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Pre Congress Sessions

Short course descriptions can be found below. These short courses are free to attend, but do require registration. Please complete this form to let us know which short courses you will attend. You can view the latest schedule here (Archive Schedule - here).

Please register by the end of the day on Friday, 3 December so that we can provide the organizers with an estimate on expected attendance. Courses that have limited capacity will close registration as necessary. 

Pre Congress Trainings, Workshops and Roundtable Discussions

6 December 2021

7 December 2021

8 December 2021

9 December 2021

10 December 2021

Course Descriptions

Human behavior change: Fostering action for conservation success!

6 December, 2021

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Kigali (10:00 AM - 12:00 PM New York)

Topics: behavior change, human dimensions, conservation marketing


Education and raising awareness are crucial parts of fostering sustainable behavior. However, information isn't always enough to inspire people to take action or to shift behavior change among communities and groups. During this interactive skill-building workshop, discover behavior change science and techniques to take your audiences beyond understanding to action. You will discover key behavior change principles and skills, learn from current behavior change initiatives from around the world, and will receive a helpful workbook - leaving you prepared and excited to put what you’ve learned into action. This workshop will help you begin to develop a behavior change initiative of your own by: (1) prioritizing what behaviors you’d like to shift to achieve your conservation goals, (2) identifying target audiences, and (3) drafting impactful messages and strategies to foster sustainable behavior change that has a direct impact on the species and habitats you aim to conserve.

Presented by Drs. Lauren Watkins and Lily Maynard. 

Prioritizing conservation engagement in Africa from the IUCN and the Global Center for Species Survival

6 December, 2021

3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Kigali (8:00 AM - 11:00 AM New York)

Topics: planning, action, future


The Global Center for Species Survival, a partnership between the Indianapolis Zoo and the IUCN SSC, aims to amplify efforts to protect nature. The Global Center supports, connects, and communicates the efforts of conservationists globally to augment their success, with a particular focus on enhancing conservation action efforts. The Global Center seeks assistance from experts in African countries to improve our understanding of conservation challenges, and to increase engagement of African nations across the IUCN SSC specialist groups, task forces and conservation committees.

Despite the crucial role the African continent plays towards preserving global biodiversity, several regions within it remain underrepresented in many conservation network. Given the global importance of Africa’s cultural and biological heritage, the GCSS aims to increase collaboration and bring African voices to the forefront of conservation efforts.

The GCSS aims to support and encourage conservation action, and this roundtable will connect the expertise from those working on the ground, with GCSS coordinators and other relevant global conservation leaders to promote further engagement from African conservationist with the IUCN SSC network and the GCSS.  

Presented by the Global Center for Species Survival.

An introduction to nonviolent communication for managing environmental conflicts

Two day session

7 December, 2021: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Kigali (2:00 AM - 10:00 AM New York)

8 December, 2021: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Kigali (2:00 AM - 10:00 AM New York)

Topics: environmental conflicts, empathic communication, participatory dialogues

Training Course

Non Violent Communication (NVC) is a globally applied communication tool to promote compassion and empathy in communication (www.cnvc.org). It was developed by Marshal Rosenberg and has been applied in many sectors including as a conflict resolution tool in schools, businesses, health, prisons, community groups, and families but has not yet been applied in the conservation sector. The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to NVC and its potential for use in the conservation sector. One trainer is a certified trainer with the Center for Non Violent Communication and has extensive experience with NVC in Africa while the second trainer has been applying NVC to address wildlife governance issues in Namibia. Although most certified trainers are from the global north, NVC is an ideal tool to promote to the conservation sector, especially in the global south, because there are many trainers globally who are willing to provide training on the basis of the gift economy, there is an increasing number of trainers in the global south, there are many resources available freely on the web, there are many books and training materials available for practice groups to use and learn NVC without the need for professional trainers. This introduction course is a stepping-stone to start a journey in NVC.

Presented by Ruth Kansky and Sam Odhiambo.

Introduction to the use of SMART Ecological Records application for wildlife survey design, data collection, and management 

*Registration Closed*

One and a half day session

7 December, 2021: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Kigali (2:00 AM - 11:00 AM New York)

8 December, 2021: 9:00 - 2:00 PM Kigali (2:00 AM - 7:00 AM New York)

Topics: conservation technology, wildlife survey design, sampling

Training Course

SMART Ecological Records (ER) is a component of the SMART system that allows practitioners to plan surveys, digitally collect data on mobile devices, and incorporate these data into the central platform. The course will provide an overview of wildlife monitoring, review of the SMART system and the SMART ER component, introductory statistics including sampling design and power analysis, introduction to the R software and options for analysis of SMART ER data, overview of distance sampling design, field application, and analysis (using either the Distance software or the distance R library), overview of presence/absence (occupancy) survey design, field application, and analysis (using either the Presence software or the RPresence R library), import of survey designs into SMART ER, and mobile survey data collection.

Presented by Anthony Lynam & Samantha Strindberg.

Leveraging ecosystem services science to improve conservation outcomes in Africa

8 December, 2021: 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM Kigali (8:00 AM - 10:00 AM New York)

Topics: ecosystem accounting, protected areas


The future of conservation, economic development and human wellbeing in Africa strongly hinges on the ability of current governments to institutionalize and implement the ecosystem services concept in policy and practice. Although there is accumulating evidence that framing of biodiversity in terms of ecosystem services, natural capital or nature’s contributions to people can be a powerful tool in achieving conservation outcomes, the adoption of the concept in environmental policies in Africa is minimal. Adoption is particularly relevant for sectors such as natural resource management, agriculture, and conservation which are highly dependent on maintaining biodiversity, functional ecosystems and flows of goods and services to society. Several tools and approaches exist to make the dependencies more explicit in national and sub-national policies. However, the field of ecosystem services has advanced enormously in the last decade making it difficult to keep up with emerging concepts, tools and approaches especially as a practitioner.  This Special Session aims to demystify the ecosystem services concept in order to explore how it can be useful for decision making in conservation and natural resource management in Africa. In this vein, the Session aims to demystify ecosystem services and related concepts and demonstrate the ways that associated tools and policy instruments can be leveraged to improve conservation outcomes on the continent.

Joint event by ESP Africa and ICCB 2021.

Gender mainstreaming in environmental research/inclusive research practices

Half day session

8 December, 2021: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Kigali (2:00 AM - 6:00 AM New York)

Topics: gender roles, access, equality, equity

Training Course

We know that because of socially constructed labor roles, rural women and men have different knowledge systems and practices towards the environment. However, traditional research approaches often obscure and omit these gender differences, leading to incomplete scientific understandings. This workshop on gender mainstreaming explores more inclusive methods for research that account for the specific experiences of women and vulnerable populations.  It presents gender-inclusive epistemologies, research designs, field data collection guidance, and data analysis frame to help ensure the voices of all research participants are taken into account. 

Presented by Lain Munir and Maria Cristina Gallegos.

Collecting and reporting the costs of conservation interventions

8 December, 2021: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Kigali (7:00 AM - 9:00 AM New York)

9 December, 2021: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Kigali (10:00 AM - 12:00 PM New York)

Topics: conservation decision support, conservation costs, conservation data management

Training Course

Understanding the financial cost of conservation is necessary for conservation decision support, but collecting good cost data is difficult. This training session aims to summarize tools to collect and report on the costs of conservation interventions and enable participants to explore how to cost interventions in their work. We will use examples from costing exercises in Endangered Species compliance, plastic pollution prevention, and marine protected area management to illustrate the tools and theory, and then walk participants through methods to plan for, collect, and report costs for their projects. The goal of this training is to provide participants with the skills and materials to a) identify and collect appropriate existing cost data so that it can be used for decision support, b) report on cost data that they have used in analyses or reports so that it can be interpreted appropriately, and c) design cost data management systems for new projects. We will use virtual sessions to train participants in costing theory and let them work through costing exercises for their own context. Then, they will use their materials compiled during the virtual sessions as their case study for the in-person component, where participants will draft a basic design for a cost management system for their own context.

Presented by Gwen Iacona.

Creating an engaging E-Learning course for conservation

*Registration Closed*

Two day session

9 December, 2021: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM Kigali (3:00 AM - 6:00 AM New York)

10 December, 2021: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM Kigali (3:00 AM - 6:00 AM New York)

Topics: conservation education, e-learning, innovative teaching

Training Course

Aimed at people interested in online education in conservation, this 2-day course supports the learning of participants on how to create an engaging E-Learning program in conservation science. We critically discuss the underpinnings of effective online education and learn the innovative approaches of online learning: online tools, interactive webinars and gamification, which are becoming increasingly popular and have direct conservation education applications. This is a half E-Learning, half face-to-face workshop using various teaching methods such as online interactive tools, real-time webinars and small group discussions that have proven to be effective in learning. We encourage active engagement among participants so that they can learn from and innovate on their own teaching approaches.

Presented by Cedric Tan and Nurul Asna. 

Workshop on design of results-focused knowledge exchange

9 December, 2021: 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM Kigali (8:00 AM - 12:00 PM New York)

Topics: knowledge exchange, sharing solutions, capacity building, scaling-up success


There is a growing recognition within the conservation community of the power of practitioner-practitioner exchange as an extremely effective way of sharing, replicating, adapting and scaling up successful solutions to the challenges of conservation and/or to avoiding repetition of unsuccessful approaches.  Practitioner exchanges are particularly effective for sharing “how to” or tacit knowledge about solutions, as these “tips and tricks” tend not be fully codified or recorded in written descriptions or case studies.   Practitioner exchange as a modality for capacity building represents a departure from more traditional approaches such as technical assistance or deployment of expert advisors wherein outside experts are relied on to share successful solutions with which they are familiar only through research, and may lack a complete understanding of the full range of factors that underlie the successful implementation elsewhere. While knowledge exchange is an effective form of capacity building, good design can spell the difference between achievement of intended results and waste of resources.  This workshop will introduce a practical, step-by-step approach to design of results-focused knowledge exchange programs.  Using a case on protected-area management in the Philippines, participants will take a hands-on approach to objective setting, identification of knowledge gaps, participant selection, identification of providers and solutions, selection of appropriate exchange modalities, and results measurement. 

Presented by Phil Karp.

Conserving smarter: Using decision science to address the biodiversity crisis

9 December, 2021: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Kigali (5:00 AM - 9:00 AM New York)

Topics: decision-making, conservation Policy, conservation Planning


The session will introduce the newly established Decision Science Working Group (DSWG) (hosted by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Conservation Planning Specialist Group [CPSG]) and the diverse field of decision science and provide opportunities for applying it to decision problems faced by conservation practitioners, NGOs and government agencies around the world. There will be three sections: i) A presentation outlining the DSWG and its functions, which includes analysis of real-life case studies demonstrating the implementation of a decision science approach to conservation problems; ii) A session where participants learn to frame conservation decisions, deconstruct those decisions into key steps, and identify the best tools and frameworks to apply to the decision problem; and iii) An expert panel session where attendees can identify decision problems faced by their respective organisations and panel members will work through the initial steps required to apply a decision-science approach for each scenario.

Presented by the IUCN CPSG Decision Science Working Group.

Spatial planning with Marxan. 

