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IUCN Congress Bulletin

Volume 39 Number 24 | Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Summary of the the IUCN World Conservation Congress

1-10 September 2016 | Honolulu, US

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

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress 2016 was hosted by the government of Hawaiʻi with the support of the US government in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 1 to 10 September. The theme of the Congress, “Planet at the Crossroads,” focused on the recently agreed collective challenge of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the next 15 years, which represents an ambitious agenda for improving human living conditions for all, without depleting the planet’s natural assets beyond its capacity to recover, as well as the Paris Agreement 2015.

More than 10,000 participants, including presidents, ministers, scientists, business representatives and thousands of representatives from government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were in attendance. The Congress comprised the World Conservation Forum, which convened from 2-5 September to take stock of biodiversity conservation; and the Members’ Assembly, which took place from 6-10 September to address governance, policy and programmatic issues of the Union.

At the conclusion of the Congress, IUCN members approved 106 resolutions and recommendations aimed at improving the governance, programmes and policies of the Union, and presented the Hawai’i Commitments: globally transformative and innovative conservation initiatives to meet the critical challenges and opportunities of our time, including the imperative to scale up action on biodiversity and the SDGs. Members also elected their new Council, with Zhang Xinsheng re-elected as President.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, produced daily reports with photos, summary videos from the Forum and the Members Assembly, in addition to this summary report from the 2016 Congress.


The World Conservation Union was established in 1948 as an independent scientific organization devoted to “influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.” Today, IUCN has 1,394 members, including 90 states and 133 government agencies, 1,006 national NGOs and 115 international NGOs, 50 affiliate members and includes scientific and academic institutions and business associations in more than 160 countries. IUCN has six Commissions, constituting a network of some 16,000 volunteer experts on biodiversity conservation. The Commissions focus on: ecosystem management; education and communication; environmental, economic and social policy; environmental law; species survival; and protected areas.

The World Conservation Congress elects IUCN’s governing body, its Council. The Council typically meets at least once a year to set the annual budget, decide major policy issues, and review the IUCN Programme’s implementation. The Congress also elects the IUCN President, who chairs the Council and guides IUCN’s work between Congresses. IUCN’s general assembly of members takes place at the World Conservation Congress, which meets every four years. The main functions of the Congress are, inter alia, to: define the general policy of IUCN; make recommendations to governments and to national and international organizations on matters related to IUCN’s objectives; receive and consider the reports of the Director General, Treasurer, Chairs of Commissions and Regional Committees; receive the auditor’s report and approve the audited accounts; determine member dues; consider and approve the IUCN Programme and financial plan for the intersessional period; determine the number of Commissions and their mandates; and elect the President, Treasurer, Regional Councilors and Chairs of Commissions. The Congress also provides a forum for debate on how best to conserve nature and ensure that natural resources are used equitably and sustainably.

IUCN’s contributions to conservation are numerous, including assistance in the development of national environmental legislation and international environmental conventions such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the World Charter for Nature, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

IUCN has been instrumental in developing conservation programmes for major ecosystems, including forests, wetlands and coastal areas. Drawing on its global network of experts, IUCN identifies categories of threatened species and produces species action plans, as well as publishes Red Lists and Red Data Books, which detail the status and conservation needs of threatened and endangered species. IUCN also plays a critical role in supporting protected areas worldwide, publishing the UN List of Protected Areas, convening the World Parks Congress (WPC), and disseminating guidelines on protected area management issues.

THE 1ST IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: This Congress was held in Montreal, Canada, 12-23 October 1996 under the theme, “Caring for the Earth,” which evolved from the 19 General Assemblies that preceded it, the first of which saw the founding of the organization.

THE 2ND IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: Held in Amman, Jordan, from 4-11 October 2000, this Congress convened some 2,000 delegates from 140 countries under the theme “Ecospace,” – a concept that conveys the message that transboundary management of ecosystems is vital for the environmental agenda.

THE 3RD IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: This Congress was held in Bangkok, Thailand from 17-25 November 2004 and convened under the theme “People and Nature – only one world.” It comprised three principal elements: the Commissions at Work, which met to assess the work of IUCN’s six Commissions; the World Conservation Forum, which took stock of biodiversity conservation; and the Members’ Business Assembly, which was held to address governance, policy and programmatic issues of the Union.

THE 4TH IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: This Congress was held in Barcelona, Spain, from 5-14 October 2008 and brought together more than 6,600 participants under the theme “A diverse and sustainable world.” This formed the basis for developing a compelling vision of the world’s potential until 2030 through 12 thematic journeys, including among others, bio-cultural diversity and indigenous peoples, energy, forests, conserving biodiversity in productive landscapes, law and governance, Mediterranean reflections and linkages, and markets and business.

THE 5TH IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: This Congress was held in Jeju, South Korea from 6-15 September 2012 and hosted 10,000 participants and more than 600 events under the theme “Nature+.” The much enlarged Congress introduced the open knowledge-sharing Forum in addition to the decision-making Members’ Assembly, and focused on five thematic areas, including: exploring nature-based solutions to climate change, food insecurity and social and economic development; valuing and conserving nature; and effective and equitable governance of nature’s use.

Two other events prior to the 2016 Congress are relevant to discussions at the 2016 World Conservation Congress.

THE PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT: The UN Climate Change Conference convened in Paris, France, in November-December 2015 and culminated in the Paris Agreement. The Agreement sets the goals of: keeping global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; and enhancing global adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.

UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT: The UN General Assembly formally adopted the 2030 Agenda including the SDGs at a summit of heads of state and government in September 2015. It is composed of a preamble, a declaration, 17 SDGs and 169 supporting targets, means of implementation (MOI) and the Global Partnership, and a framework for follow-up and review of implementation.



On Thursday, 1 September, 2016, Master of Ceremonies Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Office of Hawaiian Affairs, welcomed participants to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaiian and English. He emphasized the importance of forging relationships to address climate change, and invited everyone to share “aloha” with each other.

Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige said an island is a “microcosm of Planet Earth,” and that island communities see the impacts of invasive species, wildfire and unsustainable fishing practices close to home. He announced the Hawaiʻi Sustainability Initiative, including the following goals: protecting 30% of the state’s highest-producing watersheds; effectively managing 30% of nearshore waters; doubling local food production by 2030; developing a biosecurity plan focused on partnerships to prevent, detect, and control invasive species; and moving to 100% use of renewable energy sources in the electricity sector by 2045. He also announced that Hawaiʻi is joining the Global Island Partnership with a view to developing models for sustainability at the local level. He urged participants to work together to make a difference for “Island Earth.”

Sally Jewell, US Secretary of the Interior, said that, “humans’ identity and culture is shaped largely by the waters and lands that they inhabit.” She saluted US President Barack Obama’s expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in northwestern Hawaiʻi by more than 442,778 square miles, creating the largest marine reserve on earth. She observed that: islands are especially vulnerable to biodiversity loss; endangered species can be successfully conserved and restored; and successful conservation means “moving from random acts of kindness to strategic planning,” including the use of latest scientific tools. Jewell further noted the need to: protect wildlife corridors “as species know no boundaries”; address the scourge of illegal wildlife trafficking; respect and utilize the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples; and push for the implementation of the Paris Agreement by sending clear signals to all stakeholders.

US Senator Brian Schatz, Hawaiʻi, noted growing reasons for optimism despite the ongoing struggle with impacts of climate change, drought and loss of biodiversity in forests and oceans. He said he has observed increasing global political will among leaders and practitioners from the infrastructure, farming, insurance and disaster management sectors. Schatz noted it has become mainstreamed that taking action on climate change mitigation and adaptation is cheaper and smarter than to merely respond retroactively to storms. He highlighted the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and praised President Obama’s focus on ensuring that new US electricity generation comes from clean energy sources. He applauded the commitment and cooperative efforts to fight ʻōhiʻa tree mortality in Hawaiian rainforests.

President Tommy Remengesau, Palau, said President Obama’s designation of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument “cements his legacy as an ocean leader.” As a good-natured challenge, he called it a “good start,” saying when the US matches Palau’s accomplishment of protecting 80% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), it will “finally be ready to join the big league.” He cited Palau’s efforts to protect marine resources, including the world’s first shark sanctuary. Noting that the establishment of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in many different areas over the past two years shows the “wind is rising at our back,” he emphasized the need for speed and determination to meet the urgent challenges. He called on participants to support a motion to the IUCN to protect at least 30% of oceans. Remengesau said the “enormous” support and commitment already visible at the Congress shows that “we are paddling in the same direction.”

Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), presented examples of innovation in conservation from all over the world and stressed the need to bring the initiatives of all stakeholders together in one coherent flow. Noting the necessity for humans to take care of Mother Earth, he saluted the G20 efforts in rapidly transitioning to green finance. Presenting the UN Secretary-General’s warmest congratulations and strong support, Solheim reminded participants that, “no task is too big if we act together.”

Speaking on behalf of the EU, State Secretary Norbert Kurilla, Ministry of Environment, Slovakia, called on the World Conservation Congress to produce pragmatic solutions for nature that can be implemented on the ground. Reporting from the EU, he said “Natura 2000” is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. He explained this network would not work without the cooperation of communities, countries and regions. He referred to upcoming multilateral meetings, including: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to work on effective trade-related measures and how to address illegal trade of endangered species; the Montreal Protocol, to work on an agreement for early, clear and ambitious phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to build on the Paris Agreement in order to promote concrete action; and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to highlight the interlinkages of the work to reduce biodiversity loss with the work of other multilateral environmental agreements.

Corbett Kalama, Kamehameha Schools Trustee, called his school the largest indigenous land trust in the world, with an emphasis on perpetuating Hawaiian culture and good stewardship of natural resources. Observing that “we look to the past for the answers,” he noted that Indigenous Peoples have always had the answers. He offered a blessing of gratitude for IUCN’s work of preserving the world for future generations and “taking action now.”

Zhang Xinsheng, President, IUCN, said the World Conservation Congress is about moving the historic 2015 agreements into action. Inviting participants to show how they plan to contribute to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement, he reminded them that their decisions “will define the opportunities and limitations of future generations.” Stressing the need for joint global efforts to “move the world from a tipping point to a turning point,” he declared the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress open.

During the final performance of the Opening Ceremonies, the sounds of earth-pounding drums, chants and song filled the arena as hula dancers, young and old, offered a visual feast of graceful, powerful and compelling movement. Master of Ceremonies Crabbe told participants, “We are all on watch.”


Following the opening ceremony, a press conference was held where Governor Ige highlighted that the World Conservation Congress is the largest and most diverse environmental meeting ever held in the US.

Secretary Jewell noted the importance of: recognizing the culture and traditional knowledge of native people in environmental management; taking a landscape perspective as individual parcels of protected land are not enough; and involving youth in nature conservation. She highlighted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is an important tool for combating the illegal trafficking of wildlife.

Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General, emphasized that people have the power to invest back in nature so it can recover from the impacts humans have inflicted upon it. She noted that “behind” the over 9,000 participants at the World Conservation Congress, there are millions of people working on the ground to make progress towards a better world.

Senator Schatz noted that the power in the Opening Ceremony did not come from elected officials but from those who work every day on conservation, adding that the World Conservation Congress is in a position to help realize the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In response to a question regarding shark extinction, Andersen emphasized work of the IUCN scientific commissions, and Schatz recalled a bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus. On a question regarding actions to preserve 30% of the watersheds and oceans of Hawaiʻi, Ige said a community-based resource management approach had been initiated. On climate change action in the Philippines, Schatz emphasized that he believes it is possible to find a path towards ratification of the Paris Agreement for the Philippines, and address moral questions regarding climate justice. In response to a question on how Hawaiʻi will achieve its commitment to double food production, Ige said it will increase land availability and diversify agriculture in each county.


