CEC in 2009: Communicating Biodiversity

CEPA workshops and a host of other communication and education activities advanced the protection of biodiversity in 2009. CEC members from around the world reported on this work by submitting newsletter stories to cecnews@iucn.org. Their reports are summarized here.

Orange-eyed green tree frog

Biodiversity is the central theme of the IUCN One Programme and the subject of the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity 2010.

CEPA Workshops

For many years, CEC has played an important role in advocating the importance of CEPA (Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness) among the Environmental Conventions. Much of this work has been to build capacity to realize CEPA work programmes and activities linked to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In 2009, CEC continued to promote the CEPA Toolkit for biodiversity professionals, in English, French and Spanish.

CEC members facilitated training workshops to build the strategic communication capacity of conservation professionals. Many sessions were organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, with contributions from CEC members in different parts of the world.

Audiences for the CEPA capacity building workshops included:

  • Managers of protected areas in Ecuador
  • Members of Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment
  • Managers of protected areas and NBSAP Coordinators in the Caribbean and in Europe
  • Participants at the UNESCO conference in Bonn, along with strategic communication training and ESD-community building
  • Participants at World Environmental Education Conference in Montreal
  • Participants at the Iberoamerican Environmental Congress APECO in Peru
  • Government information officers and members of the media in a Southeast Asian workshop co-organized by the Secretariat of the CBD and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Workshop facilitators included CEC members Marta Andelman, Argentina; Katalin Czippán, Hungary; Frits Hesselink, Netherlands; Ronny Mustamu, Indonesia; Suzana Padua, Brazil; and Cynthia Chin and Thu Dinh Thi Minh of Vietnam. David Ainsworth of the CBD Secretariat also led CEPA workshops.

Ramsar Toolkit

• CEC member Sandra Hails of the Ramsar Secretariat announced the new CEPA Toolkit for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which was produced with support from CEC. Its title is “A Guide to Participatory Action Planning and Techniques for Facilitating Groups”. She facilitated a workshop in Iran to build capacity for Ramsar CEPA Focal Points in West Asia. It was the first of a series of workshops in the region to offer hands-on experience in CEPA Action Planning to professionals charged with developing CEPA Action Plans required under the Ramsar Convention.


• A resolution organized by CEC and signed by CEC members called on the philanthropic community to increase funding for visual communication for conservation. The resolution was agreed at WildSpeak, a symposium for conservation communications during the 9th World Wilderness Congress. CEC member Cristina Mittermeier was an organizer.

Applying the right technique

IUCN dialogue processes benefitted from CEC support, as did the follow-up on a forest conflict in Ghana. CEC promoted the use of multi-stakeholder dialogue as a technique to resolve conflict as part of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on forests between the Government of Ghana and the European Union.

Stewart Maginnis, Director of the IUCN Environment and Development Group noted the CEC contribution to the multi-stakeholder dialogue process: “I think we can take a lot of quiet satisfaction from the role we played in facilitating multi-stakeholder input and support and thus enhancing the likelihood of successful implementation.  It is also gratifying to note that at a recent meeting in Accra a number of stakeholders publicly attributed the critical turning point to IUCN’s (CEC and the Secretariat) input on designing and supporting the consultative framework. To me this is IUCN at its best!”

Logo and communications guide

• CEC member Frits Hesselink advised the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) on its new logo and supported the agency Futerra on the development of guidelines and messages to inspire action. 

• CEC member Katalin Czippán welcomed IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre as a session co-chair at the World Science Forum, held in May by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Katalin was main organizer and rapporteur for the event.

New media

• CEC promoted IUCN partnership with National Geographic’s Planetary Action Atlas, a communications platform for biodiversity and climate change, with the leadership of CEC member John Francis.


• CEC member Harriet Nimmo organized a two-hour focus session on “Conservation in the media – getting your message across” at the IUCN UK annual general meeting in Bristol, January 2009.

• In Southeast Asia, a four-day media skills training workshop for communicating biodiversity was attended by CEC members Ronny Mustamu, Cynthia Chin and Thu Dinh Thi Minh, along with government information officers and members of the media in the region.

• Gillian Martin Mehers, CEC focal point, organized a "Facilitation Demonstration and Learning Day" that showcased the work of 10 different professionals in facilitation, sharing learning from this experience on a learning blog.


• CEC member Steven Lovink produced a video for Planet2025 showing the pace of change ahead, entitled “Humanity’s Window of Opportunity.”

• CEC member Mangal Man Shakya promoted his newsletter “Wildlife Times” with its research-driven messages for conservation in Nepal.

• CEC member Vineet Soni shared news about his community-based conservation efforts for a red-listed plant in Rajasthan, India.


• CEC member Mauri Ahlberg and his team created NatureGate, a fast and free online service for species identification in Finland that can be readily replicated elsewhere.

• CEC member Carlos Micilio was featured regularly in the Opinion section of the Diario Hispano Argentiniom, on topics such as Los problemas ambientales, ¿son de aptitud...o de actitud?


• CEC member Mangal Man Shakya presented Nepal’s new forest minister with a photo of climber Jyamchang Bhotia holding a “Stop Monkey Business” banner at the top of Mount Everest.

• CEC member Haroldo Castro documented the unearthing of long-buried sacred crates containing Buddhist treasures with photos from Mongolia featured on BBC News. He also launched Lights of Africa, a photo project and blog of his travels across Southern and Eastern Africa producing feature stories for Brazil’s Globo Network.

School materials

• CEC member Marco Prunotto organized an educational project for students aged 11 to 13 in Venice, Italy, that used classroom experiments and microscopes to teach lessons in biodiversity.


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