Dr Digby Whyte, World Urban Parks CEO, Australia
World Urban Parks will be a year old in April, having publicly launched at the first World Urban Parks Congress at Ponte de Lima in May 2015.
2016 is shaping up to be very active, with members taking the lead in organising the World and Region congresses, making conference presentations, and organising regional and standing committees and developing their services, particularly through working parties.
National associations are developing national versions of the World Parks Academy's CPP certification, members are becoming certified, and others are delivering Academy training webinars. Groups are working on good practices, applied research, benchmarking, advocacy and events, marketing and communications, operations standards, and the development of a think tank for advocacy leadership.
The 2016 World Urban Parks key indicators report is released in this issue, produced in partnership with Yardstick benchmarking. Members are contributing to World Parks News – featuring their parks, policies and reports, national association profiles and activity, as well as selected articles from their professional magazines.
Importantly, members are seeking opportunities to network internationally, participating in congresses, working groups and directly with their colleagues on mutual issues. We have also welcomed a number of new agencies, particularly from the Americas and including Latin America.
A new feature introduced this year will be an annual commission to highlight and facilitate discussion and activity on a selected key issue, such as rethinking parks, climate change, and equity and access. Contributions to the theme can be made at congresses, through working parties, regional activity and think tank discussion.
As Japan is hosting the 42nd G7 Summit in May, our Japanese members are looking to make a proposal to the Japanese Prime Minister for the G7 to champion a United Nations level organisation to promote city parks, green space and recreation.