://enb.iisd.org/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, New York 10022, USA. The IISD team at the World Parks Congress 2014 can be contacted by e-mail at <suzi@iisd.org>.
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