The IUCN World Conservation Congress, convened at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, from 1-10 September 2016. More than 10,000 participants from almost 200 countries attended the meeting, representing governments and public agencies, international organizations, the private sector, academic and research institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and community and indigenous organizations. IUCN organizes the World Conservation Congress every four years to share knowledge on how the natural environment should be managed for the continued well-being of humanity and all life on Earth. The theme of the World Conservation Congress 2016, “Planets at the Crossroads,” framed the debate between meeting the needs of human civilization and the long-term impacts on the planet’s capacity to support life.

The World Conservation Congress included the Forum (from 2-5 September) and Members’ Assembly (from 6-10 September). During the four days of the Forum, participants attended high-level dialogues, exchanged information in workshops and knowledge cafés, viewed posters and videos, and experienced interactive events. Major topic areas included: nature-based solutions and climate change; species conservation; protected areas; oceans; climate change; economics; future generations; and various other cross-cutting issues. Discussions during the Forum helped set the stage for the Members’ Assembly to take decisions on the Hawai‘i Commitments.


Prince Charles, via video message, said “Pupukahi i holomua – we must unite to move forward,” followed by a Hawaiian blessing ceremony. Alison Sudol, IUCN Goodwill Ambassador, said there is no singular problem or singular solution.

Inger Andersen said IUCN’s role is to raise awareness about the planet being at a crossroads. Thomas Friedman, New York Times, highlighted that “one person can kill all of us and all of us can fix everything.”

Brooke Runnette, National Geographic Society, shared efforts to empower people and create a community of change. Hong Youngpyo, Republic of Korea, reviewed progress since the 2012 World Conservation Congress, saying that, “we can choose a path of co-existence or no existence at all.”

Andersen moderated a panel discussion on actions. Sally Jewell, US Secretary of the Interior, urged moving from “selling” natural resources to payment for ecosystem services, articulating the value of indigenous knowledge and biocultural conservation. Peter Bakker, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), discussed clarifying scientific messaging and scaling up solutions.

Irina Bokova, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), emphasized science is a development multiplier. Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UNEP, reiterated calls for payment for ecosystem services, and enshrining benefits in economic and social terms. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF), spoke of catalyzing systematic change to protect the global commons.

Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University, argued that protecting half the planet’s land and oceans is necessary and feasible. Alejandro del Mazo Maza, National Commissioner for Natural Protected Areas, Mexico, shared successes and announced efforts to protect the Meso-American Barrier Reef.


A Changing Climate: Championing Nature-Based Solutions

Inger Andersen introduced this session on Friday, the first day of the Forum, which was moderated by Thomas Friedman. Panelists discussed, inter alia: economic and security risks posed by climate change; the valuable role of ecosystems and biodiversity to combat climate change; and other co-benefits of protecting nature and empowering women.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa emphasized nature-based solutions to climate change and foresaw an early entry into force of the Paris Agreement and noted her focus on: developing tools to make it operational, including rules on transparency; strengthening structures to support developing countries; and mobilizing actors for action on the ground. Xavier Sticker, Ambassador for the Environment, France, reported his government’s efforts to ensure Paris Agreement commitments will be honored and strengthened “with ecosystem protection in mind.” Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu, noted climate change as a security issue and emphasized the extreme vulnerability of Atoll Nations and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention, underscored the huge carbon storage potential of peatlands conservation. Noting differentiated gender vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change, she called for empowering women to catalyze success for climate change action.

Reminding that climate change is a challenge for both society and industry, Tom Butler, International Council on Mining and Metals, stressed the importance of partnerships among various actors and the benefits of holistic water and landscape management.

Highlighting the multiple benefits of the Rio Conventions, Peter Seligmann, Conservation International, called for increased investment in nature conservation. He noted the need to provide business and government with tools to measure the impacts of their actions.

Ecosystems and Society in a Changing World: Experience, Exchange, and Learning about Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) that Works!

This workshop was held on Friday, the first day of the Forum. Adam Whelchel, The Nature Conservancy, said the aim of the workshop was to foster interaction between scientists, practitioners and policy makers on EBA and Eco-DRR. 

Paul Schumacher, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) said integrating and adapting climate science information to local needs is key for any adaptation project, adding that EBA projects need to start planning for the worst case climate scenario.

Presenting a mangrove case study in Thailand, Jaruwan Enright, Mangrove Action Project, said it should be best practice to work with and empower people; it is necessary to clarify land tenure before starting restoration projects; and it is better to protect than restore mangroves.

Udo Nehren, University of Applied Science, Cologne, argued that coastal dunes have to be considered as “buffers” given that their degradation leads to more risks from natural hazards and loss of ecosystem services.

On integrating community resilience building into EBA and Eco-DRR, Welchel said it is necessary to work with communities to safely accommodate hazards of climate change and engage with regional resilience frameworks.

A group exercise arrived at three recommendations to help advance EBA and Eco-DRR: more monitoring and evaluation to build stronger evidence to influence policy makers; increased education, capacity building and awareness raising; and building stronger case studies.

Making EBA Effective: Evidence from the Field to Improve Policy and Practice

This event was held on Friday. Ali Raza Rizvi, IUCN, said the objective of the workshop was to learn from each other about how to make EBA effective.

On criteria and principles for, and multiple benefits of EBA, Shaun Martin, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), highlighted climate change, people and nature. Angela Andrade, Conservation International, outlined key principles for EBA including, inter alia: promoting resilience of societies and ecosystems; multi-sectoral approaches; operating at multiple geographical scales; flexible management structures that enable adaptive management; and basing decisions on the best available science and local knowledge. Sakhile Koketso, CBD Secretariat, highlighted that cooperation among ecosystems, adaptation, development and DRR communities allows for interventions that deliver multiple benefits.

On tools, Ed Barrow, IUCN, presented the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems as a tool that assesses ecosystems and drivers of change. He highlighted its power for informing action for conservation, restoration and evaluation. Presenting the Theory of Change for Community-based Conservation tool, Kate Mannle, Rare, said it aims to help practitioners understand how to change people’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior to reduce threats and reach a conservation result that benefits people and nature. Adam Whelchel, The Nature Conservancy, presented a coastal resilience and natural solutions toolkit. He said innovative web-mapping tools can support decision-making in identifying nature-based adaptation and risk mitigation solutions.

On effectiveness of EBA, Xiaoting Hou Jones, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), introduced the report “Ecosystem-based Approaches to Adaptation: Strengthening the Evidence and Informing Policy” and said it aims to gather evidence about where EBA is effective. On assessing effectiveness of EBA for food and water security, Carlos Flores, Salvadoran Ecological Unit, presented an EBA case study in El Salvador. Marta Perez, IUCN, outlined lessons learned on assessing effectiveness, such as the need for deep characterization and description of EBA projects. Regarding “no-regrets” measures, Jorge Recharte, the Mountain Institute, said if designed right, such EBA projects should have a positive impact under any future climate scenario. Participants engaged in several small group sessions throughout the workshop.

Nature Protects Us: Managing Ecosystems for Disaster Risk Reduction

This event was held on Sunday, the third day of the Forum. Camille Buyck, IUCN, opened the session which included the launch of the book “Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and adaptation: Linking science, policy and practice.”

Fabiola Monty, IUCN, highlighted case studies, including: land use planning to reduce risk of avalanches; community-based mangrove restoration to reduce inundation risk after shrimp farm deforestation; and community engagement, including building on traditional knowledge and practices.

During discussions, chapter authors and panelists highlighted, inter alia: scaling up implementation from local to a landscape and ecosystem level; catalyzing investments and partnerships; addressing gaps in eco-DRR in previous publications; underscoring the importance of sand dune restoration for risk reduction; differentiating between tools and approaches for DRR; and identifying the “no regrets” benefits of restoration, protection and natural resource management.

On engaging local communities, suggestions included: asking what species should be selected for reforestation; allowing time to build trust at the local level; focusing on culturally important ecosystem services, for example, sites that could be used for water retention; and the importance of involving and educating local governments, especially with regard to land-use planning.

On public awareness, highlights included: use of social media; public awareness surveys regarding specific aspects of DRR, such as perceptions of vulnerability; the relationship between DRR and ecosystems; and individual responsibility to mitigate risk.

Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable Development

This session was held on Sunday, the third day of the Forum, and was introduced by Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, who called for nature-based solutions to play a central role in climate change, conservation, DRR and development action.

The first panel was moderated by Andrew Steer, President, World Resources Institute (WRI). Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, welcomed the adoption of the Sendai Framework for DRR, which formally recognizes the role nature plays in disaster vulnerability. Jesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary General, East African Community, outlined nature-based solutions throughout East Africa in, inter alia, agriculture, water management and renewable energy.

Humberto Delgado Rosa, European Commission, stressed the need to adopt terminology that wider audiences can understand. On scaling up nature-based solutions: Naoko Ishii, GEF, stressed the need to leverage private sector support; Dias highlighted the recently adopted Brazilian forest code; and Eriyo saluted extensive reforestation in East Africa under the Bonn Challenge.

Ed Barrow, IUCN, moderated the second panel. Julia Bucknall, World Bank, opined it is often more effective to directly approach the energy, transport and agriculture sectors–rather than finance–to implement viable nature-based solutions. Ashok Khosla, Development Alternatives, emphasized the enormous social, cultural and economic returns of nature-based solutions. Lynda Mansson, the MAVA Foundation, explained the benefits of not necessarily framing nature-based solutions as environmental, but rather try to achieve “greenery by stealth.”

Paul Trianosky, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, outlined their work building bridges between profit and non-profit sectors to deliver nature-based solutions at the landscape scale.

Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Connections to Forests: How Indigenous Values and Health Indicators are Helping Manage Invasive Species

This event was held on Sunday. Judy Fisher, IUCN, moderated an interactive discussion on Indigenous Peoples’ relationships with forests, encouraging participants to provide input for the Hawaiʻi Challenge of Invasive Species announcement that evening.

Lori Buchanan, Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee, reflected on bridging tangible western science with intangible traditional knowledge systems, sharing a successful example of eradication of an invasive species. She said “Indigenous Peoples are the “world’s indicator species.” If we are not doing well then the Earth is not doing well.”

Danielle Flakelar, New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, Australia, a Ngiyampaa Wayilwan and Wakka Wakka Aboriginal, shared her background and outlined a way forward by: involving Indigenous Peoples in informed decision-making, policy and evaluation; recognizing First Nations people as rights holders in legislation; and implementing Foundation Law by governments, industry and community.

Desmond Purcell, Gidarjil Development Corporation Australia, spoke of experience of using fire to promote regeneration of native species in his native land.

 During ensuing discussions, participants, inter alia: shared strategies from respective regions; exchanged support for the revival of traditional knowledge systems; highlighted opportunities to support future protection; and urged for natural heritage and cultural heritage to stay as one.

On providing input for the Hawaiʻi Challenge of Invasive Species announcement, participants agreed to forward the statement “Empower First Nations people by recognizing their traditional ecological knowledge in legislation, to inform decision making, participation, policy, evaluation and outcomes of the management of invasive species in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Forests: Today and Tomorrow

Presenting a “game-show” style session on Sunday, Jodi Chew and Sherry Hazelhurst, US Forest Service (USFS), asked Service employees questions on how forest conservation practices have changed over time. They split the group into team “Saplings,” comprised of younger employees Fabian Garcia, Nadia Tase and Heather McMillen, and the older “Sentinels” team, comprised John Crockett, Flint Hughes and Jeanne Wade-Evans.

On why they started working with the USFS, the contestants highlighted their desire to, inter alia: work in line with their sustainability values; work with disadvantaged youth; and be able to work outdoors and sleep under the stars.

The Saplings pointed out the importance of working with urban communities, “as 60% of the world will be living in urban areas by 2050.” On ecosystem services, the Sentinels reminisced that forests used to be known primarily for timber and wildlife to hunt, while the Saplings highlighted more recently recognized ecosystem services include carbon, clean air, and fertile soil.

On climate change, both teams recognized a definite shift towards integrating climate change into the Service’s management and practice over the past 12 years. On fire management, contestants emphasized the challenges of appropriate fire management, especially with recent longer and drier fire seasons.

