Another year has ended; our 5th year in activity! It is a good time to reflect on what we have been able to achieve in the past 12 months, and plan for our next steps forward.
It is encouraging to realize how much we’ve accomplished and at the same time how fast the year has gone (we will be sharing in the coming days our Annual Report 2019). But we must at all time remain humble in measuring our impacts and continue our efforts with our local, holistic, multidisciplinary and collaborative approach.
This year 2019, we reached a milestone with the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lao Government (with our partner the Nakai – Nam Theun National Park Authority) to implement all our activities for (at least) the next 5 years.
We have maintained and strengthened our four pillar programs (biodiversity research, anti-poaching patrols, conservation awareness and community sustainable livelihoods) and have built new collaborations with various partners. With the development of new projects, our team also grew with notably twelve new rangers and five new team members who each come with their own skills to make our association stronger and more diversified.
To me this year feels somehow a little different, like a step closer to our mission and our vision. Last year, at around the same period, I was writing in my foreword of our Annual Report 2018 that answers to the current biodiversity crisis we are facing will only come about if community members of the civil society participate collectively in the management of natural resources and build solutions for their resilience as well as strengthen and cultivate their local traditions and knowledge. This year, I am very pleased that we have launched our Community Resilience and Biodiversity Conservation project, and excited to see this project develop in the coming years.
We have so much to undertake and along the way we will encounter challenges. But every experience will test our resilience and ultimately brings about lessons learnt from which we can strengthen our values, purpose and vision. Every new year, we strive to go one step further towards them. And to us, they are a Community Spirit, Resilience and Sustainable Living; Optimism and Perseverance; Compassion, Kindness and Non-Violence; Honesty and Truthfulness; Dedication, Creativity and Pragmatism…and an endless Wonder and Respect for the Natural World and its Intrinsic Value and Beauty… I am looking forward to this new year 2020.
And as I was writing last year, equally important, as conservationists, we, as individuals, must reflect on our deepest motivations and seek the wisdom, self-awareness and courage to make personal choices and changes towards a more sustainable way of life. All our individual actions have consequences, and therefore every one of us has the power to make global changes.
Founder and director
Nakai, Laos, 4 January 2020