The market of Intergenerational Knowledge for the Implementation of the IUCN 2021-2024 Program

By Oswaldo Flores Armillas, IUCN CEM Young Professional.

During the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) held from September 3 to 11 in Marseille, France, the Young Professionals from the IUCN CEM Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean regional network organized the session “Market of intergenerational knowledge for the implementation of the IUCN 2021-2024 program” within the modality of Campus Session.

The objective of this intergenerational dialogue between senior experts and young professionals was to generate meaningful ideas to address challenges and barriers in implementing the IUCN agenda in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. The event was divided into three main axes. One senior professional and one young professional had a moment to each present their ideas. Then, they received questions from the audience, which the panellists answered in conjunction. The first axis, “Landscapes for Nature and People,” was presented by Thora Aamed, Euroclima Strategic Advisor, and José Luis Fournier, Professor at the University of Costa Rica. The second axis, “Defence of Rights and Guarantee of an Effective and Equitable Governance,” was discussed by Rocío Córdoba-Muñoz, President of the Ecosystem Management Commission for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (CEM), and Luciano Cardoso, Participatory Management Analyst at the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Institute. The last axis, “Promotion of Knowledge, Learning, Innovation and Technology,” was conducted by Mauricio Santamaria, OroVerde Fundación de Bosques Tropicales and Dariana Ávila, IUCN CEM member.

The panellists explored their corresponding axis with the guiding questions: what are the challenges in the region? What transformative change should be considered to meet IUCN’s strategic lines? How to eliminate generational gaps to achieve the achievement of the objectives? Each of the speakers had a space to present their experiences, express their opinions and issue recommendations to comply with the IUCN agenda.

Axis 1. Landscapes for nature and people

Latin America is an exceptional region with many biotic, cultural and biodiversity values. It also shares challenges found in other areas of the World to preserve such values. In this sense, one of the main challenges is identifying what values are being decided to be upheld (biotic, cultural or both) when conserving cultural biodiversity. Thus, it is important to homogenize values through multidisciplinary groups to create metrics and scales that can be replicated in the region.

The communities that have ecosystems in their custody also often have high social and climatic vulnerability levels. Thus, another element of great relevance is the conservation of the ecological integrity of the ecosystems and their services through fair and sustainable schemes.

Finally, the role of the youth is of utmost importance to reduce knowledge gaps. With the adoption of new technologies and intergenerational dialogues with more experienced profiles, we can achieve comprehensive interventions to address the common cause. Particularly, it is crucial to involve the young population of rural areas in these fair and sustainable conservation schemes because although they are rich in biodiversity, in many cases, there are no economic opportunities that translate into decent livelihoods.

Axis 2. Defend rights and ensure effective and equitable governance

To start talking about this very complex issue, we must first be clear about the definition of effective governance. Governance is a means, not an end. Society defines goals and advances towards decisions at various levels, consisting of processes and traditions, understanding how power is exercised to ensure that this power is balanced, to balance forces. In addition, how decisions are made that affect people and how citizens can express themselves to influence. It also involves how decisions are made and how citizens can influence them.

When we talk about governance, we are talking about norms, institutions, and processes that distribute responsibilities, exercise rights and create the right environment to implement relevant and strategic actions.

In this sense, it is of great relevance to establishing mechanisms that reduce the current generational gap. The goal must be to balance experience and innovation, where youth are not only another sector in decision making but also a driving force with a recognised ability to contribute to transformative change.

Axis 3. Promote knowledge, learning, innovation and technology

Equal education access, contextualised to local realities, is crucial for this axis. One of the challenges in several countries in LATAM is the educational system. The system in places does not encourage creativity.

Suppose the educational system focuses on developing critical thinking and generating intellectual and technical capacities; in that case, we might see a reduction in the significant drop-out rates in the region. If schools are a place where students can develop socially and culturally, it may lead to positive long term change.

Mariano

A second key aspect of this axis is contextualising realities to rural populations in Latin America. For instance, when well-intentioned organisations provide a technical package that does not consider the communities’ facts, such as only having access to radio accessibility or their ancestral knowledge, the opportunity to develop knowledge and innovation is wasted. A way moving forward is to adapt the technical practice and way of life of rural communities. For instance, to improve institutional analytical capacities for digital mapping, there is much work to be done at the level of technology and innovation in the region. The main tasks we have as young people are to provide knowledgeable feedback to the communities in our countries and to the expert communities abroad to facilitate dialogue and exchange.

The commitment may seem significant, but as young professionals, we have to empower ourselves and the knowledge of the elderly to establish these synergies. We can make information more available and accessible to people in rural areas. We are part of the change.

Dariana

In conclusion, the event showed that senior professionals must be open to change and learn from innovations, energy, technology, and young people’s knowledge.

The energy of young people cannot be interpreted as simply activism but rather recognising their professional capacities and working together with them. It would serve a lot for them to carry those messages.

Rocio

Learn more about the session through this link.

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