Nimfea Environment and Nature Conservation Association
at the IUCN Pan-European Meeting
IUCN, The World Conservation Union held its Pan-European
meeting dedicated to the 2010 initiative on 18-21 October,
2006 in Barcelona. Nimfea Environmental and Nature Conservation
Association was represented at the meeting as an applicant
member to IUCN.
After the study trip in January, when we
paid a visit to the IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland,
the Board made the final decision to submit the membership
application of Nimfea to be considered at the autumn Council
Meeting. Then we had the opportunity to meet with several
officers working in the IUCN Headquarters, where we discussed
current international biodiversity policies as well as communication
and membership issues.
However this Pan-European meeting was the first real opportunity
to get more insight into the work of the network. Now in Barcelona
we had the chance to talk to people working in different IUCN
offices, mainly the Regional Office for Europe, comprising
of four offices in Brussels, Warsaw, Belgrade and Moscow.
We hope that in the future we will have a lot of opportunities
to get involved in IUCN activities, and work together with
these people on different issues. The meeting also provided
valuable opportunities to meet representatives of other NGOs
from the region, and share ideas and experiences.
Over 200 participants representing NGOs,
governments, the academic sectors and businesses were present
to “share their ideas for a new vision for European Nature”.
During the meeting more than 20 new partners joined the 2010
declaration, expressing their commitment to make all efforts
towards halting the loss of biodiversity. This commitment
was formulated previously at several international forums,
including the EU Head of States in 2001 and the Pan-European
Ministerial Conference in 2003. Since then the European
Besides the plenary discussion on the future of European Nature,
working groups and training sessions completed the meeting.
The themes included “new models for financing nature conservation”,
“Communication solutions”, “Europe at the World Conservation
Congress 2008”, “Media training for NGOs” and “Project development”.
These smaller groups enabled the participants to get into
more detail and streamline experiences regarding a specific
topic. Quite some interesting and thought-provoking issues
were raised, such as the fund-raising Dutch lottery, combining
the strong will of people to win a lot of money and their
intention to help a charity, or the advises of communication
and PR professionals.
Nimfea is willing to get active in the IUCN network firstly
on the national level, that is to promote the more effective
cooperation and dialogue among the Hungarian IUCN member organizations.
The IUCN National Committee could be an important common platform
for the members to make use of the international recognition
of IUCN in communication activities and in lobbying. Influencing
policy-makers could be the most important asset of the IUCN
National Committee, and we are dedicated to take this chance.
This is especially important given the
present conditions of Hungarian nature conservation, when
institutional capacities, financial and human resources are
all continuously weakening. Even the Ministry of Environment
is assisting this trend by not taking a strong position against
environmentally harmful activities, including the construction
of new motorways, the support of unsustainable agricultural
practices, the development of industrial and tourism infrastructure,
increasing energy production and consumption etc. These investments
are implemented without appropriate planning and impact assessments,
without real public participation, and without any considerations
of biodiversity aspects.
In this context the recent signature of the 2010 declaration
by the Hungarian Minister of Environment is mere hypocrisy,
especially if we look at the specific actions promised in
the framework of this declaration. The commitments made included
the implementation of EU and international commitments, more
financial and legislative capacity.
But actions speak louder than words: all steps and measures
of the Hungarian government and the Ministry of Environment
and Waters are going straight to the opposite direction: global
and regional agreements (CBD, Bonn, Bern, Ramsar, Aarhus –
just to name a few) are not implemented on the appropriate
level; EU legislation, including the Natura 2000 is not enforced
properly; and as previously mentioned, financial and legislative
capacities are not improved, but steadily and systematically
However this seems to be true not only
the national, but on the global level as well. According to
the Biodiversity file of www.greenfacts.org,
„current trends show no sign of a slowdown of biodiversity
loss, and direct drivers of loss such as land use change and
climate change are expected to increase further.”
This raises serious concerns about the creditability of the
2010 initiative: what’s the use of signing declarations, if
all social and economic trends are triggering further and
continuous decline of biodiversity, worsening the quality
of air, soil and water, destroying our landscapes and every
There are fundamental structural problems in our society,
which need a holistic and inter-sectoral solution, not just
the treatment of some alarming symptoms. Actors of civil society
should take a firm position and stand up for more powerful
website of IUCN:
website of Countdown 2010: