Participation of
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 decreased.
    However this seems to be true not only the national, but on the global level as well. According to the Biodiversity file of, „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 natural habitats?
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 actions.

The website of IUCN:

The website of Countdown 2010:

- Copyright Nimfea TE 2001. - Design by LUPUS -