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Connecting people to nature a key outcome of the World Conservation Congress

IUCN  Sep 12, 2016

#NatureForAll is IUCN’s new global movement founded on a simple idea: the more people experience, connect with, and share their love for nature, the more support there will be for its conservation in the future. The IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) conceived of and implemented the movement.

Just as numerous organizations collaborate to examine species health, #NatureForAll applies the same IUCN model to communication and engagement. More than 110 partners have already agreed to join forces to share best practices and tools to connect people to nature.

Parks Canada CEO Daniel Watson was an early supporter of the movement. “Inspiring people to experience and connect with nature is a key priority for Parks Canada. Parks Canada is committed to maintaining and restoring ecological integrity in our protected areas, and providing Canadians with meaningful opportunities to discover and enjoy them. That includes ensuring that the #NatureForAll initiative continues to move forward,” he said.

Created in 1948, IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,300 government agencies, NGOs larger and small, scientific and academic institutional members, and close to 15,000 Commission Members.

The week-long launch included:

· A high-level opening ceremony with Alison Sudol toasting that set the tone for a call to action to an overflowing audience;

· A pavilion that hosted nearly 50 events, including performances, series of workshops and professional development sessions that provided a space for participants to reflect on content, share experiences, identify opportunities, build the network, and collectively develop strategies to better connect people to nature;

· The launch of an awe-inspiring new video delivered to the IUCN Assembly at the World Conservation Congress.

“From Alison Sudol to dancers to inquisitive children to media moguls, #NatureForAll offered a vibrant energy with the strong reminder that people are part of nature,” stated CEC Chair Nancy Colleton. “It's a reminder of how important it is to reconnect people to nature – no matter the method.”

Connections forged among youth leaders at a #NatureForAll Congress event have already led to the Cultural Biodiversity Week in Kpele Tsiko, Togo.

As stated by Dode Houehounha, a WCPA young professional with the IUCN West and Central Africa Program, “we already planned our first #NatureForAll event: to convene 200 youth from Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana to discuss conservation of sacred sites, food security, intergenerational partnerships and connecting youth leaders with nature. This will make it part of a global, inclusive initiative that works with many partners, both from the north and the south.”

Houehounha and his colleagues are already demonstrating the power of this movement.

Connecting people to nature a key outcome of the World Conservation Congress
Photo: IUCN / Cristina Mittermeier

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