Strengthening the Role of IUCN in Saving the World’s Primary Forests: Implementation of Resolution 060

This session, held on Monday and moderated by Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, focused on the IUCN Primary Forests Task Team and how it could, and should, add value to existing work on preserving primary forests.

Jim Thomas, Director, Tenkile Conservation Alliance (TCA), presented a short video of their efforts to help conserve tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea. Brendan Mackey, Griffith University, outlined opportunities provided by the Paris Agreement for including emissions avoided from primary forest protection into national targets.

On tangible suggestions for IUCN’s work, Jean Thomas, TCA, emphasized the importance of secure land tenure, while Yunus Yumte, The Samdhana Institute, Indonesia, highlighted the potential of supporting national forest-related climate change targets. Leonard Usongo, IUCN Cameroon, suggested taking advantage of IUCN’s convening power to discuss primary forest value among multiple stakeholders.

On challenges facing primary forest conservation, John Robinson, Wildlife Conservation Society, stressed that agriculture is the single largest driver of forest land conversion. Jeff Sayer, James Cook University, lamented that by obsessing over forest cover statistics, “we are forgetting that the quality and diversity of species is rapidly declining.” Robinson and Sayer said prevailing and future macroeconomics would always influence the state of forests.

Ensuing discussions and group work suggested IUCN could, inter alia: help communicate the value of all primary forests, not just tropical forests; play a more active convening role to address national political barriers; and coordinate regional dialogues on how forests can be part of development agendas.

World Heritage Sites for Biodiversity Conservation and Eco-DRR

This event was held on Sunday, and Glenn Dolcemascolo, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), welcomed participants by saying it is evident at the Forum that the conservation community has taken up the call of DRR.

Patrick McKeever, UNESCO, outlined that UNESCO has three site designations: World Heritage Sites; Biosphere Reserves; and Global Geoparks, many of which are vulnerable to at least one natural hazard. He cautioned that the world might not be prepared for larger disasters, especially those related to large volcanic eruptions.

Noting that most policy change towards Eco-DRR occurs after disaster events, Radhika Murti, IUCN, argued for investment in prevention and risk reduction.

Shirish Ravan, the UN Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, Beijing, explained that earth observation technologies can help achieve Eco-DRR and EBA by providing critical data on ecosystems. Sha Chen, National Disaster Reduction Center of China, outlined that developing more heritage sites in northeast China may reduce drought disaster risk.

Vinod Mathur, Wildlife Institute of India, said the way forward for Eco-DRR is to complete disaster risk assessments in all World Heritage Sites and provide training to managers in these sites to monitor disaster risk.

Discussions ensued on, inter alia: Eco-DRR actions and disaster management plans in World Heritage Sites and communication thereof; and integration of gender issues in Eco-DRR projects.

Securing Global Action on Peatlands

Stuart Brooks, IUCN, opened the session, which was held on Sunday, highlighting peatlands’ value for: biodiversity; environmental archives; paleo-archeology; water regulation; and education, food and solitude. Brooks noted that peatlands cover only 3% of global landmass, but store one third of all terrestrial carbon. Saying drained and degraded peatlands emit 6% of all anthropogenic CO2, Brooks noted Indonesia could meet its entire carbon reduction target by 2020 by simply not burning peat.

Jonathan Hughes, IUCN UK Peatland Programme, described nature-based restoration techniques, including re-seeding with sphagnum moss using youth volunteers, and outlined a goal of having 1 million hectares of UK peatlands in good condition or under restoration management by 2020. On the need for increased funding, he noted the Peatland Code is intended to leverage private financing. Hughes underscored that restoration is feasible and that good guidance literature exists. He described a motion to IUCN focused on increasing the profile of peatlands and potential nature-based solutions within the UN framework conventions on climate change and biodiversity. 

The presenters answered questions on: EU policies on land-use changes; impacts from increased methane emissions after rewetting; and consumer education about valuable products from peatlands.


Islands at Risk: Meeting the Global Challenge of Invasive Alien Species

This session was held on Friday, with moderator Anna Tira‘a, IUCN, saying the session’s purpose was to solicit guidance and identify opportunities for international commitments on invasive species work. Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, highlighted the need for: enhanced support for developing nations; legal measures to prevent new species introductions; and improved information dissemination.

Piero Genovesi, IUCN, emphasized the need for global data to: drive progress on prevention; identify high-risk species; and focus actions geographically. Regarding the Global Invasive Species Database, he highlighted:  information about introduction pathways; the impact on “red-listed” species; regional vulnerabilities; and prioritizing species to invest in control measures.

Christy Martin, Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, Hawai‘i, focused on capacity building for prevention, early detection and response, and outreach. She highlighted the need for: increased political will; more NGO partnerships; learning networks; legal assistance for legislative research; regional commitments to spur action; and training biologists as outreach messengers.

Alan Tye, IUCN, emphasized guidelines for comprehensive, realistic and prioritized plans and using the Pacific guidelines for invasive species management as a model. He outlined: foundations (assuring support, capacity and laws); problem definition and prioritization (data collection, risk assessment, and species-specific research); and management actions on biosecurity, established invaders and restoration.

Participants met in breakout groups on capacity, guidelines, and data management to provide input to IUCN for future action. In closing, Genovesi invited participants to identify potential champions to push for commitments on invasive species.

Elephant Conservation Initiatives

During this press conference held on Friday, participants heard a presentation on the “Great Elephant Census” results, a Paul G. Allen Family Foundation project using modern technology to better inform decision makers and influence behavioral change. Key areas identified for action included: establishing and enforcing domestic policies, laws and regulations reducing both the supply and demand side of ivory markets; passing the related IUCN resolution; and laying the groundwork for similar resolutions at the upcoming CITES meeting in Johannesburg. During ensuing discussions, participants learned about: challenges for the passing of resolutions, including that some EU member states are on the defense on this issue; existing disagreement around sustainable harvesting of ivory; and cautioning against broadening the CITES mandate to address domestic actions. Recognizing the importance of climate change on the mortality of elephants, some voiced interest in future modeling efforts that would incorporate effects of droughts.

Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) Consultative Forum: Exchanging Experience on Application of the KBA Standard at the National Level

During this session, held on Friday, Simon Stuart, IUCN Species Survival Commission, chaired the meeting. Annabelle Cuttelod, IUCN Global Species Programme, reported that the KBA standards approved by the IUCN Council in April 2016 would be launched at World Conservation Congress.

Saw Htun, Wildlife Conservation Society, Myanmar, shared experiences of KBA gap analysis in supporting protected area expansion in Myanmar. He reported on, inter alia: landscape approaches for conservation of Chin Hills complex; and co-management to enhance elephant populations in Rakhine Yoma range. Zoltan Waliczky, BirdLife International, reported on use of KBA standards to identify critical natural habitats under pressure from the development sector. He showed how mining exploration overlaps with important biodiversity and cultural sites, and recommended strengthening environmental safeguards.

Paul Matiku, Nature Kenya, presented on monitoring of Important Bird Areas in Kenya. He described opportunities of involving local communities in monitoring status, pressures and responses to conservation measures. Olivier Langrand, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, explained how his organization has used KBAs to guide conservation investment in more than 6,000 multi-taxa KBAs in 16 hotspots since 2003.

Mark Zimsky, GEF, said KBA standards justify the selection of important biodiversity areas for protected area expansion, supported by GEF.

Discussions continued in groups on: protected area gap analysis; mainstreaming biodiversity and development; application of environmental safeguards; and guiding conservation investments.

Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership

During a press conference on Saturday announcing the partnership of eleven organizations to identify KBA conservation, Patricia Zurita, BirdLife International, said the KBA standards would support governments and the private sector to minimize impacts of development on nature. Marco Lambertini, WWF International, added that KBAs also facilitate policies for planning safeguards. Jane Smart, IUCN, said the KBA standards would support Aichi Target 11 (protected areas) by providing information on habitats recognized as KBAs.

In the ensuing discussion, Smart noted that expert and local level engagement would enable inclusion of all taxa. Tim Stowe, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), said the main challenge is marine biodiversity knowledge gaps. Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, reported prioritization of projects at the country level. M. Sanjayan, University of British Columbia, said even though all places on the planet are important, KBAs prioritize areas requiring intervention within the next five to ten years.

Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP)

Chairing the press conference on Saturday, Giulia Carbone, IUCN, explained that WGWAP has been advising Sakhalin Energy Investment Company since 2004 on oil and gas operations off Sakhalin Island to reduce impacts to endangered western gray whales. Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, reported that the population has increased from 115 to 174 whales since the panel’s inception, and underscored the panel’s principles of independence, transparency, accountability, and engagement. Douglas Nowacek, Duke University, emphasized the need for independent observers in seismic surveys, and expressed concern about cumulative impacts. Deric Quaile, Shell Global Solutions, said WGWAP has helped advance best practices for critical activities. Azzedine Downes, International Fund for Animal Welfare, praised WGWAP as an emerging example of stakeholders committed to working together. Wendy Elliott, WWF International, emphasized the role of financial institutions and called on Exxon to join the panel to address concerns regarding their operations. Panelists highlighted the need for long-term funding, the importance of trust-building, and data-sharing protocols on ownership and use.

Everybody’s Business: Ending Wildlife Trafficking

This high-level event was held on Saturday. Inger Andersen pointed out that illegal wildlife trade is a serious threat to biodiversity globally, and progress is being made through UN resolutions and recommendations.

Moderator Patricia Zurita CEO, BirdLife International, framed panel discussions, reporting that illegal trade happens on an industrial scale at US$20 billion a year.

Cristián Samper, President and CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society, explained that increased awareness, political will and funding are improving and can end illegal trade by stopping trafficking and demand.

Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, US, linked conservation and security, outlining the US’s holistic approach to work in mutually reinforcing ways to stop poaching, transit and demand through international collaboration.

Jesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary General, East African Community, shared experiences and progress in drafting regional strategies to combat poaching and illegal trade through law enforcement and capacity building.

Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director General, Forest Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar, reiterated the importance of raising awareness and education in local communities as well as building capacity in customs and law enforcement.

Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International, spoke about the power of social marketing directed at consumers to reduce demand and mobilize the general public.

John Scanlon, Secretary General, CITES, clarified the need to work in an international consortium with specialized agencies working against crime and corruption so that wildlife crime is treated as a serious felony. During ensuing discussions, panelists discussed the need to, inter alia: share good practices; address corruption; reduce demand; and engage local communities.

IUCN Red List Update

In a press conference on Sunday, Jane Smart, IUCN, explained that the IUCN Red List catalyzes action by providing information. Inger Andersen announced updates to the Red List: the Eastern Gorilla has moved to Critically Endangered; of the 415 endemic Hawaiian plants assessed, 87% are threatened; the Giant Panda and Tibetan Antelope status improved due to conservation; and the Plains Zebra moved to Near Threatened.

Carlo Rondinini, Sapienza University of Rome, named main drivers of decline in species as habitat destruction and illegal hunting, adding that conservation works but needs to be scaled up. Matthew Kier, Laukahi: The Hawaiian Plant Conservation Network, shared efforts in Hawaiʻi to combat invasive species through partnerships, awareness raising and improved biosecurity.

Simon Stuart IUCN, shared: optimism from panda and antelope recoveries in China; respect for recovery efforts in Hawaiʻi; and enthusiasm due to the fourth renewal of the Red List Partnership.

The Challenges and Successes of Marine Species Conservation

In this event, held on Monday, Kent Carpenter, Old Dominion University, reported progress of increased Red Listing of marine species from fewer than 200 species in 2006 to more than 12,000 by 2015, linking such progress to actions such as inclusion on the US Endangered Species Act and CITES Appendix listings.

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Marine Conservation Ecologist, explained population decline of mobulid rays due to international trade, highlighting the Fiji proposal to list all nine species in CITES Appendix 2.

Julia Lawson, IUCN, outlined the IUCN Strategic Species Conservation Planning process that involves identifying threats, as well as developing vision, actions, and goals and objectives. She cited examples for sawfish, mobulid rays and angelsharks.

