Helping to develop capacity in conservation policy in Asia

The SCB Asia Section Board recently held its a training workshop on conservation policy, and invited Oceania board members Richard Kingsford and Megan Evans to share their experiences from working on policy initiatives in our region:

SCB Asia board members from around the region, and Chapter representatives from Thailand, Korea, Iran, Bangladesh, and Indonesia came together to participate in the exciting workshop. The goals were to understand conservation policy, how scientists can influence policy, and SCB’s role in shaping policy. SCB Asia’s President, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, led the program, introducing the topic through a review of science and conservation policy journal articles. Amael Borzee, from Korea, introduced a comprehensive glossary of relevant terms.

Scientists experienced in influencing policy shared their knowledge through in-person and virtual presentations and discussions. Sarah Reed, Chair of SCB’s Global Policy Committee, described SCB’s recent Global Policy strategic analysis and SCB’s policy process; Richard Kingsford and Megan Evans, from SCB Oceania, shared their experiences influencing conservation policies in their region, including successes and failures, and answered our many tricky questions; Jeff McNeely, a former SCB Asia President and former Chair of SCB’s Global Policy Committee, with vast experience in IUCN and CBD, detailed his experience in the global and regional policy context and led the rest of the workshop. SCB Asia board member Koustubh Sharma shared the experiences of the Snow Leopard Trust in helping to organize range-wide action involving multiple governments. We discussed the role of SCB Asia in policy, relevant stakeholders, types of policy statements, methods of distributing statements effectively, and how the policy process varies across Asia. We recognized that the Section could play a diversity of roles, depending on the specific issue or context and level of organizational involvement. Our final practice exercise was to work in teams on policy statements of our own choosing, based on topics of relevance to the individuals attending.

It was a thoroughly rewarding and insightful workshop and the Asia Section Board is grateful to the presenters and participants for sharing their time, knowledge, enthusiasm, and experience.