The World Wilderness Congress, now the world’s longest-running, public conservation project and environmental forum, has humble beginnings. Ian Player and his Zulu mentor Magqubu Ntombela were sitting on the banks of the Imfolozi River in 1974. As a team, they had guided many small trips into the African wilderness. For 8 years they lead groups of 8 people at a time for 5 days on trail. The wilderness experience changes the lives of many participants forever. On this particular day, however, Magqubu turned to Ian and proposed something that has distinctly influence the global wilderness conservation scene: “We are doing good work,” he said, “but we need to do more. We should call an INDABA-KULU, a great gathering, for all people to come together for wilderness.
In a short 3 years time the first World Wilderness Congress convened in South Africa. It was a pioneering event, introducing the concept of wilderness as an issue of international importance. Each Congress there-after has broken new ground and has had real positive conservation results globally. The Congress has now convened 9 times on 5 continents and is the world’s longest-running, public conservation project and environmental forum.
The WWC is not your typical “conference” – it integrates art, science, management, government, academia, native leaders, youth, corporate leaders and advocates into a multi-year conservation program, with unique results at each convening. It is the best-known and most effective global platform for debating and acting on wilderness issues. We provide a balanced approach, taking on highly charged issues in a constructive manner, and most importantly helping to facilitate solutions.
WWCs are also critical venues for education, training, networking, and information exchange across diverse groups. Our goal is to build this global wilderness community through online communications in-between the physical gathering at each WWC.
The WWC is an ongoing conservation project, focused on generating hope and inspiration through achieving practical and positive outcomes in policy, new wilderness areas, new funding mechanisms, trainings for communities and professionals, and more. Read the outcomes of the most recent WWC, WILD9, which convened from 6-13 November 2009 in Merida, Mexico with 1800 delegates from 50 nations.
The 10th World Wilderness Congress (WILD 10) will be in Salamanca, Spain, October 2013 (more info)