A short video shared the work of Nicholas Dulvy, IUCN, and Maria José Juan-Jordá, AZTI Spain and Simon Fraser University, on how the state of marine biodiversity in the high seas is a sentinel of ecosystem health.

Mark Stanley Price, IUCN, reflected on applying strategies from terrestrial conservation planning to the marine realm, including inputs from traditional knowledge systems.

Invasive Species

The topic of invasive alien species (IAS) was covered in nearly 50 different events on, inter alia: impacts of and management strategies for specific aquatic and terrestrial IAS; the interaction between IAS and climate change; up-scaling best management practices from local to national and regional levels; training workshops and tools to institutionalize invasive species programmes; biosecurity planning; benefits and risks associated with incentive mechanisms for control; and the inclusion of an indigenous perspective to inform future forest management actions on invasive species.


The IUCN Green List – Raising the Standard for New Generation of Protected and Conserved Areas

Kathy MacKinnon, IUCN, opened the session held on Sunday, saying the Green List was “born, incubated and nurtured” within the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), and will raise the standard of protected area governance.

Zhang Xinsheng, President, IUCN, noted that the Green List initiative presentation at this meeting is timely, citing the recent designation of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as the world’s largest ecologically protected area.

Trevor Sandwith, IUCN, outlined the Green List as: a global standard for conservation success; adaptable to the local context of any country or region; a voluntary commitment and incentive measure to improve performance; a credible, independently assured evaluation procedure; and a global recognition of protected areas and their staff. 

Julia Miranda Londoño, National Parks, Colombia, outlined the benefits of being a part of the Green List, and his country’s commitment to maintaining a high standard. Michael Wright, National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, committed to include three protected areas and nominate more for future listing.

Zhiyun Ouyang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, highlighted that the conservation management of China’s 8,000 protected areas would improve from Green Listing. Tamar Kvantaliani, Georgia Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, said her Ministry recognizes the contribution the Green List will make to improve governance and management of protected areas. Masahito Yoshida, IUCN-WCPA underscored that the emphasis of Aichi Target 11 (protected areas) is on governance and connectivity of protected areas with surrounding landscapes.

Launch of the Protected Planet Report 2016

Neville Ash, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), opened the session held on Friday, underscoring progress on protected area coverage. Nina Bhola, UNEP-WCMC, summarized additional key points, including: recent protected area advances in Hawai‘i and Chile; improvements in data quality; and the ability of countries to update information. She noted a lack of information about management effectiveness and said the Report is a call to invest in protected areas.

Kathy MacKinnon, WCPA, applauded the collaboration between UNEP and IUCN, called the Report a snapshot in time, and said the data provide important indicators on meeting the SDGs. Marina Von Weissenberg, Finland, highlighted the science-policy interface and its usefulness to decision makers. Regarding Indigenous Peoples, she noted the importance of management effectiveness and marine protected areas. Norbert Bärlocher, Switzerland, said the Report will help his country achieve protected area goals.

The event also celebrated the launch of the Protected Planet National Technical Series: Republic of Korea report. Bo-hwan Park, Republic of Korea National Park Service, said it will serve as a stepping stone to increase protection for important biodiversity areas and encouraged other countries to publish similar reports.

Braulio Dias Executive Secretary, CBD, highlighted significant updates to information in the Protected Planet Report; its usefulness in establishing measures for biodiversity targets and ecological representativeness. Referring to E.O. Wilson’s call to dedicate half the earth to all other species, he said we must be inclusive in recognizing all conservation efforts, including those from indigenous, local and private sectors.

Red List of Ecosystems (RLE)

The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems assessment tool, adopted in 2014, identifies ecosystems most at risk and highlights drivers of change for opportunities to implement nature-based solutions, as well as track successes. Several events were held during the Forum to support comprehension of the Red List tool and its applications. In a pavilion event, progress was reported on the status to complete the first assessment of all of the world’s ecosystems by 2025, including the final results of the first continental-scale Red List assessment in the Americas. Methods and initial findings of Red List in the US were presented during an interactive poster event.

For professionals in the public, private and NGO sectors, policy makers, researchers and students interested in gaining a better understanding of RLE and carrying out ecosystem risk assessments following the RLE criteria, an interactive session was held on how to apply RLE to conservation decision-making and land/seascape planning and promote RLE, highlighting the importance of capacity building. Another workshop focused on the Green List for Species, Ecosystems and Protected Areas. A Knowledge Hub was designated to provide a specific space to encourage interaction and feedback with experts while small dialogues aimed to bridge theory and practice within the RLE.

Supporting Protected Area Designation and Management Through Identifying the Most Important Sites for Biodiversity: Launch of the Key Biodiversity Areas Standard and Programme

This event was held on Monday. Simon Stuart, IUCN, underscored the collaborative efforts of the KBA partnership leading to the approval of the global standards by the IUCN Council in April 2016.

Stephen Woodley, IUCN, said the standards have enabled the WCPA to strategize on how best to assist countries to select sites that make the biggest difference for species conservation.

Annabelle Cuttelod, IUCN, outlined processes including workshops, working groups, interviews and consultations leading to completion and approval of the standards.

Jessica Boucher, University of Edinburgh, said consideration of end-users’ needs and concerns helped ensure the robustness and wide applicability of the standards.

Penny Langhammer, Arizona State University, emphasized that delineation of KBAs does not replace national protected areas or conservation priorities.

Moreno Di Marco, University of Queensland, reported that testing of irreplaceability of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) confirmed that IBAs are more irreplaceable than other areas.

Melanie Heath, BirdLife International, said her organization is managing the world database of KBAs, which currently has 18,000 sites.

Kabelo Senyatso, Birdlife International, Botswana, showed the need to develop models to sustain KBAs through direct financing and co-management.

In ensuing discussions participants noted the need to ensure financial stability of KBAs and create synergies with international biodiversity processes on protected areas.

Heritage Heroes Awards

During this event on Saturday evening, Bibhuti Lahkar, Heritage Hero nominee, presented his work on the Manas Tiger Reserve and his efforts in the area of capacity building for local youth, NGOs, and ex-poachers. ‎Yulia Naberezhnaya, Heritage Hero nominee, presented her work on the Western Caucaus and spoke about her life mission to protect humans’ common heritage. Bantu Lukambo, Heritage Hero nominee, ‎presented his work on the Virunga National Park. He highlighted the challenges posed by the wildlife trafficking networks and oil companies, with many activists and NGO workers facing abduction, torture and death threats that lead to exile, while stressing also their commitment to protect wildlife no matter the risks. He called for the UN to take measures for treating environmental crimes as crimes against humanity. The organizers then announced Bibhuti Lahkar the winner of the Heritage Hero Award, based on an online voting process.


The High Seas: Conserving the Earth’s Final Frontier

This session took place on Friday, and was moderated by Carl Gustaf Lundin, IUCN. The session focused on how participants can build coalitions, provide input to international processes and learn from exemplary ongoing work in conserving the high seas. Dan Laffoley, IUCN, emphasized the impact of climate change on oceans, noting around 93% of enhanced warming to date has been absorbed by oceans. Nilufer Oral, IUCN, outlined ongoing progress and challenges in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) implementing the agreement on Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. She said key areas that still need to be clarified include MPAs in the high seas, capacity building and marine technology transfer.

David Freestone, Sargasso Sea Commission, outlined a high seas MPA in the Sargasso Sea, and called for a more coordinated framework that recognizes the cumulative impact of sectoral activities. David VanderZwaag, University of Dalhousie, talked about conserving central Arctic high seas and ongoing negotiations among the five Arctic coastal states. Winnie Lau, Pew Charitable Trust, described the “Eyes on the Seas” project, an enforcement tool that uses satellite and oceanographic data to monitor fishing activities, identify illegal vessels and alert authorities.

Ensuing discussions focused on the need for: stronger civil society presence in international processes; holistic thinking to address fragmented management of fisheries; delivery of development, livelihood and conservation objectives together; higher representation of marine expertise in intergovernmental climate change and biodiversity bodies; and effective financing mechanisms in the UNCLOS implementing agreement.

Participants highlighted, inter alia: the International Marine Peace Park model; the importance of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (on oceans, sea and marine resources for sustainable development); the CBD’s work on Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs), which can encourage an ecosystem approach to fisheries; the Antarctic ban on mining in high sea areas; and efforts to map and monitor MPAs.

Marine Seismic Surveys: Management Guidelines

This event, which took place on Friday, and was moderated by Carl Gustaf Lundin, IUCN, announced the launch of a guide on effective planning strategies for managing environmental risk associated with geophysical and other imaging surveys. Co-author Douglas Nowacek, Duke University, outlined the guide, explaining human activity in oceans, such as marine seismic surveys, ships and sonar, can produce extremely loud sounds that can travel up to 4,000km from their source. He emphasized the huge impacts noise pollution has on whales and other marine species that rely on sound for navigation, foraging and communication.

Nowacek emphasized the need to “turn down the volume” on ocean noise, saying this guide provides a practical guide for responsible environmental planning. He outlined recommendations for responsible noise activity, including, inter alia: thorough risk assessment to minimize the impact of surveys; the need for baseline data on what marine mammals are present in the area at various times of the year; and development of regional-specific operational practices, regulatory requirements and data analysis. He noted that such measures are nominal compared to a seismic survey that could cost around US$100,000 a day.

Actions for a Sustainable Ocean

Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN, opened the two-panel session on MPAs on Sunday, saying an insufficient amount of ocean has been protected. Kamana‘opono Crabbe, CEO, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, shared a mele oli (Hawaiian chant) about Kanaloa, the Hawaiian god of the sea.

Kathryn Sullivan, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and former astronaut, recalled seeing oceans from space and wondering about the impacts of materials carried by rivers into the oceans. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue, noted advances in understanding the oceans, asking, “How much of the world should we be protecting? How about all of it?”

Braulio Dias Executive Secretary, CBD, cited the Territorial Use Rights for Fishing to help achieve more sustainable fisheries. Sandra Bessudo, Fundación Malpelo, reviewed MPAs in the Eastern Pacific, including programmes on education, ecotourism, illegal fishing, and research and monitoring. Panelists responded to questions on reducing demand for ocean resources and ways to better communicate about oceans to current and future generations.

The second panel focused on governance, and environmental and economic sustainability. Former President Anote Tong, Kiribati, stressed the interaction between climate change and oceans, and invited support for a plan to raise the coastline of islands in response to sea level rise.

Catherine Novelli, US Undersecretary of State on Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, said economic alternatives to overfishing are needed and that current trends will lead to more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Humberto Delgado Rosa, European Commission, said offshore oceanic development areas could be designated as “no-take zones” for fisheries. Moderator Aulani Wilhelm, Island Water, observed that local MPAs that protect tuna also protect food for the planet. Panelists addressed questions related to a universal definition for “blue economy” and how to better inspire ocean protection.

Nainoa Thompson, Master Navigator, Polynesian Voyaging Society, closed the session with a tribute to his teacher and master navigator Mau Piailug, saying he wouldn’t have understood the use of percentages: “If it’s what you love, you protect it all.”

Ocean Warming Report

Announcing the report, “Explaining ocean warming: Causes, scale, effects and consequences,” on Monday, Inger Andersen Director General, IUCN, noted a projected warming of 1-4° by 2100, which she referred to as “tomorrow.” Dan Laffoley IUCN, said the report covers microbes to whales, and all major ecosystems. “We are disrupting the rhythm of life in the ocean,” he said, noting: species’ distributions shifting toward the poles; and changes in foraging strategies and sex ratios.

Chip Cunliffe, XL Catlin, said the insurance industry needs a better understanding of impacts of storms on sea level rise, adding that the report will help communities become more resilient. Carl Gustaf Lundin, IUCN, outlined key recommendations, including the need for: recognizing impact severity; global policy action; comprehensive protection and management; updated risk assessments and economic analysis; improved science; and reductions in greenhouse gases.

