Voice of WILD10: 4 October

Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Blog, Voice of WILD10

The Voice of WILD10

 

Day One: Friday, October 4, 2013:

 

After three years of preparation, day one of the 10th World Wilderness Congress—WILD10—got off to a running start with the passing of the WWC baton from WILD9 Chair Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra to WILD10 Co-Chairs Odile Rodriguez de la Fuente and Magnus Sylven.  Officials from host-country Spain, including the Mayor of Salamanca, the President of the University of Salamanca, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, spoke passionately to the Global Gathering about Spain’s support for WILD10 and humanity’s need to be “wilder and wiser.”

Opening Ceremony of WILD10

Seated in a state-of-the-art conference hall in the center of medieval Salamanca, the delegates received a traditional blessing by Indigenous People from Montana and Brazil. Trekker Geoff Dalglish and more than thirty students who had walked a 125-day Trail to Salamanca, beginning in June in Geneva and ending on the eve of the conference in the magnificent Plaza de Mayor, rose to their feet as the delegates applauded their journey and their dedication to the cause of wilderness in Europe.

Tashka Yawanawa & Julie Cajune

With the end of the Opening Ceremonies, delegates heard from two distinguished panels on the topic “Europe—A Century of Nature Conservation.” Speakers covered the length and breadth of Europe from Laponia to the Alps and from Austria to Iberia, while others reported on the efforts of the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and the IUCN.

The first major outcome of WILD10 was the Vision for a Wilder Europe. The result of 18 months of intense research and debate among 15 leading European conservationists, “The Vision” is a three page summary of recommendations of what a wilder, healthier and more prosperous Europe can be by 2013.  It is backed by a 17 page technical paper. Connected to this “Vision for a Wilder Europe” and another major focus of the first day of WILD10 was  the comeback of selected species of wildlife across Europe due to developing and implementing better conservation policies and programs;  de-population of rural areas by people moving from the country to the city; and  better regulated  hunting.  Findings of a special study by the Zoological Society of London and Birdlife International – -commissioned by Rewilding Europe documents the scientific evidence for the  “Wildlife Comeback in Europe”  and were summarized for the assembled delegates.

Both of these major outcomes were presented in-person to senior representatives of the European Union, Council of Europe and the World Commission on Protected Areas/IUCN.

The “Nature Needs Half” global vision and practical concept was also summarized by a passionate panel of global experts who presented the science supporting  the reality that  — for the sake of a healthier and more prosperous and sustainable society — large natural areas on land and sea need to be approximately 50% intact in extent, and interconnected, to assure the continued provision of the essential, life-supporting  “ecological services.”  After spirited conversation over coffee and refreshments, the delegates returned to the hall for panels on “The Waters,” “The Lands,” and “The Climate,” ending with a live personal address on Skype by Jim Balog, star of the award winning documentary film, “Chasing Ice,” from his home in Colorado.

Before dispersing for the evening, the delegates watched a moving slideshow presentation of “EnArbolar—The Big Trees,” a project and exhibition premiere on the great trees of Europe and the vital importance of primary forests.

Jennifer Scarlott, [email protected]

Photos from 4 October at WILD10

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