IUCN Congress Bulletin


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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (iisd)


Vol. 39 No. 12
Monday, 22 November 2004



IUCN members convened in plenary for the 30th and 31st sitting of the Congress in the morning and the afternoon to receive reports from the President, the Director General, the Councilís Governance Task Force, the Credentials Committee Chair, and the Commission Chairs, and to hear presentations from the Chairs of the Programme and Resolutions Committees. Contact groups met throughout the day to deliberate motions for resolutions and recommendations, while candidates for election gave presentations in the afternoon and evening.

Memberís Business Assembly


FIRST REPORT OF THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE: Diane Tarte, Credentials Committee Chair (Australia), reported on recent activities of the Committee, and announced Afghanistanís interest in rejoining the Union.

PRESENTATION BY CHAIR OF THE RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE ON THE RESOLUTIONS PROCESS: Pierre Hunkeler, Resolutions Committee Chair (Switzerland), presented recent amendments to several motions (CGR/3/2004/CRP 01) on: the International Covenant on Environment and Development (RES018); endorsement of the Earth Charter (REC003); removal of perverse incentives (REC006); conservation of Mediterranean-type ecosystems (REC022); strengthening the arctic legal regime (RES030); influencing private sector actions (RES046); and climate change adaptation (RES041 and 042).

PRESENTATION BY CHAIR OF THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE ON PROGRAMME PROCESS INCLUDING RESOLUTIONS RELATED TO THE PROGRAMME: Angela Cropper, Programme Committee Chair (Trinidad and Tobago) said the process for the development of the 2004-2008 programme was the first that brought the work of the Secretariat and the Commissions together, providing an overarching framework for IUCNís activities. She said the draft programme was based on: decisions taken at the 2nd World Conservation Congress (WCC); a situation analysis; and a review of lessons learned, following which, an extensive global consultation process was undertaken. She highlighted that 67 motions were programme-related, some of which had financial implications.

PRESIDENTíS REPORT: Yolanda Kakabadse, IUCN President, reported on her activities over the past eight years, highlighting the success of the 2nd WCC, the Vth World Parks Congress and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. She described activities aimed at increasing the profile of the management and the Secretariat, including visits to governments, country and regional offices, and participation at international meetings. She outlined a number of priority initiatives, such as promotion of environmental education, work on the Earth Charter, participation in various MEAs, and engagement with extractive industries and the World Bank.

DIRECTOR GENERALíS REPORT: Achim Steiner, IUCN Director General, reported on: activities of the Union since the 2nd WCC (CGR/3/2004/7); membership development (CGR/3/2004/8); follow-up to the resolutions and recommendations of the 2nd WCC (CGR/3/2004/9); financial affairs; and knowledge management. He noted that the world has changed since the previous Congress, highlighting the 11 September 2001 attacks, global economic downturn, increased corporate influence and shifts in international funding priorities among others. Steiner highlighted that while membership has increased, financial growth has been modest, and attributed this to the global economic situation. He underscored the importance of corporate social responsibility in the Union, and mentioned IUCNís CO2 audit. Steiner underscored the importance of the 2010 Biodiversity Target, highlighted IUCNís renewed interest in marine issues, and stressed that while IUCN has evolved, its core conservation mission endures. Highlighting that the Union currently has over 1,000 members, he underscored its continued focus on regionalization and decentralization. In closing, Steiner applauded the Commissionsí achievements since the previous Congress, praised them for their dedication and tireless work, and extended his gratitude to the entire IUCN staff.

In the plenary discussion on the Director Generalís report, members addressed issues relating to: governance; progress on resolutions and recommendations from the 2nd WCC; the need to reflect the criteria for assessing implementation in the report; and involvement of co-sponsors in follow up work on the resolutions and recommendations. Members also discussed IUCNís objectives and challenges, with one member identifying cooperation with the private sector as the Unionís greatest challenge.


JOINT PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR GENERAL REPORT: Report on the External Review: Achim Steiner presented the findings and recommendations of the external review, and the responses from the Secretariat and Council (CGR/3/2004/10). He said the review focused on: programme strategy and implementation; IUCNís strategic positioning; management and operational systems; assessment of the governance reform process; and financial viability.

