Comments from the Chair (Issue 10 - May 2012)

10 May 2012 | News story

In a few weeks, over 120 heads of State and 50,000+ people will be gathering in Rio de Janeiro for Rio+20, the 20 th anniversary of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit. A document entitled ‘The Future We Want' is to become the main political output of Rio+20 and negotiations have been ongoing.

There are some areas of consensus, such as recognition that a more sustainable economy must be built on a strong and healthy natural resource base, and that broad participation of civil society in decision-making at all levels through access to information and public participation, is essential for sustainable development and good governance, but there remain many areas of disagreement.

These include; the human right to clean water, the right of everyone to be free from hunger, the role of the Green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development and pretty much everything to do with any ‘rights' that are not the rights of states to have full control of the resources within their national boundaries. As far as disagreements go, these are big ones and we c an only hope that common sense and a shared global commitment to the dignity of peoples and respect for the integrity of nature will prevail, after all the ‘future we all want' is too important to leave to others to decide for us. 

IUCN is sending a delegation and several CEESP members will be participating in activities at Rio+20.  For information on IUCN's perspectives on Rio+20, including a checklist of issues that need to be addressed, refer http://www.iucn.org/news_homepage/events/iucn___rio___20/

Soon after Rio+20, the World Conservation Congress will be taking place in Jeju, South Korea.  CEESP has a full schedule of events planned and more information about CEESP @ WCC can be found in this newsletter. Please let us know if you are attending the WCC and wish to be placed on the CEESP/WCC list-serve. Also included in the newsletter are updates on preparations for the WCC and information on the elections process. I am running in the elections for a 2 nd term as Chair of CEESP and am very grateful for the support I have received.

As this newsletter is being distributed, there are a number of CEESP members attending the 11 th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). This year's special theme was “The Doctrine of Discovery: its enduring impact on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests (articles 28 and 37of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)".

More information about the UNPFII session will be provided in  he next letter.

The CEESP Annual Report for 2011 was tabled at the 78 th meeting of the IUCN Council in February 2012.  The Report highlights some of the key achievements of CEESP and reports more fully on the Sharing Power: A New Vision for Development Conference held last year. A link to the Annual Report is included in this newsletter along with announcements of many other publications and resources that CEESP members have been involved in.

In March, I joined the SSC Specialist Group Chairs meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was a very interesting and impressive gathering and I really enjoyed meeting so many scientists who have dedicated their lives and careers to the preservation of species. It is always useful to see how other Commissions operate and balance keeping a volunteer network active through contributing to IUCN's global programme. I participated in many workshops,  gave a presentation to the plenary on CEESP and networked with Rosie Cooney, the new Chair of the joint CEESP/SSC Specialist Group on Sustainable Use and Livelihoods (SULi).

As always, your views on the work of CEESP are always appreciated. Please contact ceesp@iucn.org with any queries.

Aroha Te Pareake Mead
Chair, IUCN CEESP
May 2012, Wellington