Toward a new Strategy for WAZA: An update on WAZA’s Strategic Planning Process
Posted: 10 November 2022
Earlier in 2022, the WAZA Council and Executive Office, together with strategic planning consultant EcoLeaders, embarked on a journey toward a new strategy for WAZA. WAZA’s strategy will guide the steps we take by setting criteria for how we will make decisions. Those criteria include:
- Guiding principles and approaches
- The unique role that we play
- An aspirational vision for the future
- Clear priority areas for the next few years
Over the past six months, the WAZA Council and Executive Office met several times, both virtually and in-person to develop the strategic plan, including at ZooParc de Beauval (France) in March 2022 and at the Denver Zoo in the United States (US) in July 2022. To ground our strategy discussions in a solid understanding of stakeholder perspectives, we gathered data on beliefs, values, and aspirations for WAZA through the annual member survey. Additionally, a process of consultation with various focus groups including non-members, former members, association members, and institutional members further informed our conversations. As we began to get clear on the enduring parts of WAZA – who we are, what we stand for, and the change we want to make in the world – we invited members of the WAZA committees and subcommittees to share their feedback on our initial progress.
Prior to the 77th WAZA Annual Meeting in Tenerife, the WAZA Council and Executive Office met again to further progress the new strategy for WAZA, based on feedback received from the different focus groups and the WAZA Executive Office. This then culminated in the strategic planning workshop during the WAZA Annual Conference. Attendees were presented with a draft of WAZA’s conceptual framework, which includes a purpose, guiding principles, and niche. This is the long-term part of our strategy that helps us understand what we will and won’t do.
- The purpose is the heart of why we do what we do. It is the overarching statement that expresses why we (WAZA) exists.
- WAZA’s guiding principles describe how we show up to the work. These present what we believe, what we stand for, and what we expect our members to adhere to.
- WAZA’s niche is the unique space that we occupy from which we can demonstrate our global voice, leverage our scale, and provide distinct services to WAZA members, partners, and stakeholders to achieve our purpose. This is the space that we play in that differentiates how we deliver on our purpose from other organisations.
WAZA’s vision is our aspiration for who we want to become and what we want to achieve together; it’s our chosen future. A great vision should stretch us and inspire us to achieve more than we thought possible. It should be transformational, for ourselves and our shared purpose.
WAZA attendees were then invited to divide into breakout groups to share their feedback on the conceptual framework, including any changes they would like to see reflected in it. As a demonstration of commitment to WAZA’s guiding principle of Global Diversity, and Inclusion, Council members hosted breakout groups in a variety of languages, including Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Mandarin.
Additional feedback on the conceptual framework and vision is welcomed through November 18, 2022. The ongoing process of strategic planning is expected to be completed by early 2023, culminating in an extraordinary AGM to be called specifically to vote on WAZA’s new proposed strategy. But the real work begins after approval, where we all will be required to breathe life into this new vision for WAZA so that our collective hopes become a shared reality.
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.