Panelists answered questions on, inter alia: kelp forests; deep sea drilling and mining; and government responses to ocean warming.


Incorporating Climate Adaptation into Agency-Level Planning in the Pacific Islands Region

Laura Brewington, East-West Center, moderated the session, which took place on Saturday. Sam Lemmo, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Chip Fletcher, University of Hawaiʻi (UH), reported on an Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee, which will soon publish a sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report.

Rick Camp, UH, presented research in support of resource managers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. He explained how climate modeling in combination with models of plant species distribution can be used to forecast suitable habitat range under future climate conditions. Clay Trauernicht, UH, shared experiences with raising public awareness about wild fires to reduce fire management costs. He noted that climate change-induced droughts increase the likelihood of wildfires, which threaten ecosystems and communities in the Pacific.

Christin Reynolds, Hawai‘i Green Growth, explained that climate adaptation in Hawaiʻi would benefit from “diverse implementation action [by] allowing for high-level politicians and on-the-ground tree planters to be part of the story.” As key to success, she highlighted: public private partnerships linked with high-level political support; transparency of progress with public dashboards; and collective impacts to solve complex problems, such as fresh water security. The session concluded with an introduction to the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment website, which provides stakeholders with resources, including climate change impact assessment reports, case studies, data and various climate tools.

Launch: Climate Change Best Practice Guidelines

This event, held on Sunday, launched the ‘Adapting to Climate Change Guidance for Protected Area Managers and Planners.’ Recognizing that protected areas provide natural solutions to address climate change and its associated effects, the guide outlines essential adaptation elements with a focus on strategies, options, and useful resources.

Kathy MacKinnon, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, underscored the usefulness of the guidelines and reported talks with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) representatives about translating, using and developing training based on the guidelines.

Jonathan Jarvis, Director, US National Park Service, talked about the process under which the National Park Service asserted its role on climate change issues, including mitigation, communication, science, and adaptation. He called for focusing on, inter alia: how to utilize protected areas to help larger ecosystems adapt to climate change; the resilience of nature; and green rather than gray infrastructure as an adaptation strategy to respond to hurricanes.

Julia Miranda Londoño, Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia, reported on Colombia’s climate change actions and policies at all levels of governance, including those focusing on enlarging the system of protected areas. She noted Colombia’s inclusion of protected areas in its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.

Trevor Sandwith IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme, emphasized that climate change is not just a threat to protected areas but an opportunity for nature based solutions. He said the guidance provides practitioners with tools for action on the ground, noting agencies from various areas – including protected areas, agriculture and disaster management – will need to be involved.

New Bonn Challenge Pledges - Passing the 100 Million Hectares Milestone

In this press conference held on Saturday, Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, Bianca Jagger, IUCN’s Global Ambassador for the Bonn Challenge, Clement Chilima, Forest Department, Malawi, and Martin Keller, Latin American Alliance of Private Reserves, Guatemala, reported on progress of the Bonn Challenge, a global initiative to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. Maginnis emphasized the complementarity of the land and forest restoration initiative and efforts to reduce deforestation. Chilima announced Malawi’s pledge to restore 4.5 million hectares of land by 2030. Keller announced a pledge by private landowners to restore 40 thousand hectares of a natural reserve in Guatemala. Emphasizing the initiative as an important tool for addressing climate change, Jagger applauded 113 million hectares of pledges reached to date, including from governments at the national and sub-national levels, companies, and landowners.

Building the Climate Resilience of US Landscapes - Highlights and Lessons Learned from the Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative

In this event, held on Monday, Erin Sexton, University of Montana, informed about the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem shared between Canada and the US. She explained how transboundary datasets support transboundary conservation and noted challenges of this fragmented landscape, including with regards to management, jurisdiction and ownership. Liz Berger, Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, reported on the California Headwaters Partnership. Restoration of this regional area through collaborative efforts, she stressed, builds resilience and enhances carbon storage. Heather Stirratt, NOAA, spoke about the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. She presented a new prioritization tool to enable cost-efficient restoration decisions, using identified targets and available monitoring data.

During the ensuing discussions, participants stressed as “key for implementation”: assessments, collective buy-in and funding.

Gender and Climate Change

The IUCN Global Gender Office was established to support members’ gender mainstreaming strategies, which influenced the topic of gender to be a cross-cutting issue throughout several events and sessions. On topics of climate change, a workshop devoted to exploring the policy landscape highlighted grassroots’ and Indigenous women’s climate challenges and solutions. A Knowledge Café brought together young people, and particularly women, to hold open conversations to envision alternatives to current international environmental rhetoric and solve challenges in conservation and climate change.

NOAA Science on Sphere

NOAA presented its leading educational tool, “Science on a Sphere.” Their display projects animated planetary data onto a six-foot diameter, hanging sphere. Presenters talked the audience through land, oceanic and atmospheric data, including: migratory routes of tagged birds and marine mammals; ocean surface temperatures; coral reef bleaching; atmospheric weather systems; and marine mammal conservation. Participants celebrated Science on a Sphere as an exciting and innovative development in earth system science education, with animations that engage people of all ages.


Private Finance for Public Good

This event took place on Friday. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF, said the way to transform the economic system is to change the way the private sector sees the value of nature. Fabian Huwyler, Credit Suisse, stressed the need to capture millennials’ needs because they are a generation of investors with an increased interest in nature. Camilla Seth, JPMorgan, noted that the number of unpredictable high cost ecosystem risks are increasing, thus understanding the risks of vulnerable ecosystems is a vital entry point for sustainable finance. Christy Goldfuss, White House Council on Environmental Quality, said, “we are ripe and rich” for partnerships as there is not enough public funding for conservation. Stephan Opitz, KfW Development Bank, noted that public funding should support private companies to move and expand into new eco-friendly sectors.

Terry Tamminen, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, said the Foundation supports NGOs that work on demystifying conservation projects to open them up for private investors. Dale Galvin, Rare, stressed the need to create a wide-spread conservation ethic by cultivating and catalyzing behaviors that value nature to create new social norms. Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy, announced the launch of the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation, comprised of NGOs, multilateral institutions, investors, and banks. John Tobin, Cornell University, highlighted the need to create investable blueprints for transaction that generate both environmental and financial returns. Closing the meeting, Andersen underlined the importance of multi-stakeholders’ coalitions for scaling up valuable projects.

The Road Ahead: Toyota & the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – Driving Private Sector Engagement for Biodiversity Conservation

On Friday, Jane Smart, IUCN, announced a partnership with Toyota to fund the expansion of the Red List of Threatened Species, sharing aspirations to go from 80,000 species assessed to 160,000. Tom Stricker, Vice President, Toyota, shared the corporate history behind the interest in this partnership.

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, clarified that the main users of biodiversity are businesses, describing actions taken to further engage that community. Judith Garber, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureu of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs, US outlined holistic approaches to increase partnerships with the private sector to meet conservation goals.

Hesiquio Benitez Diaz, Director General, CONABIO, Mexico, discussed mainstreaming biodiversity in production sectors, underscoring that better knowledge will lead to better decisions.

Panelists also discussed shareholder engagement. Stricker noted the appeal of long-term planning and brand differentiation; Dias reported co-benefits such as waste reduction and efficiencies; and Diaz called for good indicators to understand decisions on biodiversity.

Natural Capital Protocol and Sector Guides Hawaiʻi Launch

During this event on Friday, Mark Gough, Natural Capital Coalition, explained that natural capital is the renewable and non-renewable stock that provides benefits for people, while value is the relative importance to the person, which may differ from monetary value. Peter Bakker, WBCSD, said the Natural Capital Protocol is about creating a language that translates business goals for the conservation community, further cautioning that successful collaboration requires overcoming institutional ego.

Holly Dublin, IUCN, highlighted the need for trust, transparency and data sharing, urging organizations to allow business access to their data so that they are informed about challenges and can provide solutions. Peter Seligmann, Conservation International, stressed the importance of: a shared passion for what needs to be achieved; overcoming institutional “territorialism” and subordinating identities to work as a team; and creating a risk protocol to be inserted into the Natural Capital Protocol.

Participants then engaged in an exercise to identify the name and ingredients of the “cocktail” needed for getting the Protocol wildly adopted.

Managing Conflicts Between Businesses and Civil Society Over the Use of Natural Resources

In this event, held on Sunday, Nigel Crawhall, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee, stressed the need for: designing a rights-based framework, compliance, and dialogue; bringing different stakeholders together in norm-setting; and finding solutions that are fair, equitable, and generous. Myrna Semaan, Friends of Nature, Lebanon, spoke about her work on the Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve. She highlighted the importance of engaging youth by relating their habits with forest conservation activities, and presented a campaign created for all segments of the society. Kem Lowry, University of Hawai’i, discussed developing a strategy for the future of water in Hawai’i, highlighting the need to provide incentives for all stakeholders to work together in finding solutions. Jennifer Clare Mohamed-Katerere, IUCN, outlined the role of citizen juries, comprised of citizens excluded from the process of designing agricultural policies on genetically modified crops in Andhra Padresh, in engaging with the private sector. This, she noted, has led to a depressurization of communities from accepting genetically modified organisms outright.

Juan Carlos Sanchez, IUCN, presented work in the Sixaola River Basin in Costa Rica, where monocultures have had an impact on the region’s rich biodiversity. He called for focusing on cooperation as a facet of conflict rather than trying to eliminate conflicts, as they are inherent. Mary Walker, Independent Barrister, spoke about reaching sustainable solutions through effective negotiations and presented case studies on toxic waste depots, a copper smelter, and a nuclear reactor.

Africa Transforming: How Will Chinese Investments Transform Africa’s Development?

This event was held in two parts on Sunday.

PART I: Daudi Sumba, Wildlife Foundation, moderating the session, cited the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as a major driver of Africa’s transformation, aiming to build an “integrated prosperous and peaceful Africa.”

Matt Jones, UNEP, reported that 20% of Africa’s land area is under oil and gas concessions, a majority of which are Chinese-led. The challenge, he said, is the major overlap with protected area networks.

Lori Anna Conzo, International Finance Corporation, underscored the promotion of environmental safeguards in Africa through the Sustainable Banking Network, which supports information sharing.

Helga Rainer, Arcus Foundation, reported impacts of extractive industries on great ape conservation, noting the need to mitigate indirect impacts such as degradation due to population influx. Participants called for greater involvement of civil society to ensure accountability.

PART II: Jeff Sawyer, Cairns University, moderated, noting that China is changing the way it is investing in Africa. Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, observed China is the fourth largest investor in Africa after the US, UK and France.

Lingfei Weng, Tsinghua University, explained that the suspension of the Chinese iron concession in Mbalam, Cameroon, occurred due to: reduced interest in mineral extraction; concerns about environmental degradation; and an inability to demonstrate local community benefits. Citing the China-Africa Cloud Conservation Initiative, Yan Zhang, IUCN China, showed diverse ways Chinese companies promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Nan Li, WWF China, said twelve companies managing four million hectares of concessions in Africa have agreed to protect wildlife and improve labor conditions. Leonard Usongo , IUCN Cameroon, noted that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Johannesburg in 2015 provided an opportunity to influence and determine pathways of investments that address environmental impacts.

The Role of Business in Developing Resilient, Green and Inclusive Agricultural Growth Corridors in Africa

Moderated by Marie Parramon-Gurney, IUCN, this session was held on Monday and considered factors relevant to the role of business in developing green, inclusive and resilient agricultural growth corridors in Africa. Ademola Ajagbe, BirdLife Africa, stressed “when you’re talking agriculture, you’re talking food. When you’re talking food, you’re talking life.”

Ruud Jansen, Executive Secretary, Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, outlined their work with private companies in natural capital accounting, which recognizes the contribution of natural capital to economic growth. Julie Reneau, Nestlé Espresso, described their journey towards becoming environmentally and socially responsible for their supply chain, right down to farm level.

