Dear CEM members,
First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your participation at the World Conservation Congress 2021, to those of you who were able to attend in person and whose who contributed remotely. It was a truly wonderful event with a lot of important results, in advance of important international events such as the COP 26 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the COP 15 of the CBD, which undoubtably would not have been possible without your relevant work and efforts. I would like to share with you some of the most important highlights during the Congress.
As you all know, this year’s event was surrounded by the enormous socio-ecological challenges we are currently facing as well as the limitations due to the pandemic which made of this Congress the first of its kind to be held in a hybrid format, with nearly 10,000 in-person and online attendees from all around the globe. But as with anything in life, what can seem like a challenge can be turned into an opportunity, and this year’s WCC was not an exception.
With a special focus on the post-pandemic recovery, CEM’s main contributions were focused on the technical side on advances on the Red List of Ecosystems and the Global Ecosystem Typology, contributions of Nature-based Solutions and the Ecosystem Approach to address nature based recovery strategies, the launch of the results of several task forces of the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, as well as the urgency of addressing the current climate, biodiversity and human health crisis in an integrated manner. CEM Young Professional Network also played an important role at the Global Youth Summit. The congress also stood out for an outstandingly large participation from young and indigenous leaders was key for finding new, outside-of-the-box ideas and practical solutions for tackling the climate and environmental crisis. During the 5 days of the Congress, more than 30 events included the participation and leadership of CEM members, including speaker pitches, webinars, panels, thematic sessions and e-posters from members worldwide. Thank you once again for your commitment.
Re-live some of the events led by CEM during the congress here:
Some of the highlights during the members assembly included the election of Razan Al Mubarak as new IUCN president, the first Arab woman to be appointed this position.
Additionally, as well as the election of the six commission chairs and councilors. It is an honour for me having been re-elected as Chair of the Commission on Ecosystem Management and continue leading our network during the next intersessional period. I am very dedicated with our work, making CEM highly visible and relevant, with a high engagement of young professionals, and committed to the implementation of the IUCN program.
During the 5th Members' Assembly Sitting, I had the opportunity to highlighted some of the most significant publications and achievements throughout the last period as well as the work of the CEM thematic groups and young professionals. I also had the great pleasure hand out several awards to a number of members for their outstanding work during the last 5 years. This included the Luc Hoffmann Award for Excellence in Ecosystem Management, which was granted to David Keith as a result of having demonstrated exceptional initiative in ecosystem management, especially in the development of the Global Ecosystems Typology and the Red List of Ecosystems, and the Youth Professional Award handed out to Jessica Rowland for her work with the Red List of Ecosystems. I also had the opportunity to recognize the hard work of several other thematic leaders and regional chairs for their dedication to the commission during the Assembly. Thank you again to all.
Other major highlights include the recognition and support of Indigenous and local communities (IPLC’s) through the Global Indigenous Agenda, protecting 80% of the Amazon rainforest by 2025, protecting the Andes-Amazon rivers of Peru from large scale infrastructure projects, a moratorium on deep-sea mining, as well as promoting integrated solutions on biodiversity loss. In addition to the motions which were approved in October 2020, several new motions were adopted during the plenaries, including motion 34, motion 40, motion 44, motion 45, motion 135, which “promotes human, animal and environmental health, and preventing pandemics through the One Health approach and by addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss” among others. as well as the Marseille Manifesto which establishes several commitments made during the congress including the support for the establishment and implementation of the Blue Wall Initiative, to expand universal access to high-quality green spaces and enhance urban biodiversity in 100 cities, and the addition of 15 new countries committing to the IUCN Green List Standard, resulting in more than 70 countries participating in the “Green List” among others.
After the Congress and the member’s assembly, the 106th council meeting took place, the first meeting of this new intersessional period, led by Razan Al Mubarak. During this session, the Commission Chairs presented their Deputy Chairs and members of their Steering Committees. It is a pleasure for me to announce the new CEM Steering Committee with professor Liette Vasseur as Deputy Chair for the Commission, Bernal Herrera as vice-president for Mexico, Central and South America, Madhav Karki as vice-president for Asia, Peter Smith as vice-president for Oceania, Jonathan Hughes as vice-president for Europe and as vice-president for Africa, Doris Mutta. Likewise, we also count with Deepu Sivadas as representative of the Young Professionals in our SC. I am looking forward to working with all of them!
I want to take this opportunity to thank our previous President Zhang Xinsheng, the outgoing council and previous SC, Birguy Lamizana and Kelvin Passfield, for their permanent support and commitment to our work.
Overall, this year’s World Conservation Congress and Members assembly, concluded with ambitious commitments and the requirement to work on innovative and holistic solutions in order to address the climate and biodiversity crisis effectively as well as acknowledging that only by working together will it be possible to build a better future for all of us. We have a new program ahead of us, as well as an array of new resolutions adopted by members and a mandate, which will set the base of our upcoming work, and which require us to promote the required transformational change of our socio-ecological systems, for which we hold the scientific and practical tools.
Currently, we are commencing our 52nd Steering Committee virtually, in which we are updating our Technical Groups in order to respond appropriately to the new mandate and for the development of each group’s work plan for the next 4 years. I want to thank all of those who participated in the recent survey and stated your specific interests to contribute for this upcoming period. I hope next year, the situation with covid-19 will allow us to come together in person once again and continue visiting the regions and getting to know first-hand the priorities and areas where or commission can contribute the most with or new program.
Lastly, as was previously announced, the process of membership renewals is coming up soon, for which we will be communicating with you in the next few weeks.
Once again, thank each one of you for all your hard work and I look forward to continue working with you in this new period with where hopefully we will be able to meet again in person and join forces to protect our planet.
Let´s get to work!
IUCN CEM Chair