The European and Central Asian Partnership Meeting 2011
The European and Central Asian Division is the largest of the six BirdLife Regions in terms of number of Partners: 45. It is also amazing in terms of biodiversity. It counts 660 regularly occurring wild bird species: 6 Critically Endangered, 7 Endangered, 22 Vulnerable. Sixty six bird species are of global conservation concern (35 Globally Threatened and 31 Near Threatened) and 226 of European conservation concern. BirdLife Partners in the region have identified 5200 IBAs, covering a total area of 2 million sq km, which represents 10% of the total area of the region. To celebrate the (bio)diversity of the region and decide together on strategies and actions to address the threats, over 100 participants from 41 countries (including the Western Balkans) gathered together in Budapest from the 14th to the 17th of April. It was a very powerful meeting with intense discussions, generating ideas on how to build on the past and current successes and to increase the impact of our joint action. In particular, Partners discussed in plenary, through the World Café methodology, the elements that will constitute the new BirdLife Strategy and European and Central Asian programme. Thematic Sessions allowed to identify the new conservation priorities, explore a new approach to our marine work, discuss the evolution of the agreement with FACE. We decided to have a strong focus on partnership development, looking at ways to engage young people, expand the membership base, improve the Partner Support system, increase funding through joint fundraising and expand income from the corporate sector. Several side meetings organised by the participants to discuss specific joint projects and activities offered the opportunity to increase mutual knowledge and the sense of belonging to largest Partnership of conservation Civil Society Organisations.