Reflections of Rod Abson as CEC Focal Point

05 December 2012 | News story

After two and a half years working with IUCN as Knowledge Management Officer and Focal Point for the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), today is my last day at IUCN and I would like to take this opportunity to reflect back on some of the highlights of working with the Commission.

I have watched the membership of CEC grow week-by-week as more people applied to become part of this network of more than 1,000 members from 119 countries. When I look through the profiles of our members, receive news stories and meet CEC members at various events, I am always impressed by the diversity of people we have, their enthusiasm for the work of the Commission and IUCN and the great potential that lies within this pool of experts. It has been satisfying to watch the interaction between CEC members, particularly through our social networking platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter and I hope that this side of our work can continue to grow.

A clear highlight has been to work with the CEC Steering Committee, Futerra, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat and Jeremy Bristow in the creation and promotion of the award winning film ‘Love. Not Loss.’ and subsequent campaign. When the hits on ‘Love. Not Loss.’ continued to climb each month, surpassing milestones of 1,000 hits, 5,000, 10,000... to the current 17,823 hits, coupled with the film’s awards, it seems we must be doing something worthwhile! It is this push to support positive communications about biodiversity which has been behind a lot of the work of CEC and I have supported IUCN and CEC in this regard at Conferences of the Parties to the CBD in Japan and India. The interest and support for this approach led to the new series of short funny clips of animals communicating badly about the environment, along with ‘How to Tell a Love Story’, which is picking up a couple of hundred more hits each week.

I coordinated a team of CEC members and volunteers to run workshops on celebrating biodiversity and environmental rights of the child at the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden. The buzz that surrounded this event, the interest and creativity the Scouts showed regardless of heat or rain reinforced my belief that if we are serious about protecting nature, we must work with today’s youth.

I have admired the dedication given to CEC throughout these years by Keith Wheeler and the steering committee and particularly my colleague Cecilia Nizzola-Tabja who has been the backbone for the CEC Secretariat for the past 20 years. It has been a pleasure to support the Steering Committee in the drafting of a CEC Mission, Mandate and Programme of work for 2013- 2016. I wish Juliane Zeidler as the new CEC Chair, the Steering Committee and all of the membership of CEC a bright and positive future.