Contributed by Edmond Dounias, Congress Coordinator

Congress Organizers & Sponsors

The success of the Congress wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts and contributions of the Congress organizers and sponsors.

The preparation of the 2012 Congress was headed by scientists belonging to the two research units of Montpellier, which federates all researchers of Montpellier working in the field of ethnobiology: the research unit “Biocultural interactions” of the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology (CEFE), and the research unit “Governance, risk, environment and development” (GRED). This core group of approximately 20 people worked in close and constant interaction with the ISE Board.

The local institutional organization of the Congress (linked to the ISE through a Memorandum of Understanding) was coordinated by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement [the French Research Institute for Development], a research organization devoted to conducting research in, for and with the countries of the South with the support of Agropolis International, an association linking establishments of research and higher education in Montpellier and the Languedoc-Roussillon region involved in the fields of agriculture, food, biodiversity and environment.

Lunch at the Montpellier CongressBesides having the support of the United Nations, the Congress benefited from the considerable patronage of UNESCO. It was sponsored by:

International organizations

  • The Global Environment Facility
  • The Christensen Fund
  • The Center for International Forestry Research
  • Bioversity International
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development

French institutions and universities

  • Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial [The French Global Environment Facility]
  • Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Biodiversité [The Foundation for Research on Biodiversity]
  • Institut de recherche pour le développement[French Research Institute for Development]
  • Le Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le développement [French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development]
  • Agropolis International
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique [French National Scientific Research Centre]
  • University Montpellier 1, University Montpellier 2, University Montpellier 3
  • The French focal point of the Man and Biosphere Programme of UNESCO

Territorial authorities and state bodies

  • The Languedoc-Research
  • The Regional Directorate for Food, Agricultural and Forests
  • The Regional Directorate for Environment, Development and Housing
  • The Academy of Montpellier
  • The Montpellier Regional Centre for Pedagogical Resources

Sister associations and NGOs

  • Biodiversité: échanges et diffusion d’expériences (BEDE) [Biodiversity Exchange and Diffusion of Experiences]
  • Racines de Terriens [Earthling Roots]
  • Forêts Tropicales Humides:Avenir [Tropical Rainforests: Future]
  • Rencontres mémorables : Un lien et des ponts pour le monde [Memorable encounters: making links and building bridges].

The Congress also benefited from the significant financial contribution of the following partners for the preparation of pre/post-Congress workshops:

  • The Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas Consortium
  • The Global Diversity Foundation
  • The Rachel Carson Center For Environment and Society
  • The Sentimiel Initiative
  • The Missouri Botanical Garden
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew
  • The Gaia Foundation
Concert at the Montpellier Congress

Media Coverage

The Congress was well covered by the media at the local and national levels. A webTV was prepared jointly by the three universities of Montpellier, including live reports every evening. All the media hits of the Congress (25 videos, 1 TV news report, 3 radio news reports, and press review of 15 journal articles) are accessible on the Agropolis International website. This page also gives access to the video of the Montpellier statement (English, French) read by Mrs. Hélène Mandroux, Mayor of Montpellier, during Rio+20. Another interesting video was filmed and edited by Reka Komaromi and is also accessible on Youtube and Facebook.

Social Media at the Congress

Social media capabilities were available at the 2012 Congress to engage participants as well as those who were unable to attend the live event. Please see the list of sites where ISE had an online presence. We welcome your tweets, likes, images and follows and look forward to hearing from you!

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Congress Theme

The overarching theme for the 2012 ISE Congress was highly complementary with the historical background and the intrinsic dynamism of the Montpellier region. Because this region has been influenced by its long and multicultural traditions as well as recent development, we decided to include all these themes under the banner of:

Cultural diversity and biological diversity for sustainable development:
Exploring the past to build up the future.

The remarkable diversity in space and time of both natural environments and human societies has contributed to a complex structure of these coupled systems. Human societies have progressively shaped the various landscapes of the Mediterranean region. Using the features of the proposed hosting region as a source of inspiration, we wished to question the history of human-induced changes for a better understanding of the components and dynamics of current global biodiversity. Congress participants were encouraged to focus on their understanding of past human activities as a means to develop more sustainable patterns of natural resource management in the near future.