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IUCN Congress Bulletin

Volume 39 Number 22 | Thursday, 8 September 2016

The IUCN World Conservation Congress

Wednesday, 7 September 2016 | Honolulu, US

Visit our IISD/ENB+ Meeting Coverage from Honolulu, US at:


John Robinson, Wildlife Conservation Society, chaired the fourth sitting of the Assembly. Michael Wilson, Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, guided the Assembly on the election procedures for Regional Councillors 2016-2020 and the President, Treasurer and the Chairs of the IUCN Commissions 2016-2020.

Simon Stuart, IUCN Resolutions Committee Chair, updated the Assembly on the deliberations of the Motions Working Group of the Resolutions Committee regarding ten new motions received during the Congress. He reported that seven out of the ten submitted were accepted, underscoring that any appeal should be received by the end of the 4th sitting of the Assembly or by 1 pm. He reported that contact groups would continue meeting. Assembly members urged for more time in contact groups and for interpretation in Spanish and French.


How should IUCN address the challenge of building constituencies for nature:

Miguel Pellerano, IUCN Regional Councillor for Meso and South America, moderated the panel.

Speaking on connecting cities, Kobie Brand, ICLEI Africa, said cities are “powerhouses” to reduce greenhouse gases. She noted the value of a network of cities which supports strengthening of efforts, information sharing, and meeting global targets for cities.

IUCN Vice President Adin Malik Amin Asian Khan, shared experiences of IUCN involvement in expanding constituencies in Pakistan through the Green Agenda Initiative, which aims at employing clean hydro energy and expanding national parks and forests. IUCN, he explained, first translated knowledge and science into policy-making, and then enabled actions on the ground with global outreach.

Emphasizing empowering citizens with knowledge about their biophysical environment as key to tackling environmental problems, Margaret Otieno, Wildlife Clubs, Kenya, shared her experience of working with school children and youth.

Ramiro Batzin, Indigenous Sotzil of Guatemala, described how indigenous peoples develop, in biocultural and conservation territories, a “process of good life” in balance with mother nature. He suggested IUCN focus on: implementing the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples; using a rights-based approach to conservation; and review the implementation of IUCN's resolutions on Indigenous Peoples.

Nizar Hani, Lead Advisor, Ministry of Environment, Lebanon, emphasized that the engagement of local communities in protected land management yields economic and social benefits to local constituencies, including women, youth, farmers and business. Practical implementation, he said, requires: “allowing communities full responsibility” of managing their environment; ensuring efficient financial management; and celebrating achievements, such as successful parks.

Roberto Vides-Almonacid, Regional Vice Chair, Latin America, IUCN, emphasized the potential of religious faith in bridging nature and humanity. This potential, he said, stems from: sustainable practices inspired by religious texts; wide geographic reach of faith communities; and political support of religious leaders as witnessed during the lead up to the Paris Agreement.

During ensuing discussions, panelists emphasized the importance of: exploring the interface between cities and communities, and nature and health; disseminating green development ideas; educating, empowering and employing youth with green activities; and including some of these ideas into the Hawaiʻi commitments.

REPORTS OF THE IUCN COMMISSIONS: IUCN President Zhang invited the Chairs of the six IUCN Commissions to present highlights of respective reports (WCC-2016-4.2/1-Annex 1 to 6).

Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM): Chair Pete Smith, explained that the CEM serves as IUCN’s research and development department and supports knowledge generation and fund raising.

Commission on Education and Communication (CEC): Acting Chair Nancy Colleton noted that CEC enables the global community to effectively communicate and use knowledge for positive conservation change. Future plans, she said, include: campaigns with Alison Sudol, IUCN Goodwill Ambassador; strategic planning meetings with National Geographic in early 2017; and collaborative work with Parks Canada.

Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP): Chair Aroha Te Pareake Mead informed on key areas of work of the CEESP across disciplines, sectors and regions. Sharing indigenous peoples’ understanding that “nature and knowledge preceded humanity,” she explained that strict protocols are required on access and use.

Species Survival Commission (SSC): Chair Simon Stuart noted the Red List growth by 20,000 species to current 82,954 listed species since the WCC 2012, noting the goal is for160,000 species by 2020.

World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL): Chair Antonio Herman Benjamin highlighted the importance of the ‘One Programme,’ in valuing and conserving nature; effective and equitable governance of natural resources; and deploying nature-based solutions to climate, food and development. He stressed the importance of inter-commission partnerships for capacity building, regional activities, inter-commission specialist groups, and steering committees’ meetings.

World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA): Chair Kathy MacKinnon announced that the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas, launched in 2014, has now eight partner countries, with commitments to list 50 protected areas, and 28 protected area recommendations. She further noted the importance of the Commission’s work to achieving the SDGs 3 (health), 6 (water), 7 (energy), 11 (cities), 13 (climate change), and 15 (biodiversity).

Ensuing discussions highlighted: increased role of the judiciary in environmental-protection activism, social and environmental justice and wildlife trafficking; the scarce representation of Africa in Commissions; more work required on protected area management threatened by agricultural practices and other threats; and need for increased interconnectivity among Commissions.



