Two Board Members of Conservation Force were selected by IUCN for important posts. First, in March, Shane Mahoney was confirmed as Director of the Sustainable Use
Specialist Group (SUSG) of IUCN. This is part of the revamping of SUSG worldwide. There is to be new leadership and funding of the SUSG.
The SUSG has suffered from a lack of financial resources and support for many years. It has gone without an international head since Jon Hutton resigned as Chairman more than two years ago. Despite the importance of IUCN’s leadership to the development and acceptance of sustainable use necessary for better conservation practices and the human condition, that leadership and steering had lapsed. That was scary. Now, once again, it is promising.
With the promise of new funding from several sources, including perhaps Newfoundland, Professor Rose Connie from Australia has been selected as the new International Chair and Shane as the Director in the North American region. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this development and the growing concern of many that the concept of sustainable use was losing ground.
Shane has been a Board Member of Conservation Force since the death of Dr. Bart O’Gara. He is an active participant of our “Think Tank,” “Conservation Leadership,” “Outreach,” “Communication” and “Best Science” initiatives. He is the second Conservation Force Board Member to serve as the North American Director of the SUSG of IUCN. Conservation Force Board Member Dr. James Teer was the first and longest serving Director of North America.
The IUCN is the largest umbrella organization of conservation organizations and governments in the world. It is made up of a number of commissions, one of which is the Species Survival Commission. That commission, the SSC, is in turn made up of specialist groups. Some are taxon-specific, like the Antelope Specialist Group (ASG), the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG), the Cat Specialist Group (CatSG), the African Elephant Specialist Group (AESG), Caprinae Specialist Group (CSG) and the Rhino Specialist Group (RSG). Those may sound familiar to you because of their role in listing proposals during CoPs of CITES and consultations in ESA listing proposals.
The Specialist Groups affect a lot of policy decisions. In CITES they are official scientific consultants. They serve as scientific advisors to many decision-makers who look to them as the foremost experts with the most up-to-date status information of the respective taxon. Conservation Force leadership serves on and tracks a great number of the Specialist Groups. For example, Philippe Chardonnet, Conservation Force Board Member known recently for all his African lion work, is the Co-Chair of the Antelope Specialist Group (ASG) of IUCN and has recently succeeded in creating the African Buffalo Initiative Group (AfBIG) under the auspices of the ASG. Of course, we serve on many other specialist groups and Conservation Force is a member of the IUCN as an organization as well.