BGCI Education Blog

We've set up this blog to talk about education, the environment, plants, the universe... oh yes, and botanic gardens. You can join in by leaving comments and signing up for email updates.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Politics and Congresses

July has been a very busy month for Sarah and me. At the beginning of July, I spent a couple of days in Paris attending the 12th SBSTTA meeting (Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice) which was holding an in-depth review of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. The political ruminations were fascinating and the unedited outcomes can be found at www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbstta/sbstta-12/official/sbstta-12-xx-en.pdf . Once this document is edited it will become the basis for the recommendations to the Conference of the Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). A disappointment for me though, is the lack of emphasis on increasing efforts to implement Target 14. However, on a positive note, there is a strong recommendation to facilitate financial support programmes to assist developing countries to effectively implement the GSPC. This is something BGCI and botanic gardens need to keep a watch out for! When funding streams become available we need to publicise this information. During the meeting, BGCI organised a side event on Climate Change and the GSPC. It was attended by about 40 people representing NGOs and country delegations. I presented a paper on BGCI’s involvement in facilitating Target 14 (Communication, education and public awareness) and stressed the need to include plant-based education in environmental education. Who knows whether my talk will have any impact – but it was important to say!

While I was in SBSTTA, Sarah attended the 4th World Environment Education Congress (WEEC) in Durban, South Africa where she presented a paper on the role of botanic gardens in environmental education, a workshop on promoting education and awareness about plant conservation and a poster on BGCI’s education programme. Sarah made several good contacts and attended some very interesting papers. We’ll keep you posted about when they’re published.

At the end of the WEEC, I met Sarah for four days of meetings with our colleagues at the Durban Botanic Garden to plan BGCI’s next education congress. Chris Dalzell, Curator, heads up a wonderful team of people, keen to run a first class congress and open their beautiful garden to delegates from all over the world. The meetings we had were full of ideas about how we could make the congress relevant to the big picture (eg Climate Change, Millennium Development Goals) and as environmentally sustainable as possible (carbon neutral, zero waste, local food, etc). Sarah and I came away energised and full of enthusiasm for developing the congress - with lots of work to do! In the next few months we'll start fleshing out the structure for the congress but in the meantime if you have any thoughts on how we can make this congress relevant to you, please get in touch.

1 comment:

Sarah Dixon said...

Apropos of your meeting on making the next congress sustainable, could I urge you to weave in a online-seminar or broadcast element from the beginning - to allow people to participate remotely, whether it be through choice (to reduce fuel consumption etc)or necessity - shortage of time and funds.