Encouraging members to register to use their voting rights, George Greene, Chair of the Council Governance Committee, informed about the status of voting power of accredited Members present at the Congress. At the beginning of the 5th sitting, he observed: under category A (state and government agencies), a voting power of 86%; and under category B (non-government organizations and inter-governmental organizations), a voting power of 72%.

Miguel Pellerano then invited candidates from each region to respond to two questions on: critical issues and what role the council can and should play in addressing these; and how they would make IUNCN more relevant in their respective region.

Candidates from the African Region included:  Emad Adly (Egypt); Mamadou Diallo (Senegal); Jesca Eriyo Osuna (Uganda); Ali Kaka (Kenya); and Jennifer Mohamed-Katerere (South Africa). The candidates for Meso and South America were: Lider Sucre (Panama); Marco Vinicio Cerezo Blandón (Guatemala); Carlos César Durigan (Brazil); and Jenny Gruenberger (Bolivia). The candidates for North America and the Caribbean were: John Robinson (USA); Luis Rodriguez-Rivera (Puerto Rico); Rick Bates (Canada); and, via video link, Sixto Inchaustegui (Dominican Republic).

The candidates for South and East Asia were: Mangal Man Shakya (Nepal); Youngbae Suh (Republic of Korea); Amran Hamzah (Malaysia); Masahiko Horie (Japan); and Malik Amin Aslam Khan (Pakistan). The candidates for West Asia were: Ayman Rabi (Palestine); Zaher Redwan (Lebanon); Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri (United Arab Emirates); Said Ahmad Damhoureyeh (Jordan); Ali Darwish (Lebanon); and Asghar Mohammadi Fazel (Iran). The candidates for Oceania were: Anna Tiraa (Cook Islands); Andrew Bignell (New Zealand); and Peter Cochrane (Australia).

The candidates for East Europe, North and Central Asia were: Rustam Sagitov (Russian Federation); Michael Hosek (Czech Republic); and Tamar Pataridze (Georgia). The candidates for West Europe were Jan Olov Westerberg (Sweden); Hilde Eggermont (Belgium); Jonathan Hughes (United Kingdom); and Jörg Junhold (Germany).

Pellerano presided over the voting session, noting that results would not be presented immediately after the voting to avoid influence on other votes during the congress.

ADOPTION OF THE MANDATES OF THE IUCN COMMISSION 2017-2020: The Members’ Assembly approved the mandates of the IUCN Commission 2017-2020.

REPORT ON THE MEETING OF ALL RECOGNIZED NATIONAL AND REGIONAL COMMITTEES HELD ON 1 SEPTEMBER 2016: Chris Mahon, Chief Executive, IUCN National Committee, UK, reported on the meeting, which brought together more than 150 people and provided a platform for sharing national and regional experiences. He said participants: heard presentations from 10 IUCN regions; agreed that the role of national and regional committees remains under-recognized, their potential remaining unrealized; expressed concerns over losing members; reported communication challenges; and stressed the need for development and capacity building. Mahon presented next steps for the Global Group for National and Regional Committee Development (GGCD), including: creating a Pilot Group of regional representatives online; starting work on Terms of Reference and governance; identifying priorities for its future work; and holding biennial meetings.

In the ensuing discussion, members and partners considered: ways in which stakeholders can contribute in countries where the national committees are led by governments that are not very active; the need for integrated communication efforts to reach all members; and whether mechanisms through which IUCN can support the creation and well-functioning of national and regional committees exist.

PROGRESS REPORT OF THE RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION AND VOTE ON MOTIONS: Simon Stuart reported on the progress of the Resolution Committee saying contact groups would continue reviewing motions. He said deliberations on motion 65 (improving standards in ecotourism) and 74 (strengthening corporate biodiversity measurement, valuation and reporting) are completed, announcing they were ready for voting. Margaret Beckel, Chair of the Governance Committee, reported that consensus on Governance Motions B, C, D, E and F with minor amendments had been reached in the contact group. She said these would be presented at the next plenary meeting. Observing that no consensus had been reached on Governance Motion A, she informed that this motion will go through a second round of discussions in the contact group.

Some members reminded that contact groups on motions in the Spanish language should be held in Spanish, which Simon Stuart confirmed. Other members noted difficulties in attending simultaneously scheduled contact groups and Assembly meetings. Noting resource constraints and that all motions will be discussed in plenary, Stuart asked members to be creative and email comments to contact group chairs and facilitators.

Members then considered voting for Motion 65 on improving standards in ecotourism. USA World Wildlife Fund proposed an amendment to reference the kind of certification scheme IUCN would engage with. Stuart observed the motion would need to be further discussed in the contact group.

Members considered Motion 74 on strengthening corporate biodiversity measurement, valuation and reporting. The Environmental Law Program, William and Mary Law School, expressed support for the motion, noting that it would favor decision-making both for companies and consumers. Members voted in favor of the motion and it was adopted.

DELEGATE EXCURSIONS DAY: IISD Reporting Services will not be publishing a report on the delegate excursion day, Thursday 8 September 2016.