By Larissa Hotra, IUCN Development and Partnerships Officer.

Now two and a half days into IUCN’s Forum, and five days into my first IUCN World Conservation Congress, I can honestly say that I have been blown away by the talented people and projects that are making the Congress centre buzz with life. I had been told that you can’t quite understand an IUCN Congress until you’re here, and that piece of wisdom has proved itself true.

After attending numerous workshops, dialogues, coffee meetings and perhaps a karaoke session or two, I’ve been hearing a recurring message coming out of the sessions: We need more resources to do the work we need to do. We’ve accomplished so much, but there’s so much more to be done. But just where are the resources? What does the landscape for funding look like in 2012? Where is the future of global philanthropy headed? These, and other questions, have echoed in the halls for the last few days.

Appropriately, we’ll be discussing this very topic with seven esteemed philanthropic leaders on September 11, from 11:00-13:00, during “A Dialogue among Philanthropic Leaders on Emerging Environmental Trends.” From small foundations to large, from east to west, biodiversity-focused and not, the panelists will discuss and debate how each views the current and future funding landscapes. Each will offer a unique perspective on how his or her foundation can and has contributed to making conservation happen at different levels. We will hopefully leave with a richer view of what trends are emerging and a story to share.

It’s important to note that foundations and philanthropists also ask themselves a recurring question: We have resources, but how can we best invest our resources in order to do the work we need to do? We have so many excellent partners and projects, but there’s so much more to be done. Lest we forget, there is a parallel relationship that exists between those with resources, and those doing conservation on the ground: each is providing a service, and partnership and good work will flourish when resources and hard work are in harmony.

Let’s see what trends and stories emerge from this, shall we? See you there!