On this final day of the Regional Conservation Forum, Mr Ali Kaka, Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, shares his thoughts.
Today was the opportunity to align all the issues that were discussed over the past three days with the regional programme. To me, this day has been an important day because we as a region were able to narrow down to areas of focus for Eastern and Southern Africa within the context of the Global IUCN Programme that was discussed yesterday. It has been clear from the discussion today that IUCN cannot be everything to everyone, thereby calling for a thorough analysis of the issues to isolate those that are of high priority to the region.
One thing that was discussed today and remains close to my heart is the understanding that the IUCN Programme that was tabled during this Forum is not for the Secretariat alone. Each strand of IUCN needs to internalise the programme and decide how they can contribute to its implementation. While this may sound obvious for an organization such as IUCN, experience so far has proved that this is difficult to achieve despite the discussions held so far and the resolutions that have been passed on this matter so far.
It was pleasing to note that Members today have re-affirmed their ownership of the IUCN Programme and I would like to see this move from just verbal commitments to action. Members and Commissions have committed to ensure that National Committees identify members that can take lead on some result areas in the new Programme. This is a positive commitment and I trust National Committee Chairs will take this seriously so that we don’t lose the momentum.
Today, being the last day of the Forum, is a great day for the Secretariat staff as they go away to rest after some weeks of hard work. From the feedback received through the evaluation forms, the team has done an excellent job despite some of the challenges that the Forum faced during the preparations. I have experienced an amazing team spirit among the IUCN staff that were here this week. Staff from IUCN HQ in Switzerland, regional office in Nairobi and the host country office worked as one team coming from the same office. This team spirit has tremendously contributed to the effective running of this forum.
I now look forward to take the process forward and build on the momentum to ensure that IUCN goes to the Congress in Jeju as one region, one continent, and with one voice.