Dr. James Gichiah Njogu*, Chair of the Kenya National Committee as well as Vice Chair of the Regional Committee for Eastern and Southern Africa, shares his views of the first day of the Forum.
The IUCN Regional Conservation Forum is such an invaluable gathering. From a global perspective, we need such conservation forums to bring our stakeholder minds together to evaluate and inform progress.
As global citizens, when discussing our environment, nature and resources, we must look beyond boundaries, territories, individuals or any social, political and economic arrangements. In my capacity as Chair of the Kenya National Committee and as Regional Vice Chair, I am humbled by nature.
The Forum started with high note introductory remarks, crowned with a moving “Love - not Loss”, three minute video. This being the International Year of Forests, the title of the Forum, ‘Forests, Food Security and Financing in a Changing Climate’ is endearing, depicting experiences of diminishing resources not only in the context of climate change, but also global, social and economic changes.
Congratulations to IUCN for its initiatives to address global environment challenges through a participatory approach, which involves stakeholders at national, regional and international levels. I note that in Kenya, Members have enthusiastically worked and aligned their initiatives with the IUCN Programme. This is replicated at regional level and key to this is the opportunity to bring neighbouring countries together to work towards common goals.
The wide spectrum of stakeholders represented at this forum, in my view, expresses enthusiasm to actively engage in discussions on integrating forest conservation and food security, within the context of climate change. I hope the discussions contribute meaningfully to global environmental processes, not only to the Climate Change CoP17 in Durban, Rio+ 20, the United Nations Forums on Forests and the IUCN World Conservation Congress, but also to regional and national initiatives. Last, but not least, the Members of IUCN will appreciate focused discussions on the Global IUCN Programme, Regional Programme and perhaps thoughts about candidates for the Council.
*Dr. James Gichiah Njogu is Head of Conventions and Research Authorization at the Kenya Wildlife Society, an IUCN Member.