Training event strengthens communications capacities of conservation actors across Asia

Location: Bangkok, Thailand. 5th Jul 2017

40 conservation practitioners from 13 countries across Asia took part in a capacity-building workshop on strategic communications in Bangkok, Thailand from 5-7 July. The workshop was organised by IUCN, in collaboration with Mangroves for the Future (MFF) and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
Group photo of all workshop participants and facilitators

Workshop participants and facilitators

The workshop aimed to help participants play a bigger role in telling stories about IUCN’s, MFF’s and CEPF’s work on the ground to key stakeholders in the government and private sectors.  It also aimed to equip participants with a set of communications tools and techniques that can help them engage and influence key target audiences, through more effective communication of project results, stories of positive impact and lessons learned.

IUCN communications officers, MFF national coordinators and representatives from CEPF grantee organisations – comprised of civil society organisations from across the Indo-Burma region – worked in small groups to discuss communications concepts, with a focus on story-telling techniques. Participants also worked individually to produce stories of positive change.

Facilitated by Peter-Paul Van Kempen and Li Hanying from IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communications, and assisted by the IUCN Asia Communications team, the workshop introduced key drivers of change, such as ‘motivation’, ‘habits’, and ‘social pressure’. Participants also learned how to utilise these drivers of change to influence key conservation stakeholders.

By bringing representatives from two major regional programmes as well as IUCN country offices together, the workshop contributed to strengthening coordination and communication between diverse conservation initiatives in the region.

“As IUCN’s model is based on partnerships, effective communication with these partners is an essential ingredient in our success, from grassroots stakeholders to policy-makers and the international community, including the private sector,” says Dr Tejpal Singh, Deputy Regional Director, Programme, IUCN Asia.  “In order for IUCN to advance the conservation and sustainability agenda, it is important for the organisation to be able to influence government policies and mechanisms and to engage and influence the private sector to foster positive change in business practices.”

MFF and CEPF are two of the largest grant-making mechanisms in Asia, aiming to promote investments in coastal ecosystems and to safeguard biodiversity respectively.

Left to right: Hélène Marre, Nathisha Pattrom, Maeve Nightingale

Members of the MFF Secretariat, left to right: Hélène Marre, Nathisha Pattrom, Maeve Nightingale

Workshops of this nature are a priority for both MFF and CEPF, as these programmes enhance the capacity of staff and grantees to use strategic communications to help drive policy change. MFF’s mid-term review recommended that there should be an increased focus on embedding analytical thinking to enable programme staff to effectively capture lessons learned, accomplishments and challenges.

CEPF also places a special focus on communications and story-telling as a means to encourage investments in biodiversity conservation and work towards achieving conservation goals.

The workshop was attended by conservation practitioners from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.

For more pictures from the workshop visit the Facebook album

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Founded in 2000, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a global leader in enabling civil society to participate in and benefit from conserving some of the world’s most critical ecosystems by providing grants for organisations to help protect biodiversity hotspots, Earth’s most biologically rich yet threatened areas. CEPF is a joint initiative of l'Agence Française de DéveloppementConservation International (IUCN Member), the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan (IUCN State Member), the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank.

IUCN is leading the second phase of CEPF's work in the Indo-Burma hotspot, working together with the Myanmar Environment Rehabilitation-conservation Network (MERN) and Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) to form the CEPF Regional Implementation Team (RIT).

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MFF participants present their completed storyboard exercise ... , Four Wings Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand © IUCN

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