Day 5 - September 20
Today, the community participants from Madagascar and Kenya gave presentations on their biodiversity conservation work. Next, a discussion regarding revisions to the Community Statement was held, where the facilitators identified some gaps including the role of women, climate change, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), and the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (C169). Communities, for their part, discussed the following concerns:
· The involvement of the private sector;
· Whether the statement should highlight only 2 out of the 25 communities;
· Whether support should be encouraged not only from the government, NGOs, and private sectors, but also from the other groups, researchers, and communities;
· Whether the statement should follow the original draft;
· Whether climate change should be mentioned more specifically. (e.g., including topics such as what communities/policy makers can do after a climate change-related disaster happens, how we can help people suffering from these disasters, etc.)
Later, several key figures from prominent international organizations arrived at the dialogue space to hold a panel—Veerle Vandeweerd, the director of UNDP Environment and Energy Group, Mark Tercek, the president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy, and Peter Seligmann, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. After providing initial introductions, the panel engaged in a question-answer session with the community participants.
One question that was raised, for example, was how participants could make the best use of multi-media to promote their community work. Another question related to the role of international organizations, in countries where political regulations have made it difficult to operate, could continue to support community work. Peter answered that the key to sustainability is endurance. It is difficult for an organization to leave an area, but in order to maintain the organization's sustainability, management may need to make such a decision. International organizations also have trouble finding target communities due to governmental regulations.
Peter also shared Conservation International's experiences regarding strategic planning of financial sustainability. Veerle addressed the issue that income generation diversifies biodiversity conservation and that it is important to generate financial resource by your own hand in order to become sustainable.
Communities expressed their need for assistance from such large organizations, not only in terms of financial resources, but also in terms of technical and policy-making assistance. Mark concluded the panel session by expressing the need for international organizations to get feedback from communities. The communities also showed their willingness to help improve the international organizations and were grateful for the organizations' support in ensuring their presence in these kinds of events.
The community representatives then went back to their hotels to change into their party clothes for the Awards Dinner which was a great celebration of their communities' achievements!