IUCN World Parks Congress - Part 1

I have been a bit inconsistent in my posting here. Inconsistent in two ways. Firstly, I had planned to write blog posts with greater frequency and, secondly, I was going to both rant and rave about relevant issues, but I seem to have tipped the scales in favour of rants.

So I thought I'd remedy the situation by writing a bit about the IUCN World Parks Congress, which I'll be attending here in Sydney from November 12th - 19th. This gives me impetus to pen some more posts and a chance to rave (I hope) about some positive action aimed at addressing the environmental, social, and economic challenges that the world presently faces.

IUCN World Parks Congress Logo

The World Parks Congress (Congress) happens roughly every 10 years, with the last congress taking place in Durban, South Africa, in 2003. The congress is a global forum for presenting, discussing, sharing and building ideas around protected areas. Protected areas include national parks, community managed or privately owned parks and reserves, nature reserves and wilderness areas.

Contained within the Congress are several 'streams' dealing with the key issues of conservation, climate change, governance, development, communication and education, indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture, supporting human life, and improving human health and well-being. The congress draws a multi-disciplinary pool of delegates from across the world; bringing together environmental practitioners, business leaders, scientists, students, academics and enthusiastic public.

I'm personally not too sure what to expect from the Congress, so I'll definitely be keeping notes on the experience and will write about it here. I've signed up for the full week's Congress, and with some 200 scheduled panel discussions, forums, workshops, displays, plenaries, and lectures happening each day, it's hard to not get a bit overwhelmed by the whole occasion. At present I'm mostly interested in the conservation and development streams, although there are events from almost every stream that I've added to my schedule.

What I'm hoping to experience is an enthusiastic gathering of like-minded people, working towards solutions for the diverse array of challenges. I know that may sound a bit cliché, but I think it's important as well. I think it's easy to become overwhelmed by the enormity of some of the challenges, such as global poverty alleviation, climate change, and science communication in this age of mis- and dis-information, so the opportunity to hear about regional and local projects, from the people who are actively engaged in those projects, is a rare treat. It's a bit like a backstage pass into the world of socio-environmental activities. Maybe all of these local and regional actions are, ultimately, the momentum-builders for dealing with the larger issues. As they say; "think global, act local."

The Congress starts in a week from today, so I'll be back to write about it soon!


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