The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, and institutions, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Zoo Educators Association (IZE), with which it has had a long-standing history of cooperation.
Together, WAZA and IZE will work to enhance the capacity of members in biodiversity conservation. This will be done through communications and visitor engagement, as well as a range of educational programmes for all ages.
Following the agreement, WAZA and IZE now have a strategic partnership, and a framework to advance joint communication activities around conservation education, interpretation and behaviour change. They will be able to share expertise and resources to extend their reach and impact. Plus, IZE will bring expertise and guidance on conservation education.
The two organisations have worked closely over the years, sharing a central office in Switzerland from 2004 to 2010 and working on complementary missions. IZE and WAZA share the same vision for global biodiversity conservation and previously collaborated on multi-year nature play programmes at global zoos and aquariums.
In 2020, they jointly published Social Change for Conservation – The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Education Strategy, a global strategy on conservation education that aims to guide zoos and aquariums to achieve educational, behavioural social outcomes which are key to their organisational missions.
Strengthening the relationship
WAZA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Martín Zordan, says: “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with IZE, an organisation with whom we share the same values for the future of biodiversity conservation. Both IZE and WAZA are committed to helping and supporting our members to develop and foster visitor engagement.”
“As we continue to face the challenges of climate change, habitat alteration, invasive species and other factors that affect biodiversity, our partnership with WAZA is even more important,” says IZE President Debra Erickson.
“As we work together to provide the resources our members need to connect people to wildlife and conservation, they will continue to develop an empathy and caring in their guests for animals and plants, which will lead to our global audiences’ support of efforts to protect biodiversity.”
Earlier this month, WAZA announced that, due to the pandemic, it will host the 76th WAZA Annual Conference online rather than in person. The virtual event will take place from 11 – 14 October 2021