Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Thursday 14 June 2007

Communicating Biodiversity

On 11 June the Partners of the Countdown 2010 Initiative met in Brussels. Success stories were reported, a vision for the coming years was developed in a plenary session and detailed in workshops into strategic steps for priority areas. One workshop dealt with communicating biodiversity and I had the privilege to facilitate the dialogue between 12 representatives of ministries, agencies, municipalities, and private sector.

In two groups - using the conversation cafe method - communication issues were explored that need more attention, if Countdown 2010 wants to realize the vision and strategic intent for the next few years, formulated in the morning session. Both groups came up with very similar findings. I share here the most important conclusions of the workshop.

Target groups have to be better defined and researched on what would motivate them to take action. Opportunities for new target groups among municipalities, were identified through the partnership with ECLEI. The trend of ‘sustainable employment’ was mentioned as an opportunity to involve trade uinions ad potential partners. Business needs more attention and should be approached in a less 'NGO-manner'.

Objectives have to be formulated more carefully. Awareness raising about the loss of biodiversity is different objective from motivating to become an active partner in Countdown 2010 and broaden the basis of support.

Messages about the objective should be tailored to the target group. A general message is that everyone has a role to play, to contribute to halting the loss of biodiversity. For each group the message should also be clear on what they can do to contribute, preferably with inspiring examples of peers who already are engaged.

The identity and brand of both Countdown 2010 and biodiversity need more work on. Countdown has to be more clearly presented as a campaign to broaden the support in society to halt the loss of biodiversity. Participants felt a strong need for a more positive branding of biodiversity and more links with climate change.

• Representatives appreciated the communication channels used so far: using the different networks of sectors, using the web across sectors, signing the Declaration, and triggering free publicity. They felt that the use of protagonists (e.g. football players, TV actors etc.) could add value to existing channels. The campaign should also capitalize more on using existing and planned vents.

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