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Preview: 2014 World Parks Congress
by Ron Mader


Publication date: April 2013

#WorldParksCongress is the hashtag for the World Parks Congress @WPCSydney @IUCN


Sydney, NSW - The Government of Australia and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have announced that the 6th IUCN World Parks Congress will be held at the Sydney Olympic Park November 12-20 2014.

The congress takes place once every ten years and is the world's most influential gathering of people involved in protected area management.

Goals for the World Parks Congress

• We’d like the congress to be fully engaged using the social web
Recommendation: Social media is not an add-on to a successful communication strategy. It needs to be embedded from the start. The official website should link to Facebook, Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Twitter and YouTube channels. The social web should be used not only to broadcast and document but to respond and amplify participation. Example: We'd like to see the presentations freely available using Slideshare and mentioned using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
• We’d like the congress to provide livestreaming video for remote participants
Recommendation: We'd like the organizers to experiment now with livestreaming via Google+ hangouts and to assess how live video would work at the event itself. 2012's Conservation Congress and COP11 made excellent use of live video. This could be improved by accepting questions from remote participants using a particular hashtag. We also encourage the use of Google docs to create simultaneous transcripts.
• We’d like the congress to engage locals in Australia and teach visitors about Australia.
Recommendation: We'd like the event to generate an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities facing parks and protected areas in Australia. Information is widely scattered and the congress will be the best venue to focus attention and interest.
• We’d like the congress to register satellite events
Recommendation: The event takes place in a beautiful part of the world, though access will be restricted to the venue. We encourage the use of TED-like satellite events elsewhere in Sydney and around the world. These parallel events would draw local participants for viewing of specific sessions and the possible transmission of their own events or hangouts.
• We’d like the congress to be particularly friendly to Indigenous Peoples
Recommendation: Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples are at the forefront of natural and cultural conservation. Events in Australia begin by acknowledging the traditional owners. We'd like to see this sign of respect embedded through the entire event by focusing attention on the relationships between Indigenous Peoples and parks and protected areas around the world. We can preview this topic during 2014's Indigenous Peoples Week.
• We'd like the congress to serve as an example of how tourism can be embedded in conservation and conservation events
Recommendation: As the world’s most influential gathering of people involved in protected area management, the congress will draw thousands of participants. How this event engages these visitors with locals will be a benchmark for future forums and congresses. We can preview the responsible tourism aspects during 2014's Responsible Travel Week.
• We'd like the congress to serve as an example of Open Educational Resources, Open Access and Open Journalism.
Recommendation: The concepts of Open Educational Resources, Open Access and Open Journalism have been growing in stature in the past decade. To what degree will the congress itself be a showcase? We will raise the question during 2013's Open Access Week. It would be good to develop collaborative work with Australia's ABC Open and The Conversation. For those new to Creative Commons licensing, we should start asap on developing a series of recommendations for policy-makers, academics and other professionals working in parks and protected areas.


At the COP11, officials announced the eight main streams for the upcoming congress:
Achieving conservation results
Engaging a new generation
Broadening participation
Improving health and well being
Reconciling development challenges
Respecting diverse knowledge systems
Reacting to climate change
Securing food and water

These streams may be changed. We will keep an eye on this event as it develops.

Sydney Hosts 2014 World Parks Congress



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