AHEAD Update – September 26, 2003

Hi all -

I am sorry for not being able to get in touch with everyone sooner. I spent an additional week in South Africa (see below), and am only just now getting my head above water post-Durban.

*Let me start off by saying thanks again to all of you for a productive, fascinating forum at the World Parks Congress. I want to especially again thank the working group facilitators and recorders for the extra work we 'volunteered' them for!

*I should also note that if you wish to be removed from this e-mail list, please just let me know. My hope is to keep AHEAD Invitees up-to-date on developments post-Durban over time, but I certainly understand if anyone wants to opt out of receiving such messages.

*Attached please find a group photo- one of several that we got. I had to reduce the resolution to facilitate e-mail transmission, but I thought folks might want to have it. If possible, we will include one in the Proceedings. I don't think we have a photo where everyone is present and visible. If you don't like this one for whatever reason, please let me know and I will try to find another one that meets your particular need.

*For those of you who have not yet seen it, the official IUCN Vth World Parks Congress "Emerging Issues" document is available on the web at
http://www.iucn.org/themes/wcpa/wpc2003/ .

For the first time in the 40 year history of the Congress, 'Disease and Protected Areas' is one of the key emerging issues identified for attention. Please know that this would not have happened without YOU- your participation in the AHEAD forum is already helping to get these issues 'on the screen,' one of the short-term goals of the AHEAD inception forum. Thank you!

*One of my next major tasks to to assemble the Working Group notes so that I can send a draft out to all of you for final comment. Please know that I will get the notes sorted out as soon as I can. I certainly don't want to lose the momentum I feel you generated at the AHEAD launch, and I thank you in advance for your ongoing patience at this stage. We really hope you will evaluate many of the ideas you generated and continue to develop them into real programs. Our current thinking is that the working group notes should ultimately be incorporated into the Proceedings, along with the full papers, etc. Once I manage to get the compiled notes out to you, any errors of omission / co-mission should be brought to my attention by working group participants who notice them. If there is anything controversial (unlikely, I think), I will contact that working group's facilitator and/or recorder for clarification, etc. Obviously, the idea will be to tighten-up loose-ends, not to reopen issues already debated within groups at the meeting.

*I will also be developing the next steps for getting the papers edited for the Proceedings. To that end, I would really like all remaining papers by October 15th if possible, as I'd mentioned. If you are revising the paper you already submitted, please send your revised draft to me by October 15th as well. Thanks! Also- anyone interested in helping to edit the papers (this will involve being listed as a co-editor on the Proceedings), please confirm that with me as soon as possible. Right now I have Michael Kock, Philip Nyhus, Sarah Cleaveland, and myself- but I think I may be forgetting a few of you who expressed interest? Thank you.

-We are working to arrange the posting of the Powerpoint presentations on the web, and we'll of course keep you updated on that. If possible, we may even post some of the photos we took of speakers during the meeting. At this stage, the AHEAD Invitees' Briefing Packet is posted at www.fieldvet.org in pdf format, and will shortly be posted there in HTML format as well.

-I am happy to confirm that the Wildlife Conservation Society's Field Veterinary Program, under AHEAD auspices, has agreed in principle to support a 10-day consultancy to continue to flesh-out the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) concept that was initiated by the GLTFCA Working Group at the AHEAD forum. WCS feels this type of seed-funding is important as we try to move some of the most promising ideas to have come out of the forum towards implementation. I have received no other requests for similar support from other groups. While our funds are still quite limited, if we can be of some assistance please contact me so we can discuss possibilities.

-After Durban, WCS and colleagues in Kruger had some very productive follow-on meetings. Some real progress was made in further delineating collaborative approaches to some of the health-related issues facing the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), for example, and we will work hard to find ways forward on some of the issues identified as priorities. It appears that the November WDA / SAVA meetings at Onderstepoort will offer an excellent opportunity for many of the AHEAD stakeholders and additional parties to continue to plan future actions.

-Similarly, a proposal is being submitted to the U.S. Dept. of State for AHEAD work in collaboration with SANParks and Tanzania's TANAPA. While there is no guarantee of success when competition for funding is intense, we are thrilled that collaborators are already trying to work together to make what we were able to do in Durban 'more than a meeting'- a beginning, not an endpoint!

-I would encourage those of you who do wish to move your ideas forward to explore some of the funding possibilities that were discussed at the meeting. While funding is very competitive, the Wellcome Trust is worth contacting as you look at options. If WCS can be of assistance in terms of moving things AHEAD, please let me know.

-We still need invoices and bank wire information from some of you to complete reimbursements- please contact Angela Yang ayang@wcs.org so we can complete that process soon. Thank you.

More as soon as I can get caught-up on the working group notes,
Steve O.