Sydney ideal host for the IUCN World Parks Congress, says IUCN WCPA Chair

Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich IUCN WCPA Chair

After his first visit to Sydney and Australia, the new IUCN WCPA Chair is already looking forward to the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress. “This city, the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and Parks Australia have been, and will be, fantastic hosts for the Congress,” said Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich. “The beauty and warmth of this city complements the progressive work the Australian government and local institutions have done on protected areas conservation and their management, and with the Congress focusing on inspiring solutions for parks, people and the planet, it will be a first-rate venue.”

The Congress’ ultimate goal is to position parks and protected areas firmly within the broader goals of community and economic wellbeing. “However, it goes much beyond this goal,” said Ernesto. “It is about conservation as an intricate part of sustainability. It is about the future of biodiversity, the future of life. The Congress must get people involved in shaping such a future.”

Sydney is beautiful city, rich in culture and natural biodiversity, a fitting host for the world’s foremost event on parks and protected areas. Sydney Olympic Park, the site of the Congress, is an urban protected area that is already realizing progress. After touring the Park, Ernesto was enthusiastic. “I was pleased to see so much greenery and outdoor space around the venue, and hear ideas about the way in which the site will be transformed for the Congress. Like the Olympics were a tribute to competition, the World Parks Congress will be a resounding success in global collaboration for conservation.” Ernesto was in Sydney to finalize World Parks Congress details between IUCN and the WCPA and the Australian hosts, including the important task of choosing work stream leaders. Eight priority areas, or “work streams” have been identified for potentially being addressed at the Congress. One of the most prominent streams is “Inspiring a new generation”, which Ernesto related to immediately upon touching down in Sydney. “My plane to Australia landed a little late, so I had a personal adventure catching up with the group at Olympic Park. I did it very cheaply and efficiently, all using public transport. I felt like I was in my twenties at the start of my career, so we hope to attract many of the next generation of conservation leaders to the World Parks Congress.”

After his week in Sydney, Ernesto concluded, “As the Congress comes into focus, the current work of our Australian hosts will serve as a valuable foundation for action on reaching protected area targets, and engaging communities outside the traditional protected areas conservation field such as youth and business, so we can work together for the future of healthier, thriving communities and ecosystems. I look forward to returning to this gorgeous harbor location next year to take a big leap forward for our parks and protected areas.”

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