Stephanie O’Donnell, Flora and Fauna International, and Frineia Rezende, Votorantim Industrial, both described their work to help agricultural supply chains recognize the value of ecosystem services and the benefits and risks related to biodiversity. Andrea Athanas, African Wildlife Foundation, described practical examples, including ongoing negotiations with sugar producers operating in a key wildlife corridor in Southern Africa connecting a protected area and mountain range.

Milagre Nuvunga, Micaia Foundation, stressed the importance of, inter alia: partnerships between producers and NGOs; academic research; and increasing the visibility of good examples. Omer van Renterghem, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shared his experience as a development partner and donor, and the recent shift towards a landscape approach.

Discussion focused on: companies’ violations of solid and wastewater management regulations; the importance of supporting medium-sized enterprises rather than just small and big businesses; the need for multi-stakeholder dialogue; and the value of environmental impact assessments.

Natural Capital Approaches: Identifying Common Ground and Fracture Points

This workshop took place on Monday, with Nathalie Olsen, IUCN, outlining the workshop’s aim to find common ground to move the natural capital debates forward. Penelope Figgis, IUCN, said everyone wants a more livable earth, but there are disagreements about how to achieve it.

Neville Ash, UNEP-WCMC, said investments in natural capital can make other forms of capital more efficient and resilient. He emphasized the necessity for natural capital approaches to recognize: benefits; risks; and intended and unintended consequences for people and biodiversity.

Helen Crowley, Kering, emphasized that natural capital accounting helps build the case for bringing biodiversity into business by, inter alia: focusing attention where impacts are greatest; building awareness on the interface between business and nature; and providing a framework for comparing impacts and actions across companies.

Catie Burlando, IUCN, recalled the interdisciplinary group called for in the natural capital resolution to the IUCN, and said it would be a good space to discuss some of the controversies surrounding the concept, especially the impacts of not assigning monetary value to some natural resources.

Michael Wright, National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, said government environmental agencies need cross-sectoral information to support their funding case for conservation and that natural capital approaches support continued economic and social wellbeing.

Dani Rivera, Center for Amazonian Indigenous Development, Peru, highlighted that it is difficult for indigenous people to develop and understand natural capital as they don’t separate themselves from nature.

Discussions touched upon, among others: natural capital accounting methodologies; and the importance of spiritual capital. Gerard Bos, IUCN, wrapped up saying the natural capital concept is at a crossroads: the conservation movement can either embrace it, or continue internal debates that create confusion.

Biodiversity Offsets: What are They and What Do They Mean to Different Stakeholders?

On Monday, Thomas Lovejoy, United Nations Foundation, reminded participants: “a global average temperature increase of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels is too much for ecosystems.” He drew attention to ecosystem restoration on a global scale as an effective strategy to capture CO2 back out of the atmosphere. He emphasized the need to explore every creative possibility to avoid biodiversity loss “before looking at biodiversity offsets.”

Robin Mitchell, The Biodiversity Consultancy, defined biodiversity offsets as “measurable conservation outcomes resulting from actions designed to compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from project development after appropriate prevention and mitigation measures have been taken.” He explained “the goal is to achieve no net loss and preferably a net gain of biodiversity on the ground.” Emphasizing that biodiversity offsets are within a mitigation hierarchy, there is “a sequential process from avoidance, minimization and restoration before remaining impacts can be offset,” stressing the need for outcomes to be additional to a no-project scenario.

Participants then held roundtable discussions divided into stakeholder groups with report-back from each group. Academia raised concerns around additionality, comparability, monitoring and enforceability. The private sector stressed the need for good governance and capacity building to ensure host countries support investments with biodiversity offsets. Noting transparency as an important principle, the government sector lamented lacking data to calculate offset value. NGOs cautioned that: the science is still incomplete; lack of trust remains; and companies should be required to pay mandatory reparations before biodiversity offsets should be entertained.

Conservation Finance: Lessons from the Field

Gerard Bos, IUCN, moderated the session. Fabian Huwyler, Credit Suisse, defined conservation finance as investments or projects with positive conservation impacts and financial benefits. He emphasized the need to stimulate private investment to meet the required US$220-300 billion of climate finance per year. He said the current investment of US$52 billion per year is not only deficient, but drawn mostly from the public sector.

Melissa Moye, World Wildlife Fund, US, said her institution’s focus is not-for-profit projects where impacts, particularly for communities, enhance long-term sustainability. She highlighted the Gorilla Conservation Coffee project in Uganda as an example of impact financing, which provides capacity building to develop a business model. Raphaël Billé, Restoration of Ecosystems Services against Climate Change Unfavorable Effects project, highlighted, among others, testing of payments for ecosystem services, market labels and offsets as means of increasing resilience in integrated coastal management in Pacific Islands.

Renaud Lapeyre, Institut du développement durable et des relations internationals, underscored the need for innovative financial mechanisms to meet the required US$9.2-85 billion per year to achieve Aichi Target 11 (protected areas). Malik Amin Aslam, IUCN Pakistan, described efforts to catalyze the ruling party of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to successfully afforest through the Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative. He noted this afforestation has gained international recognition, including through the Bonn Challenge. In ensuing discussions, participants questioned the basis for the climate finance investment figures that had been discussed, noting their wide range.


Listen to Young Voices: Engaging Pacific Youth as Future Environmental and Cultural Leaders through Creative Expression

On Friday, Takiora Ingram, Pacific Writers’ Connection, moderated this workshop, which explored creative tools for communicating environmental issues and concerns. Panelists highlighted creative writing, poetry and music programs throughout the Pacific Islands, with Ingram emphasizing that the future of conservation and environmental leadership lies firmly in the hands of future generations. Ingram described My Hawaiʻi Story Contest, an annual environmental writing contest for middle school students from across the state. Robert Pennybacker, Public Broadcasting Service Hawai‘i, outlined his weekly student news show, HIKI NŌ, which mentors students across Hawai‘i in professional journalism and compelling storytelling. Hoku Subiono, HIKI NŌ graduate, described and screened his news report on sustainable fishing in a South Kona village on Hawai‘i Island.

Joni Mae Makuakāne-Jarrell, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, underscored the importance of connecting culture and science in her work, noting “Hawaiians were there long before the national park was thought of.” Through participatory music writing and performing, Kenneth Makuakāne, musician, illustrated how conversation should be relevant and dynamic.

Craig Santos Perez, UH, read his poems about food, globalization, refugees, elephants, trees and the ocean. He illustrated how Pacific Island literature can help teach people to listen, as well as promote environmental literacy. The ensuing discussions considered how to empower youth to tell their stories in their own language and own way.

Conservation 2.0: Empowering Next Generations

On new approaches to promote conservation of nature, Justin Bogardus, Filmmaker, shared a video demonstrating that nature can be “marketed” to create empowering messages of its value. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, shared experiences in youth empowerment through linking traditional knowledge with sciences. Bruno Monteferri, Founder, Director, Conservamos por Naturaleza, Peru, presented a video navigating overcoming challenges through personal narratives and collaboration. Alison Sudol, Musician, Actress, IUCN Goodwill Ambassador, shared efforts to use her “spotlight” to direct attention to conservation and youth.

In a panel on integrated approaches to empowerment, Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, spoke of her movement, Roots & Shoots, aimed to overcome apathy and depression by encouraging each person in the 150,000 participating groups to know that their choice has an impact. Anne Walton, International Marine Protected Area Management Capacity Building Program, shared vertical and horizontal approaches to institutionalizing capacity building for leadership, describing the connection between individual strengths, passion and knowledge for collaborative leadership. Jon Jarvis, Director, US National Park Service, reported positive results from strategies to engage millennials and build a generation of advocates for conservation.

#NatureForAll Pavilion

The World Conservation Congress was the launch pad for the #NatureForAll movement which is a global movement to promote a universal love of nature and inspire new audiences to experience and connect with nature and take action that supports its conservation. The #NatureForAll theme and pavilion at the Forum had a selection of sessions representing how diverse sectors and audiences are bringing new insights and skills to the goals of raising awareness and facilitating experiences and connections with nature. Some of these sessions where titled: The Doctor is in: Nature is your healthcare provider; Unveiling the Great Elephant Census Results & Web Platform; Lights! Camera! Conservation action! Inspiring new audiences via multi-platform mass media; Connecting Kids and Conservation; and Student’s Day: #NatureForAll invites students to fall in love with nature.


The SDGs Journey: Achieving the Conservation Imperative for Sustainable Development

In this event on Saturday, Inger Andersen said the SDGs should be utilized to foster collaboration between the development and conservation worlds. Jeffrey Sachs, The Earth Institute, called for “social rationality,” which implies breaking globalized indifference and then making rational decisions for long-term planning.

James Watson, Wildlife Conservation Society, stressed the need for: ecologically sensible targets for protection and restoration; improving current CBD targets; and protecting the last remaining globally intact ecosystems. Celeste Conners, Hawai‘i Green Growth, said the best solutions are “in the middle” – in between: public and private sectors; communities and industry; and individuals and the community.

Nestor Batio Bassiere, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Green Economy, Burkina Faso, underscored the importance of political leadership for implementing the SDGs. Xavier Sticker, Ambassador for the Environment, France, underscored that resilience is about both communities and environment. Hugh Possingham, University of Queensland, stressed the need for better metrics and more specific goals for conservation.

To promote investment in conservation, Catherine Novelli, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, stressed the need to move from high-risk to low-risk profit endeavors. Julie Ann Wrigley, Wrigley Investments, identified three areas businesses should focus on: the SDGs relevant for their work; partnerships; and scaling up successful projects. Jan Olsson, Swedish Ambassador for Environment and Oceans, stressed the importance of gender equality for SDG implementation and conservation projects.

The Role of Nature Conservation in Achieving the SDGs

On Monday, Miguel Calmon, IUCN, spoke about achieving the SDGs through forest landscape restoration, which contributes to achieving the following SDGs: 1 (poverty eradication); 2 (ending hunger); 5 (gender equality); 6 (access to clean water); 7 (access to renewable energy); 12 (sustainable consumption and production (SCP)); 13 (addressing climate change); and 15 (biodiversity).

Charles McNeill, UNDP, spoke of maximizing synergies between nature conservation and the SDGs through: helping countries and communities find effective new ways to finance forest protection, sustainable management, and restoration; utilizing integrated landscape and seascape planning; recognizing and legitimizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to own and manage the forest; transforming supply chains to promote deforestation-free commodities; greening production and consumption in the developing world; removing double subsidies for beef production; and creating conservation-relevant SDG indicators.

Lorena Aguilar, IUCN, highlighted the role of women in transitioning to SCP, noting that by 2028, women will be responsible for about two-thirds of consumer spending worldwide. Isis Alvarez, Global Forest Coalition, stressed the need to recognize the contributions from grassroots communities on achieving the SDGs, and especially the role of women.

Ruud Jansen, the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, called for: incorporating the value of natural capital in public and private policies and decision making; and developing natural capital maps. Craig Groves, Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP), presented SNAPP’s contribution to achieving the SDGs.

Global Commons – Solutions for a Crowded Planet

This session, introduced by Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF, on Saturday, focused on the global commons, with presentations on: evidence of the need for radical, transformative shifts to avoid transgressing planetary tipping points; conditions needed for transformation; and large scale, widespread shifts that are already underway.

Defining global commons as biomes, biodiversity and biogeochemical systems of earth, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, presented graphs showing exponential deterioration in global commons such as, inter alia, carbon emissions, water use, energy consumption, ocean acidification, domesticated land and deforestation.

Penny Langhammer demonstrated the real impact of conservation action in the food-water-energy nexus. She reported that meta-reviews of conservation outcomes show positive impacts on nature, concluding that conservation is helping maintain natural capital needed to deliver sustainability solutions.

Andrew Steer President, World Resources Institute, presented on emerging and potential positive tipping points for global commons. He emphasized that the conditions needed for such transformative change to combat the problem are: evidence of the problem that is well communicated; multi-stakeholder coalitions; leadership; citizen action; demonstration that solutions are possible; and political, social and technological opportunities.

