IUCN Intergenerational Partnership for Sustainability – A case study

IUCN Intergenerational Partnership for Sustainability (IPS) was recognized for engaging young people and collaborating across generations to strengthen the global sustainability movement.  Through a recently published paper, the taskforce co-convenors have demonstrated how generational concerns within the IUCN have been framed in terms of participation.  They have described the development of intergenerational thinking and action within the IUCN and discussed intergenerational governance as being essential for addressing nature conservation challenges faced by local communities in times of increasing global uncertainty.

In less than a year after its establishment, the IPS Task Force was led by a young team of Co-Conveners representing all Commissions and had 100 members of different ages representing more than 40 countries. The 2012 Congress had helped to solidify the vision of the IPS Task Force to “Develop and strengthen intergenerational dialogue, learning, and collaboration between established and emerging sustainability leaders across and through the Union that increase critical thinking, creativity, and strategic action for biodiversity conservation.” The central goal of the IPS movement is to “Contribute to enhancing current and emerging leadership—especially within and through the IUCN—to help address complex global challenges, especially climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty, and gender inequity”. The IPS is a model of collaboration based on “respect and care for the community of life, the Earth, and future generations”.

The IPS is a case study well suited for generating knowledge relating to intergenerational global environmental governance because it is an example of a grassroots intergenerational movement that has become formally recognized as an IUCN working group. The authors used an organizational autoethnography approach to their self-study, which has high potential to contribute to the understanding of organizational development and the development of new governance systems. 

The authors had put forward recommendations for moving forward in creating intergenerational global environmental governance, based on their work in the IPS to overcome the structural barriers to intergenerational governance:

  1. Institutionalize meaningful ways for youth to contribute to the mission of the IUCN by creating and funding positions for young professionals.
  2. Establish consistent and long-term financial support for the engagement and participation of youth and for intergenerational collaboration.
  3. Implement official and continuous mechanisms for intergenerational dialogue, collaboration and two-directional learning.
  4. Integrate approaches that link conservation frameworks at the local level to global environmental governance processes.

More on this can be read here.

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