IUCN and Six Senses Resorts and Spas signed a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2009, the overall purpose of the partnership being to enable both organizations to build a lasting relationship in order to enhance biodiversity conservation performance by Six Senses as a measure of their sustained profitable operations, to raise sector-wide biodiversity performance standards in the ecotourism industry and its supply chains and to strengthen IUCN’s capacity for leadership in integrating biodiversity into businesses.

In demonstration of their commitment to sustainable development, the organizations will, over the period of their planned partnership, endeavor to demonstrate joint leadership in the business and conservation sectors and use their combined comparative advantages, namely, convening power, global reach and spread as well as geo-political influence to leverage positive change for biodiversity conservation. Both organizations will endeavor to add value to each other and ensure that:

a. Six Senses has the strategies, approaches and tools that are necessary to become an environmental leader in the hotel and eco-tourism sector over the long term;

b. IUCN and the broader conservation community has the capacity and business skills, access to sufficient resources and influence necessary to continuously improve policies and standards required to achieve a significant reduction in the loss of biodiversity;

c. Six Senses and IUCN together are able to contribute substantively to influences in the policy arena, both public and corporate, such that the world’s biodiversity is better conserved and sustainably used by hotel and tourism businesses working to best practice levels and standards of conservation.

In keeping with the above, IUCN visited the Srinart Rajini Mangrove Ecosystem Learning Center in Pranburi, and through discussions with the staff at the center and other personnel developed a collaborative work programme in partnership with Evason Hua Hin operated by Six Senses Resorts and Spas and the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) programme on the conservation management of the center.

The overall goal of the programme is to strengthen the management structure of the Pranburi Mangrove Ecosystem Learning Center to use adaptive management techniques in its sustainable management in partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders.

The programme of work was shared with the local stakeholders and following early discussions with Evason Hua Hin and members of the Learning Center an additional follow up visit was conducted by IUCN to further refine the programme.

Initial feedback from local stakeholders specifically indicated that the committee managing the Learning Center (consisting of local officials, and private sector membership) would like to place more focus on the biodiversity and research elements at the center with IUCN’s assistance and leadership.

Follow up discussions with Evason Hua Hin ensured that these elements would be pursued further. On December 18th and 19th an IUCN Thailand team again visited the Pranburi Learning Center and met with members of the committee to further refine priorities and use their input to ensure that the work programme is useful and meaningful for all stake holders. In addition, IUCN also met with PTT who is a major contributor to the center to ensure that the ideas and vision suggested matched with PTT's workplan for the area. During discussions it was noted that the MFF programme would be involved in this effort

Implementation responsibility would lie jointly with Evason Hua Hin and the IUCN Thailand programme and will commence in August 2009. The programme will be jointly financed by IUCN, MFF and Evason Hua Hin.