Gabor Bruszt, Review Team Leader, called attention to the highlights and challenges identified by the review. He said the programme framework signifies a milestone for the way in which IUCN conceptualizes and structures its efforts, but noted some weaknesses in relation to setting priorities, resourcing and managing. On the governance recommendations, he said it remains to be seen if they will be implemented by the Council and Congress. Bruszt also identified future challenges, including how to shift from a market-driven to a mission-driven vision.

Report on the Governance Task Force and amendments to the Statutes: Lyn Holowesko, Chair of the Councilís Task Force on Governance (Bahamas), provided an overview of the Councilís recommendations on governance reform, focusing on core recommendations concerning the: WCCís cycle, themes, format and resolutions process; Councilís structure, size, functioning and accountability; Commissionsí positions within the IUCN programme, reporting and accountability; and regional governance mechanisms, roles and functions.

Juan Mayr, Governance Committee Chair, outlined the process for responding to the recommendations from the Report on Governance Reforms and Proposed Amendments to the Statutes and Rules of Procedures (CGR/2/2004/23 & Annex 1-3).

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONSí REVIEW: Achim Steiner noted that the objectives of the external review were to ensure: relevance of Commissions to the IUCN constituency, policy and programmes; and effectiveness and efficiency in fulfilling the programme.

Anne Whyte, Review Committee Leader, introduced the summary report of the external review (CGR/3/2004/11) and briefed members on the outcomes of the review, emphasizing the need for IUCN to: strengthen planning and accountability; consider new requirements for the commission mandates; develop new reporting guidelines; and implement gender policies.

David Brackett, Chair of the Commissions, stressed the importance for the Commissions of having volunteer networks, strong and clear mandates, and linkages with the Secretariat and leadership. He recommended: a policy of voluntarism from the Council, action on knowledge management, and a more open budget process.

REPORT OF THE CHAIRS OF COMMISSIONS: The Congress received and considered the reports of the Chairs of the Commissions (CGR/3/2004/12).

World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA): Kenton Miller, WCPA Chair, highlighted the Vth WPCís outputs, the upcoming International Marine Protected Areas Congress, and WCPAís partnership with the CBD. Mohamed Bakkar, WCPA Vice-Chair, highlighted the importance of NGO partnerships at the Vth WPC and called for closer collaboration with other Commissions.

Commission on Environmental Law (CEL): Michael Jeffery, CEL Deputy Chair, outlined the achievements of the Commission, highlighting its recent activities, which focused on: promoting new ethical and legal concepts to enhance sustainability; building capacity in all regions; and promoting the role of the judiciary in the implementation of environmental law and policy.

SSC: David Brackett, SSC Chair, emphasized the importance of voluntarism in supporting the IUCN Programme. He presented an overview of the accomplishments of the SSC, including the 2004 Red List of Threatened Species and the Wildlife Trade Programme.

Commission on Education and Communication (CEC): Denise Hamķ, CEC Chair, briefed members on the main achievements of the Commission, highlighting their efforts on: enhancing capacity of IUCN members in education and communication; supporting environmental conventions; reaching out to new stakeholders; and supporting the development of education programmes.

Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP): Taghi Farvar, CEESP Chair, described the Commissionís programmes and presented examples of field-based initiatives with IUCN members. He highlighted that CEESP is the only Commission without support from IUCNís core budget.

Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM): Hillary Masundire, CEM Chair, summarized the Commissionís activities and noted major accomplishments in the areas of: promoting application of the ecosystem approach; developing indicators of ecosystem status; promoting cost-effective ecosystem restoration methods; and disseminating ecosystem management tools.

SIR PETER SCOTT CONSERVATION MERIT AWARD: David Brackett presented this award to Georgina Mace, Institute of Zoology, UK, for her contributions to the IUCN Red List.


