The goal of our Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Europe Section Blog is to share stories and relevant information about activities going on within our section and more broadly in the conservation community. Stories and articles shared on our blog should not be taken as an official position or statement of SCB or SCB Europe Section. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Being President?!

Being President

 SCB Europe Section Board at ECCB2018

I have served as President-elect and President of the Europe Section of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) since 2015. My term will now end by December 2020. The term “President” may sound prestigious and demanding, but in practice, more represent being a coordinator and having oversight of the activities of the Section. With an active Board composed of dedicated persons, it is not a difficult task. It is enjoyable and provide opportunities to interact with many of the core conservation scientists active in Europe. Further, as Section Presidents also holds positions on the global Board of Governors of SCB, it provide contacts with the worldwide community of conservation scientists from many sub-disciplines. Personally, this has expanded my understanding on global conservation challenges enormously and played a significant role in my personal development as a researcher. It has been a rare opportunity and I congratulate whoever will take over my position.

In practice, the work being President means to plan and lead Board meetings, maintain contacts with Section committees, together with the treasurer provide oversight of the Section budget and spending’s, and as said, serve on the global Board of Governors. One of the main Section activities are the European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB), which we arrange every third year. The next ECCB will take place in Prague, August 2021. The planning for this major event is on track with a local organization committee with good experience in holding conferences. Other important activities relate to our annual Summer School in European Conservation Biology and the various awards that we provide to students as well as to more senior scientist. An exciting development is that we are well underway to establish the Section as European legal entity and hence move to a more independent relation to global SCB. We strongly believe that fundraising will be easier with a European account compared to asking sponsor to send their support overseas to USA. A target with this move is also to allow us to establish an SCB office within Europe.

Admittedly, we have had problems of recruiting a new President to the Section. When I became President-elect, we had a system of serving first three years as President-elect, followed by three years as President. In late 2017, we had election for President-elect but failed to get any nominee for the position. The Board had serious discussion and decided to change the system to a 1+3 years term, with the hope that it would be easier to recruit if the time commitment became shorter. It was hence a disappointment when we in the election for 2020 again failed to get any nomination for the position. For that reason, we will now have to open another election for the President position, with the aim to have a President-elect during parts of 2020. This will allow a transition period and a chance for the new President to follow the work of the Board for some time before taking over the leadership of the Section. It is my sincere hope that we will be more successful this time!

Yes, being President represent work, but it is fun, rewarding and a unique opportunity to expand you professional network. The Europe Section play an important role to promote conservation within Europe, a role that matters and contribute towards the society’s mission to “To advance the science and practice of conserving Earth’s biological diversity”. So please consider this opportunity and run for being the next SCB Europe Section President!

Bengt Gunnar Jonsson
Current SCB Europe Section President
Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden

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