An insightful lecture by Sir David Attenborough at the UK's University of Cambridge Senate House marked the launch this week of the Cambridge Conservation Campus. The campus will become the hub for the world’s largest conservation cluster, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) of which IUCN is a member.
CCI is a new and pioneering partnership formed between leading conservation organisations and the University of Cambridge.
It seeks to transform the global understanding and conservation of biodiversity, to secure a sustainable future for all life on earth.
The initiaive aims is to create an international centre of interdisciplinary collaboration and outreach that will transform conservation research, policy and practice for the benefit of biodiversity and humanity.
The Conservation Campus will be located in central Cambridge, bringing together more than 500 professional conservationists from eight conservation organisations, with plans being considered by the City Council for a £59 million refurbishment of the Arup Building on the University’s New Museums Site.
The Campus will provide a series of shared spaces, facilities and meeting areas for the global conservation community, designed to encourage effective collaboration.
Speaking of the Conservation Campus, David Attenborough said: “The world’s biodiversity urgently needs research-driven, innovative and practical solutions for its conservation. By coming together on the Conservation Campus, CCI partners will be better able to integrate their distinct and complementary strengths to tackle the complex challenges facing the natural world in exciting new ways.”
In his lecture he looked back over the development of the conservation movement, from Charles Waterton who created the world’s first nature reserve in Yorkshire, UK, in 1826 onwards. He warned that the world was facing a real crisis with the human population now nearing 7 billion, and said that the creation of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative was “crucially important.”
CCI Executive Director Dr Mike Rands said: “The Campus will drive a massive step change in our collaborations and in our worldwide impacts. It will enhance our convening power and ability to engage new audiences worldwide.”
Guest of honour at the event was the former Chancellor of the University, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was International President of WWF until 1996.
Members of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative are:
• BirdLife International
• British Trust for Ornithology
• Cambridge Conservation Forum
• Fauna & Flora International
• International Union for Conservation of Nature
• Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
• Tropical Biology Association
• UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre
• The University of Cambridge Departments of Zoology, Geography, Plant Sciences and Land Economy together with Cambridge Judge Business School and Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership.