On February 12th to 15th the conference “Capacity Building for Conservation. An international exchange of opportunity and best practice” was held at Villa de Leyva, Colombia.

Part of the team that develops the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems was able to attend and get the chance to conduct a very productive exchange with many institutions and individuals interested on conservation and its practices, especially with regard to building human capacities.

 

Before the conference was inaugurated and taking the opportunity offered by its organizers (Instituto Humboldt, Durrell, Ecological Research & Training and Fundación Conserva) on February 11th the team led a technical meeting on the ongoing initiatives for the development of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems of several Latin American countries (Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile). During this meeting the advances on this process were discussed for each country, together with the challenges found so far and expected for the future. Also, several steps were established, to be followed by each country, together with several joint activities.

All the representatives related to this initiative took part on the different sessions of the conference, which begun with a conceptual vision on capacity building, by Mark O’Connel, who was the main organizer. This was the basis for the remainder of the conference, which covered:

1. Design and provision of capacities for conservation

    • Creation of leadership for conservation
    • Integrating and evaluating capacity building processes
    • Education programs on conservation practices and capacity building

2. Capacity building for conservation on institutions and communities

    • Working with communities
    • Building institutional capacities

3. Strengthening technical capacities for conservation

    • Technical capacities for wildlife management
    • Technical capacities for the conservation of plants

The fourth day closed with training sessions, were a workshop on National Red Lists of species and ecosystems was also held (Provita/IUCN). More than 25 people attended this workshop, 6 of whom counted on scholarships provided by the Chicago Zoological Society. The workshop was led by Jon Paul Rodríguez with the goal of providing an induction on the evaluation of extinction risk of species and collapse risk of ecosystems, using the IUCN categories and criteria. The attendants received an introduction of the terminology used for evaluations, together with the interpretation of different criteria. At last, several examples were provided on evaluations of species and ecosystems, with practical exercises to be developed on groups. The attendants showed to be very interested and satisfied with the activity.

The involvement of Provita’s team through its projects on the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems allowed to broaden the vision of their role as trainers, get in touch with tools to evaluate their own capacities for conservation and most importantly, provided the opportunity to establish contact with institutions that work precisely to build capacities. In the future this allows to create productive alliances and reach a better and broader impact on conservation projects.