Gustavo Fonseca, GEF, moderated a panel on shaping the science and policy agenda to catalyze transformational change. Peter Bakker, WBCSD, called for language that engages business. Aroha Mead, IUCN, noted that conservation actions, such as protected areas, often exclude indigenous and local communities.

Ensuing discussion noted: how language on global commons can be more inclusive; climate is a factor in human displacement; and the value of nature should not be primarily economic.

Leave No One Behind: Conservation, Rights and Sustainable Development

On Sunday, Gonzalo Oviedo, IUCN opened the session, chaired by Ashok Khosla., Development Alternatives. Khosla said IUCN was one of the first organizations to start thinking about the issue of equity, fairness, and social justice.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, presented the Report on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She emphasized that full recognition of indigenous land rights and participation are key enabling conditions for sustainable conservation. John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, said States are “utterly failing” to protect the rights of expression and association of environmentalists and land defenders, outlining obligations to protect against foreseeable environmental harm to human rights.

Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention, said, “conservation can allow for the realization of rights and those rights can help effective management of water.” Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International, said, “we need nature and nature needs us today more than ever.”

Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Inupiaq people of Alaska, said 100 Alaskan villages are facing relocation, and their inhabitants live in third world standards due to fossil fuel exploration and climate change. Sanjay Kabir Bavikatte, The Christensen Fund, noted that, in order to achieve biocultural rights, it is necessary to look at the resilience of the communities that have sustained ecosystems and support these stewards of the land.

Gender-Responsive Financing for the Global Environment

In this event on Sunday, Lorena Aguilar, IUCN, noted that for the first time, all major financing mechanisms have gender mandates, and that 40% of the current 162 NDCs under the Paris Agreement explicitly mention “gender” and/ or “women” in the context of their national priorities and ambitions for reducing emissions.

Amy Fraenkel, CBD, shared the CBD’s recent adoption of a new gender plan through 2020, which contains gender actions CBD parties should implement as part of their commitments. Anne Kuriakose, Climate Investment Funds, stressed the need for: linking the efforts of international institutions with national plans; and increasing local governments’ participation in institutional development in order to promote institutional change on gender.

Yoko Watanabe, GEF, said each institution should: have a designated gender focal point; undertake gender analysis for project preparation; and have a full-time team to ensure that relevant policies are being designed and implemented. Ana Maria Currea, GEF, reported the development of indicators to track progress on gender-sensitive policies with national teams having gender focal points to oversee gender mainstreaming on the ground.

Doley Tserling, UNDP, presented the UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017. Birguy Lamizana, UNEP, presented the work of UNEP’s Gender Team on gender mainstreaming.

Kame Westerman, Conservation International, said donors require gender mainstreaming in projects. Jeannette Gurung, Executive Director, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture & Natural Resource Management, spoke about standards and certification systems that measure and reward valuable gender projects.

Connections: Spirituality and Conservation

On Monday, Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN, introduced Pualani Kanakaʻole Kanahele, Hawaiian Spiritual Leader, who presented a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Moderator Sally Ranney, American Renewable Energy Institute, introduced panelists. Father Robert Stark, Hawaiʻi, shared a video from the Vatican calling for “a change to unite,” to “free us from the slavery of consumerism,” and to care for our common home. Father Robert Agres, Hawaiʻi, shared examples of educational enterprises, saying, “we are an integral part of the earth, and the earth is an integral part of us.”

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Argentina, called on participants to seek enlightenment, without imposing views on others, and forge ahead with an agenda of sustainability that values all life forms. Masami Saionji, The Goi Peace Foundation, spoke of connection through love and gratitude, urging all to shift from a culture of materialism to one of spirituality.

Reverend Peter Harris, A Rocha, shared a video and encouraged the conservation community to consider long-term fundraising to help people “come beyond the crossroads and turn it around.” Imam Muhammad Sirajuddin Syamsuddin, State Islamic University, Jakarta, shared Islamic perspectives, proposing that in order to overcome the “moral crisis” of consumerism, it is necessary to collaborate across all sectors, improve education and move from conservative theology to a progressive view.

Kanakaʻole Kanahele spoke of ceremony, kinship and wisdom, explaining how the IUCN World Conservation Congress Opening Ceremony created a procedure to remember old wisdom as well as recall new events, “reaching into the realm of the unknown, and allowing the unknown to reach us.”

Water and Health and Security

Both formal and informal sessions throughout the Forum recognized, and benefited from, knowledge of interlinkages between water, health and security. Sessions considering key aspects and challenges around water, health and security focused on, inter alia: innovation and investment for water security for people and nature; a dialogue on the right to water and “making this right a reality”; a report on the international work of BRIDGE (Building River Dialogue and Governance); achieving the SDGs on water; and connecting science, practice and policy to evaluate healthy nature for human health and wellbeing. A session on Saturday, 3 September launched an IUCN water knowledge platform, available at, as a one-stop database of their evidence-based solutions for integrated water resource management (IWRM).

National Geographic at World Conservation Congress

National Geographic Society joined forces with IUCN before and during the World Conservation Congress to draw attention to the pressing conservation issues facing the planet, proposed solutions to solve them as well as help raise the profile of IUCN and its mission. Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General said “the National Geographic Society is uniquely positioned to support the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 through its global network of researchers and explorers and its unmatched storytelling platforms,” and Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society said, “the Congress presents an unparalleled opportunity for the Society and IUCN to combine resources to pave the way for a more sustainable future.” The National Geographic Society had a showcase area at the Forum, prepared a opening video for the Congress and shared a series of short, shareable videos highlighting the crucial conservation and development issues considered by IUCN Members at the World Conservation Congress.



The 1st Sitting of the Members’ Assembly began with an Aloha Spirit Law chanting by native Hawaiians on Tuesday, 6 September 2016. Opening the IUCN Members’ Assembly, Zhang Xinsheng, President, IUCN, called on members to look for “convergence of interests and to find solutions.”

APPOINTMENT AND FIRST REPORT OF THE CONGRESS CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE: IUCN President Zhang introduced the Terms of Reference (ToR) and membership of the Committees of Congress (WCC-2016-1.1/1-Rev 1), and members voted to approve.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: The Congress approved the Agenda of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 (WCC-2016-1.2/1 and Annex 1-Rev 1).

APPOINTMENT OF THE RESOLUTIONS, FINANCE AND AUDIT, GOVERNANCE, AND PROGRAMME COMMITTEES OF THE CONGRESS: President Zhang invited the Assembly to approve by vote, the ToR of the Committees of Congress proposed by Council on the membership of the Committees of Congress (WCC-2016-1.1/1-Rev 1).

Aroha Mead, IUCN, referring to the proposed membership of the 2016 Congress Committees (WCC-2016-1.1/1-Annex 7-Rev 3), explained that the principles used for the selection include fair representation of regions; gender balance; and mix between State and NGO members. The Steering Committee of Congress, she noted, does not require a decision of the Assembly.

International Council of Environmental Law suggested inclusion of youth into the committees, and several members proposed nominations. The Assembly approved the ToR and membership of committees.

REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL: Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN, introduced the Report (WCC-2016-1.4/1) on Tuesday morning. She highlighted IUCN’s involvement in milestones, including: ensuring that environment is woven into all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); work towards the Aichi Targets; and, at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), stressing the imperative of investments in adaptation and mitigation and the inclusion of oceans in the Paris Agreement.

Responding to questions from members on resource mobilization, she noted: an end to “the days of undedicated and unrestricted funding” because of dwindling financial resources in a strained economic environment; the need to engage with a wide political spectrum; and the role of the IUCN Biodiversity and Business Programme in creating sound principles for encouraging business engagement that both respects nature and promotes development.

Participants also raised questions on: assessment of the implementation of IUCN programmes; the accountability of IUCN members; the communication with “disadvantaged” IUCN African members; and the assessment of local communities’ involvement in programme implementation. In response, the IUCN Director General highlighted efforts undertaken by IUCN to increase the accountability and transparency of its work, including through the IUCN Union Portal launched in 2015. Responding to other questions from the floor, she observed, inter alia: no undue influence by donor countries; IUCN’s work being science-based; and that the report accurately reflects locations of previous meetings.

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL: President Zhang invited members to consider the report of the Council to the Congress (WCC-2016-1.5/1). He drew attention to the Council’s major achievements, including: the smooth transition of the Secretariat leadership; widespread uptake of the “one programme approach” to support delivery and impact of IUCN’s policies and programmes; modernization of governance through, among others, electronic approval of motions and voting by membership; policy guidance on critical issues such as climate change and the SDGs; and continued focus on strengthening membership.

In ensuing discussions, members and the Council interacted on issues regarding: implementation of the seven prioritized SDGs; the need to reinforce further accountability and transparency; requesting the Secretariat to increase involvement in capacity building in, technology transfer to, and mobilization of financial resources for developing countries; and the Union’s impact on the climate change agenda.


On Tuesday morning, Simon Stuart, Chair of the Resolutions Committee, introduced: the Update on Motions Process (WCC-2016-1.6/1); Communications by the Motions Working Group (WCC-2016-1.6/2 and 6/4); and Recordings of Motions adopted through electronic vote (WCC-2016-1.6/3-Rev 1). He underlined that the new way of working for IUCN’s decision-making process strengthened its fundamental democratic character by increasing transparency and the participation of IUCN members in the discussion of motions.

Responding to questions from the floor, Stuart explained: information on participation and votes are in the public domain; explanations on votes could be submitted online; and the new electronic debate period provided substantially more time, with two months compared to previous debates which were often constrained by two-hour contact groups.

Members then adopted, in accordance with Rule 62septimo of the Rules of Procedure of the World Conservation Congress, the IUCN World Conservation Congress en bloc adoption of motions through an electronic ballot prior to Congress.

Margaret Beckel, Chair of the Governance Committee of the Congress, introduced the motions on IUCN governance, related to: including local and regional authorities in the structure of the Union (motion A); including indigenous peoples’ organizations in the structure of the Union (motion B); election of the IUCN President (motion C); and enhanced practice and reforms of IUCN’s governance (motion D). She encouraged all members to participate actively in the contact groups.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PURPOSE AND PROCESS OF THE HAWAI‘I COMMITMENTS: Maria von Weissenberg, Vice-President, IUCN, chaired this session on Tuesday. John Robinson, Vice-President, IUCN, explained that the Hawaiʻi Commitments theme, “Navigating Island Earth,” was inspired by the Polynesian around-the-world voyaging canoe Mālama Honua, which translates as “to care for our Island Earth.” On process, He explained that the declaration drafting subcommittee would provide a draft for comments, adding that it would not be a negotiated text.


PRESENTATION OF THE DRAFT IUCN PROGRAMME AND FINANCIAL PLAN 2017–2020: Andersen introduced the IUCN Programme 2017- 2020 (WCC-2016-2.1/1-Annex 1), reminding members that “we all need to see ourselves in this programme.”

Cyriaque N. Sendashonga, Global Director of Policy and Programme Group, IUCN, highlighted IUCN’s inter-sessional achievements between 2013-2016, including: elevating the role of nature in international frameworks; progressing on mainstreaming and implementing nature-based solutions – such as through the Bonn Challenge and through representation of ecosystems as important elements in 45 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement; scaling up investments in conservation; getting accredited at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Global Climate Fund (GCF); and establishing knowledge through many publications.

Sendashonga underscored that the 2017-2020 Programme adds more focus on the SDGs and scales up efforts on: valuing and conserving nature; promoting and supporting effective end equitable governance of natural resources; and deploying nature-based solutions to address societal challenges.

