Day 3: Prof Hillary Masundire, IUCN Councillor

22 September 2011 | Blogs

Prof Hilary Masundire, IUCN Councillor, provides his views on day 3 of the Regional Conservation Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Today, at the start of the Members’ business assembly section of the Forum, I was moved by the Deputy Director General’s brief presentation on the challenges facing IUCN. This was very practical and realistic and helped us to frame discussions about the direction of the Union.

Then there was the Congress presentation, which was well-received by Members, with discussions around Members’ engagement raising the issue of Members’ obligations. The fact that there was already much interest in the area of motions (ahead of the session tomorrow) underlined that this is a passionate subject for Members.

I noted with interest that more than 50% of participants here have never been to a Congress before, possibly due to the turnover of contact points in Member organizations, which reminds us that we shouldn’t assume that everyone is aware of the intricate workings of IUCN. We need to ensure we provide capacity development to adequately prepare our Members for the Congress in Jeju, in 2012.

As a Councillor, I’m passionate about looking at the different roles played by the Union’s component parts, however, having heard IUCN referred to as just the Secretariat, it was clear that there is sometimes confusion. Let me emphasize our One Programme approach, whereby all the strands of our Union work together in cooperation rather than in competition: our 1100 Member organizations and institutions, 11,000 Commission members and the Secretariat.

I was impressed by the response to the draft IUCN Programme (2013-16). The divergence of views expressed presented an honest account of what the Members derived from the draft. I’d urge that we give proper consideration to this feedback at Council, specifically in the Programme and Policy Committee, diligently moving forward to produce the next iteration of the draft Programme.

At this forum, 8 State Members of the 12 State Members in the Eastern and Southern Africa region are present. It will be interesting to see how the themes discussed here are in line with government thinking!

It’s important that all IUCN’s Members understand the important part that they play in the drafting, refining and adopting of the Programme at the Congress. Tomorrow, we’ll turn to the regional programme, motions and a discussion on improving the governance of IUCN.