Contact groups discussed the following resolutions: A moratorium on the further release of genetically modified organisms (RES011); Policy on control of animal populations for the purpose of biodiversity conservation (RES012); International Covenant on Environment and Development (RES018); Audit of international conventions, treaties and agreements on the environment (RES016); Drafting a charter of ethics for biodiversity conservation (RES017); Policy on capacity building and technology transfer (RES020); Establishment of the World Conservation Learning Network (RES026 and RES025); Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (RES029); Arctic legal regime for environmental protection (RES030); Protection of the Macal River Valley in Belize (RES032); Community Conserved Areas (RES037); Adapting to climate change: a framework for conservation action (RES042); IUCNís energy-related work related to biodiversity conservation (RES044); IUCNís interaction with the private sector (RES047) and Influencing Private Sector actions in favour of biodiversity (RES046); Undersea noise pollution (RES053); International cooperation on forest management (RES055); Conservation and sustainable management of high seas biodiversity (RES057); Genetically Modified Organisms and Biodiversity (RES061); Promoting food sovereignty to conserve biodiversity and end hunger (RES067); Mobile Indigenous Peoples and Conservation (RES068); On the undesirability of floating atomic stations in the worldís oceans (RES052); Ecoagriculture (RES060); Poverty relief, food security and conservation, Conserving nature and reducing poverty by linking human rights, and the environment, On the role of conservation organizations in poverty alleviation and development (RES064, RES065 & RES066); Conservation in war-torn regions of West Asia - Strengthening IUCNís presence to protect the natural and human environment (RES069); and Inclusion of two new categories within the classification of wild flora and fauna species: protected species of commercial value and circumstantially harmful species (RES075).

Contact groups also discussed the following recommendations: Conservation of Canadaís boreal forest (REC021); Removal of perverse incentives for conservation and sustainable use (REC006); Application of the IUCN Sustainable Use Policy to sustainable consumptive utilisation of wildlife and recreational hunting in Southern Africa (REC007); and Conservation of Dugong, Okinawa Woodpecker, and Okinawa Rail in Japan (REC032).

Editorís Note: IISD Reporting Service coverage focused on a limited number of contact groups.

MOTIONS FOR RESOLUTIONS: A moratorium on the further release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs): This contact group, facilitated by FranÁois Droz, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, met in the afternoon to consider the resolution (RES011) sponsored by the Ecological Society of the Philippines, Sri Lankaís Environmental Foundation Ltd., Bangladeshís Centre for Sustainable Development and others.

In this contact group, members generally agreed that the call for a moratorium was essential to the resolution. Delegates agreed to language stating that the Congress calls for a moratorium on further environmental releases of GMOs until they can be safe for biodiversity and human and animal health. They also agreed to language that the Congress urges the Director General to compile and disseminate a report on current knowledge on the dispersal and effects of GMOs on biodiversity and human health within one year from the adoption of this resolution.

Community Conserved Areas (CCAs): This contact group, facilitated by Aroha Mead, New Zealand, discussed the resolution (RES037) sponsored by a number of NGOs. Facilitator Mead opened the discussions explaining that the resolution had been referred to a contact group due to potential conceptual opposition to CCAs, and the mandates that the resolution imposes on three Commissions. Following deliberations, delegates agreed, with minor amendments, to text, which states that the Congress: recognizes and affirms the conservation significance of CCAs; requests the WCPA to ensure that CCAs are incorporated in its programme and guidance; requests the CEESP to support CCA-related studies, inventories and monitoring; and requests the Director General to develop Secretariat capacity accordingly.

Resolutions on interaction with the private-sector: This contact group, chaired by Juan Carlos Bonilla, Conservation International, met in the afternoon to consider two resolutions: Influencing private sector actions in favor of biodiversity (RES046) and IUCNís interaction with the private sector (RES047).

On influencing private sector actions in favor of biodiversity, participants agreed to language, which states that the Congress urges the Council to explore and articulate principles, criteria and guidelines for IUCN to engage with the private sector. They also agreed to language that Congress requests: the Director General to review, and make publicly available, past experience and lessons learned from IUCN initiatives with the private sector; and to elaborate a workplan describing a number of pilot initiatives to be considered by the IUCN Council.

