Magpie 28 – Partnership for Change, the Inside Story

Magpie 28 Partnership for Change Inside Story

Partnerships for Change the inside story

It was billed as a partnership. The Chair was Dr. Martin Holdgate, Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and there was an International Advisory Group. The Conference was organised by the Department for the Environment on behalf of the British Government, the Green Alliance acting as programme advisers.

The list of “partners” (i.e. delegates?) made interesting reading Oxfam’ – Particularly for the UK day. WWF was there, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Tidy Britain Group, Forestry Commission for example, plus no fewer than four del-egates from Groundwork Foundation and Groundwork Trust. But where were RSPB, RSNC Wildlife Trusts (The London Wildlife Trust was there but the Environment City Project was represented by Leicester City Council, not the RSNC), BTCV, the NCVS Environment Support Team, not to mention English Nature (perhaps the IUCC represented them), the Countryside Commission? I know space was limited, but a quick flip through Who’s Who in the Environment would suggest quite a few UR partners who surely deserved to be there, particularly as the International bodies represented groups as diverse as the Communities Forestry, Social Development of Ghana and the Boy Scouts of Costa Rica.

Somebody remarked to me that while the Conference was saying it must listen to the voice of the people, the real voice of the people was with the banners and protesters outside (and, I believe, inside, in spite of incredible security measures!) 

However, to the good things: first and foremost, there are a lot of very positive initiatives going on around the world to bring environmentalists and community together. The business community was represented; in spite of the money it poured * into specific eco-friendly projects, the speaker from Shell was given a pretty rough time, and was left in no doubt as to feelings over the company’s global policy! The overall im-pression was of many individual efforts, each struggling to make things better in its own patch, therefore (hopefully) eventually world-wide.

John Gummer announced that the UK has accepted an invitation from the UN’s Environment Programme to host the 1994 World Environment Day, which will be held on the 3rd of June. The main focus of the event will be “the presentation of awards to the Global 500 laureates who have made outstanding contributions to the protection of the environment” – so I don’t know how relevant it’s likely to be to most folks. 

Of course next year the Global Forum comes to Manchester from the 27th of June to the 3rd of July with the theme of Cities and Sustainable Development. I do hope there are a few more “partners” in evidence – and that includes the people of Manchester and elsewhere. //

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