Half day session

9 December, 2021: 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM Kigali (9:00 AM - 1:00 PM New York)

Topics: spatial planning, decision-support, Marxan

Training Course

Marxan is a free and open source, world-leading spatial planning decision-support tool, assisting governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in land, freshwater and seascape planning. This training will be run by Dr. Jennifer McGowan and Prof. Hugh Possingham with two goals in mind 1) to introduce participants to the concepts of systematic conservation planning and theory, and 2) to operationalize and explore these concepts in a new state-of-art spatial planning platform designed to help planners and analysts interface with stakeholders and decision-makers on Marxan projects from anywhere in the world. Participants will walk away with a clear idea of what it takes to conduct a spatial planning activity, from framing the planning problem and selecting the appropriate data, running Marxan in the cloud and analyzing the results, to sharing outputs for review and evaluation. We will also introduce new evaluation analytics relevant to national level biodiversity planning and collaboration functions in the new Marxan platform using case-studies from the Okavango Delta and Rwanda. There are no pre-requisites for this training course. 

Led by Jen McGowan, Brooke Williams and Hugh Possingham.

An introduction to paperless data collection using ODK and KoBoToolbox.

10 December, 2021: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Kigali (2:00 AM - 11:00 AM New York)

Topics: methods, data collection, questionnaires

Training Course

*Registration Closed*
Conservation research and practice often entails the collection of complex data sets across a wide array of environments. ODK and KoBoToolbox offer a suite of free open source applications designed for fast, efficient and secure paperless data collection in a range of environments. These tools allow for the collection of an array of different types of data (text, multiple-choice, GPS, audio, photos etc) using mobile phones or computers in online and offline environments. While primarily used for collecting questionnaire data, these tools are equally well suited to the recording of ecological data.

The course will cater for participants from a range of discipline and is aimed at those with no prior experience of ODK or KoBoToolbox. Over one day, we will provide all the information required for attendees to start using these tools on their own. The course will cover: 1. How to write complex forms using KoboToolbox form builder and XLSForms; 2. Deploying forms to collect data online or offline with mobile devices, or via internet browsers; 3. Managing, accessing and downloading data from servers. There will also be time set aside to offer bespoke support and advice to participants with existing projects that they wish to use with KoBoToolbox or ODK.

Presented by Leejiah Dorward & Harriet Ibbett.

Developing a research agenda for addressing key threats to biodiversity conservation in Africa

10 December, 2021: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Kigali (11:00 AM - 2:00 PM New York)

Topics: Africa conservation, conservation impact, knowledge co-production


Between April 2016 and May 2017 more than 300 conservation scientists and practitioners working in Africa responded to a survey asking for their opinion on the biggest threats to conservation on the continent, what to do about it, and priority research questions that should be addressed in the next five years (up to 2021). Preliminary results suggest that significant discrepancies exist between the type of knowledge that practitioners need in order to achieve conservation impact and that which academics  (researchers) prioritize in their work. Using our results as an entry point for, first understanding and then addressing this research agenda divide, this 4-hour roundtable discussion aims at exploring three critical questions that can help us identify mechanisms to improve future conservation research in Africa.

  • What are the most pertinent research questions that practitioners need answered? 
  • Why is there a research – practice divide?
  • What immediate, short-term and long-term mechanisms are needed to foster impactful research collaborations?

The objective of this roundtable is to use the discussions with participants to identify valuable content for improving a draft Research Agenda for Conservation in Africa that can be finalised post-conference and disseminated widely in the community of conservation scientists, practitioners and funding bodies.

Presented by Tuyeni H Mwampamba, Ruth Kasky & Israel Borokini. 

Making the most of attending a conference: Geared for ICCB 2021 Presenters

9 December, 2021: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Kigali (7:00 AM - 8 AM New York)

Training Course

Whether you're a first time attendee or ICCB veteran, conferences of this scale can seem overwhelming. Additionally, the break away from the traditional format of general sessions may require a different kind of prep than what you might be accustomed to.  Attend this session to learn how to make the most of ICCB 2021 and the conference-going experience that can benefit your career. Tailored to the virtual congress format, you'll learn how to maximize the visibility of your work, interact effectively with other participants, prepare for your panel discussion format, and find collaborations that benefit your career goals.  

Presented by Tuyeni Mwampamba and Badru Mugerwa.