Back home from Montpellier, where I attended the ICCB-ECCB. Wow... what a meeting. An extreme abundance of experiences, of which I would share only a few. Unavoidable is the headache on which parallel section to attend, but finally I managed to attend a couple of great talks. I liked the plenaries, although they varied in the approach to the audience - and the success. Although some colleagues think that plenaries are boring, too general, lacking science etc., I do not agree. Plenaries are to give insights, lessons or even visions on the main directions of conservation, including even philosophical debates. And we got that in Montpellier.
The strong emphasis in IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) is an important step. If our community want to take a role in this intergovernmental process, we need to know it and be involved. SCB is an active stakeholder from the beginning of IPBES (see also editorials in Conservation Biology) and now it was spread to the 2000+ audience.
I liked the large free space at the Antigone level, which provided a quite place for rest, discussion or checking e-mails. It is vital in a meeting of this size to provide such relaxing spaces. Indeed. During one poster session I leaved this level and descended to the first floor, and the voice of thousands of people from the zero level lobby was simply frightening, I almost ran back!
Although SCB meetings usually great for the social programs and funs, I would like to highlight a new intervention at this meeting, and this was the jam session on Wednesday evening. Organised by European Section board member, Francisco Moreira, it turned to be a great evening. Fans of instruments from guitar to flute and drums, and singers slowly showed up, and entertained us at a more or less professional level. Considering that these guys met first time to play music together, I have to say I had serious reservations on whether it will be something good to attend, but I thought I have to be in the audience to support Francisco :-). And indeed it was worth to attend and enjoy the evening including singing several songs together with the ad hoc SCB band.
As I was involved into the organisation for a while, I know what extreme difficulties were behind the scene, including the rather complex organisational structure, a result of being both global and European conservation congress (thus the global board, the European board, the executive office and the SCB conference committee had responsibilities), and some unexpected changes in key persons. The result of such a huge meeting, with a smooth running, however is a great success of the organisers, led by Piero Visconti (Europe Section president), Raphael Mathevet from Montpellier (Europe Section board member), and Geri Unger SCB executive director.
Now, after a busy day in the field in the central Camargue wetland bird paradise, I have one day to recover, then back to the office. But the week behind was a great time for me.