On IUCNís interaction with the private sector, participants agreed to text, which states that the Congress calls on the Director General to initiate an open and participatory process to strengthen the principle of engagement and develop guidelines before entering into further interactions with the private sector. They also agreed that the Congress recommends to the Director General that the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent is considered in all dialogues with the private sector.

Conservation and sustainable management of high seas biodiversity: This contact group, facilitated by Damiano Luchetti, Italian Ministry of the Environment and Territory, met in the afternoon to consider the resolution (RES057) sponsored by Australiaís Department of the Environment and Heritage, Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and numerous NGOs.

Following deliberations, the contact group agreed to text, which says that the Congress calls on the Director General and IUCN members to facilitate several actions by States and international organizations, including, inter alia, to:

  • further the expert processes within IUCN in order to contribute to the work of the UN General Assembly Ad Hoc Open-Ended Informal Working Group to identify governance gaps and recommend options for improved governance arrangements;

  • consider the development and adoption, within the framework of UNCLOS, of new international instruments and/or additional mechanisms for governance and sustainable management of high seas biodiversity;

  • investigate the development of mechanisms under the World Heritage Convention;

  • explore ways in which existing rules and mechanisms concerning flag state implementation can be strengthened; and

  • cooperate to establish representative networks of marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction and to develop the scientific and legal basis for their establishment and contribution to a global representative network by 2012.

Resolutions on poverty, human rights and conservation: Facilitated by Crispian Olver, South Africaís Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, this contact group met in the evening to discuss three resolutions: Poverty relief, food security and conservation (RES064); Conserving nature and reducing poverty by linking human rights and the Environment (RES065); and The role of conservation organizations in poverty alleviation and development (RES066).

There was a general discussion on the three motions, with participants deliberating the option of amalgamating them. Following informal consultations with the resolution sponsors, the contact group agreed to pursue the motions as separate resolutions, while ensuring the broad alignment of the cross cutting theme of poverty and biodiversity in all three motions.

On the role of conservation organizations in poverty alleviation and development, participants proposed balancing the focus of the preambular paragraphs between the responsibility of donor countries and developing countries. They also agreed to insert new text recognizing that conservation projects and protected areas should contribute to poverty eradication and not exacerbate or contribute to poverty.

On conserving nature and reducing poverty by linking human rights and the environment, discussion focused on balancing the human rights emphasis to environmental conservation with that of other conservation practices, and addressing concerns that some States may use the excuse of poverty to avoid complying with certain international agreements on social, economic and environmental rights. Language on the need to protect the rights of the people who defend the environment was also added to the resolution. The contact group will continue their deliberations.

MOTIONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS: Removal of perverse incentives for conservation and sustainable use: This contact group, facilitated by George Greene, IISD, met in the afternoon to begin deliberations on the recommendation (REC006) sponsored by the Inuit Tapitiit Kanatami, International Fur Trade Federation and the Fur Institute of Canada. During the discussion, delegates could not reach agreement on references in the preamble to specific perverse incentives, such as the European Communityís 1983 ban and the proposed Belgium law on seal hunting, or if the resolution should address perverse subsidies in general. Delegates could also not agree if the recommendation should focus on the overall implementation of the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for Sustainable Use of Biodiversity or if it should specifically highlight the implementation of Principle 3 on market distortions and perverse incentives that undermine conservation and sustainable use. Following discussions, Facilitator Green proposed, and delegates agreed to create two separate recommendations: one addressing the issue of sustainable use and seals; and the other addressing perverse incentives and sustainable use. The contact group will continue its deliberations.

The IUCN Congress Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ÔŅĹ <enb@iisd.org>. This issue is written and edited by Karen Alvarenga, Ph.D.; Robynne Boyd; Bo-Alex Fredvik; Miquel MuÔŅĹoz; Prisna Nuengsigkapian; Richard Sherman; and Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Ph.D. The digital editors are David Fernau and Diego Noguera. The editor is Lynn M. Wagner, Ph.D. <lynn@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James ÔŅĹKimoÔŅĹ Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by IUCN with assistance from the World Bank. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (ASCII and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://enb.iisd.org>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.