In August 2015, around 500 representatives of governments, NGOs and the business sector from across Asia will come together in Bangkok, Thailand for IUCN’s Asia Regional Conservation Forum.
They will discuss how they can work together to deal with Asia’s pressing environmental issues, to share their experiences and best practices, and to make decisions on a joint programme of action to enhance the resilience of people and nature in the region.
Co-hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Thailand (MONRE) and the National Committee of IUCN Members in Thailand, the Forum provides a unique platform to discuss innovative conservation approaches, share regional experiences and build partnerships for future action.
Asia: a region under pressure
Asia is a region of extraordinary biodiversity—home to five of the world’s 17 mega-diverse countries and eight of its 35 biodiversity hotspots. Nature is at the heart of many Asian cultures and religions and it is also a direct source of sustenance and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people.
But these resources are increasingly at risk as growing populations and rapid economic development put increasing strain on the ecosystems that sustain them. The last few years have seen plummeting populations of important species, high levels of water stress in many areas, and six Asian countries counted among those most vulnerable to climate change. These are symptoms of a larger problem—one that spells trouble not just for nature, but for people too.
An extraordinary partnership for change
IUCN is the world’s largest and oldest global environmental organization, and represents a unique Union which brings together Governments, NGOs and six Commissions of volunteer scientists. In Asia, this means a powerful and growing network of organizations working together to contribute to creating a more sustainable world.
The Regional Conservation Forum (RCF), IUCN’s meeting of Members in Asia, held every four years, addresses biodiversity and ecosystem challenges and sets the region’s conservation agenda. Leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, business and academia will assemble to share experiences, debate and decide how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development.
Special emphasis will be placed on the impact of emerging socio-economic trends on the environment and the critical importance of all sectors working together to address these issues. There will be a major focus on nature-based solutions—harnessing the power of nature to solve our fundamental human challenges—as well as on ways to value and conserve nature, and the effective and equitable governance of nature’s use.
In addition to Membership decisions and debate, a number of panel discussions will bring together diverse perspectives from an array of stakeholders. Through the discussions, IUCN Members will have an opportunity to help set the context for the organization’s next programme, with outcomes from the Regional Forum feeding into the next IUCN World Conservation Congress—the world’s leading platform for creating change for conservation and sustainable development—which will take place from 1-10 September 2016 in Hawaiʻi, USA.