Andersen presented the context of IUCN’s Financial Plan, noting: a reprioritization of Official Development Assistance (ODA) because of the European migration crisis; a decline in IUCN’s unrestricted funding; and a “healthy growth” in project funding, a majority of which comes from governments and multilateral institutions. Michael Davis, IUCN, presented the objectives of the Financial Plan, which include: funding the implementation of the 2017-2020 Programme; growing IUCN’s project portfolio; regional and programmatic approaches; and the ‘One Programme’ approach, with increased grant-making and joint implementation with members. He announced that IUCN’s unrestricted funding for 2017-2020 is US$115 million and restricted funding ís US$462 million. He also noted increased IUCN membership, especially in the NGOs category, with forecast of further growth.

DISCUSSION OF ISSUES OF STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE FOR THE UNION: Members considered these issues on Tuesday afternoon and on Wednesday morning. Opening the discussions, Andersen said, in response to the request by members to engage in issues of strategic importance during the Assembly, the Council has decided on three strategic themes, namely: agriculture and biodiversity; oceans and islands; and building constituencies.

How should IUCN address the challenge of conserving nature in the face of industrial agriculture? Delivering the keynote address, Ruth Richardson, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, quoted Wendell Berry in the ‘Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,’ saying that, “the soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all,” further emphasizing that food systems are connected to diverse issues affecting individual livelihoods.

Alexander Müller, TEEB for Agriculture and Food, highlighted strategic opportunities for IUCN. As knowledge hub, he said, IUCN can contribute to changing food production patterns in order to eradicate poverty within ecological limits, and to support a comprehensive assessment of the food chain.

Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University Earth Institute, lamented a lack of metrics and quantifications “when it comes to the biodiversity-ecosystems-agriculture interface.” He proposed IUCN lead the way for the analytical work “urgently needed,” moving toward making plans of action.

Jason Clay, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), US, called for: planetary metrics; focus on transitioning the “worst food producers” towards sustainable agriculture; and moving funding away from “business-as-usual crop production methods” to “unusual innovative methods that reintegrate underperforming land.”

In the ensuing discussion, IUCN members and partners also addressed issues including: whether conserving nature is fundamentally incompatible with industrial agriculture; the importance of sustainable consumption; reasons why public investment in sustainable agriculture is dwindling, while industrialized agriculture invests in agrosystems that ruin ecosystems; and the need for roadmaps for sustainable agriculture.

How should IUCN address the challenge of preserving the health of the world’s oceans? Lauren Wenzel, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), moderated the first panel noting that the “plastic economy” is gravely affecting ocean health. Panelists responded to questions from members.

Pierre Cousteau, Cousteau Divers, said single use plastics should be banned and that the product designs of most plastics are a deterrent to recycling. Birguy Lamizana-Diallo, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said a global agenda on plastics would give national governments mandates to act on regulating their use.

Jeroen Dagevos, Utrecht University, said campaigns such as those against microplastics in cosmetics have potential to produce change in the business sector.

Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, moderated the second panel and called for “putting live-value of wildlife on the balance sheet.” She stressed the need for large marine protected areas, as “safe havens for ocean wildlife.” Nilufer Oral, Co-chair of the Ocean Specialist Group of the World Commission on Environmental Law, called for utilizing IUCN’s strong network of legal experts to influence the prevention of illegal fishing, with its negative economic, social and environmental consequences.

Serge Garcia, Chair of the Fisheries Expert Group of the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), described efforts to accelerate the implementation of the ecosystem service approach and to foster collaboration among governmental and intergovernmental agencies, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and IUCN.

Sebastian Troëng, Conservation International, agreed with the importance of looking for solutions with a lens combining economic, social and environmental knowledge. He also called for scaling up solutions by creating enabling conditions and demand for solutions.

By sharing experiences from his sailing voyage around the world, Nainoa Thompson inspired participants to protect “culture, oceans and the island earth - because our lives depend on it.”

How should IUCN address the challenge of building constituencies for nature? Miguel Pellerano, Regional Councillor for Meso and South America, IUCN, moderated the panel. Speaking on connecting cities, Kobie Brand, Local Governments for Sustainability (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.

Adin Malik Amin Asian Khan, Vice-President, IUCN, 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 policymaking, and then enabled actions on the ground with global outreach.

Emphasizing that empowering citizens with knowledge about their biophysical environment is key to tackling environmental problems, Margaret Otieno, Wildlife Clubs, Kenya, shared her experiences 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.


AWARDS CEREMONY: On Tuesday evening, President Zhang presided over the awards ceremony. The laureate of the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal went to Maria Teresa Jorge Pádua, Brazil, for outstanding service in international conservation. The Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal went to Lee M. Talbot, the US, for outstanding contribution in conservation of nature and natural resources. Ashok Khosla, India and Valli Moosa, South Africa, received the Honorary Membership of IUCN Awards.

IUCN Commissions also presented the: Peter Scott Medal and George Rabb Award for Conservation Innovation; Kenton Miller Award for Innovation in Protected Areas Management; Luc Hoffmann Award and the Young Professional Award; Award for Spanish-language environmental education materials on climate change; International Brandwein Medal for lifelong commitment to conservation education; Chair’s Award for lifelong commitment to Commission on Education and Communication (CEC); Young Professional Award; Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP) Award for Meritorious Research; CEESP Award for an Indigenous IUCN Member Organization and the CEESP Gender Award.


On Wednesday morning, John Robinson, Wildlife Conservation Society, chaired the 4th 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.

Stuart 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, and noted the deadline for appeals.

REPORTS OF THE IUCN COMMISSIONS: 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 Piet Wit, 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 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 of knowledge and nature.

Species Survival Commission (SSC): Chair Simon Stuart noted the Red List’s growth by 20,000 species to current 82,954 listed species since the World Conservation Congress 2012, noting the goal is for 160,000 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 for 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, “now has 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; additional work required on protected area management threatened by agricultural practices and other threats; and the need for increased interconnectivity among Commissions.


PRESENTATION AND ELECTION OF CANDIDATES FOR REGIONAL COUNCILLOR POSITIONS, COMMISSION CHAIRS, TREASURER AND PRESIDENT: At the beginning of the 5th sitting on Wednesday, 28 candidates from each of the regions, including Africa, Meso and South America, South and East Asia, North America and the Caribbean, Oceania, West Asia, East Europe, North and Central Asia, and West Europe presented their bids for regional Councillor positions, and on Thursday, candidates for the positions of Chairs of the six Commissions, the Treasurer and the President of the Union presented their bids. More detailed information on the process is available in the daily reports here.

The election results were presented on Friday by IUCN Election Officer Michael Wilson, who announced Zhang Xinsheng (China) as President and Patrick de Heney (Switzerland/UK) as Treasurer of the Union.

He also announced Commission Chairs as follows: Sean Southey (Canada/South Africa), CEC; Angela Andrade (Colombia), CEM; Kristen Walker Painemilla (US), CEESP; Jon Paul Rodriguez (Venezuela), SSC; Antonio Herman Benjamin (Brazil), CEL; and Kathy MacKinnon (UK), WCPA.

He further announced:

  • Regional Councillors for Africa: Mamadou Diallo (Senegal); Jesca Eriyo Osuna (Uganda); Ali Kaka (Kenya); and Jennifer Mohamed-Katerere (South Africa);
  • Regional Councillors for Meso and South America: Lider Sucre (Panama); Marco Vinicio Cerezo Blandón (Guatemala); Carlos César Durigan (Brazil); and Jenny Gruenberger (Bolivia);
  • Regional Councillors for North America and the Caribbean: John Robinson (US); Luis Rodriguez-Rivera (Puerto Rico); Rick Bates (Canada); and Sixto Inchaustegui (Dominican Republic);
  • Regional Councillors for South and East Asia: Mangal Man Shakya (Nepal); Youngbae Suh (Republic of Korea); Masahiko Horie (Japan); Amran Hamzah (Malaysia) and Malik Amin Aslam Khan (Pakistan);
  • Regional Councillors for West Asia: Ayman Rabi (Palestine); Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri (United Arab Emirates); and Said Ahmad Damhoureyeh (Jordan);
  • Regional Councillors for Oceania: Anna Tiraa (Cook Islands); Andrew Bignell (New Zealand); and Peter Cochrane (Australia);
  • Regional Councillors for East Europe, North and Central Asia: Rustam Sagitov (Russian Federation); Michael Hosek (Czech Republic); and Tamar Pataridze (Georgia); and
  • Regional Councillors for West Europe: Jan Olov Westerberg (Sweden); Hilde Eggermont (Belgium); and Jonathan Hughes (UK).

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

REPORT ON THE MEETING OF ALL RECOGNISED 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 and their potential remains 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 ToR 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.


DISCUSSION OF THE DRAFT IUCN PROGRAMME 2017-20, REPORT OF THE CONGRESS PROGRAMME COMMITTEE, FOLLOWED BY THE ADOPTION OF THE IUCN PROGRAMME 2017- 20: On Friday, President Zhang invited members to consider the draft IUCN Programme 2017-2020 (WCC-2016-2.1/1-Annex 1). John Robinson, Councillor for North America and Vice-President, IUCN provided an update on the Hawaiʻi Commitments, which he described as “an expression of key issues.” Tamar Pataridze, Chair of the Congress Programme Committee, announced that the Committee received and considered twelve proposed amendments.

Cyriaque Sendashonga, IUCN Global Director, presented the proposed amendments to the Programme under the themes: Energy, Rights of Nature, Geoheritage, Ecotourism, Healthy Parks Healthy People, Freshwater, Nature for All, Antarctic, Wildlife Trafficking, Sustainable Communities, and West Asia. She reported the Committee found that eleven out of the twelve proposals could be accommodated in the Programme.

Providing an explanation for the recommended rejection of the proposal to include Energy as a new theme in the Programme, Pataridze underscored IUCN’s recognition and support of the need to transition from fossil fuel-based economies to clean energy-based economies. She reported the views of the Programme Committee, that IUCN’s niche around climate change issues lies in its focus on nature-based solutions. She explained the Programme Committee questioned whether a shift in focus from ecosystems and nature-based solutions to technical-based energy solutions, would add any value. The Committee observed that the latter is already undertaken by “excellent outside organizations.” Commenting on the Programme, members called for: coherence of motions with the programmatic themes on species, governance and nature-based solutions; recognition of agreed-upon language and definitions of “biodiversity” from UN processes; elaboration on the biodiversity-agriculture linkages, particularly regarding freshwater; and greater emphasis on ecosystem-based adaptation, mitigation measures and nature-based solutions.

Members voted and approved the recommendations of the Programme Committee to accept the 11 amendments to the Programme without the new theme on energy. With these amendments, members then voted and approved the IUCN Programme 2017-2020.


REPORT BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL AND THE TREASURER ON THE FINANCES OF IUCN IN THE PERIOD 2012–2016: Director General Andersen chaired this session on Friday. IUCN Treasurer, Patrick de Heney, introduced the Report of the Director General and Treasurer on the Finances of IUCN 2012-2016 (WCC-2016-7.2/2). He presented IUCN achievements, including: reserves increased; a growing project portfolio; successful mitigation of the withdrawal of a significant framework donor in 2013; “Fit for purpose” IT systems; turbulent financial markets effectively navigated; and “significant progress” in governance reforms. He noted a few recommendations from the statutory auditors, including: reinforcing monitoring controls between headquarters, regional and country levels in order to cover the risks associated with a decentralized organization; improving oversight of key balance sheet items; further improving the internal control framework by taking a risk-based approached; improving monitoring of amounts spent through implementing partners; and strengthening IT governance and procedures.

REPORT OF THE CONGRESS FINANCE AND AUDIT COMMITTEE AND CONGRESS APPROVAL OF THE AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEARS 2012-15: On Friday, Spencer Thomas, Chair, Finance and Audit Committee, introduced the report (WCC-2016-7.2/1-Annex 1-4), noting a deficit of CHF 1 million in 2012, a surplus of CHF 3 million in 2013 and in 2014, and a surplus of CHF 1 million in 2015. He said the Finance and Audit Committee recommended that the Congress appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers as external auditors of IUCN for the years 2017-2020.

In the ensuing discussions, members asked questions on issues related to, inter alia, IUCN’s revenues from real estate, budgetary deficits, expenditure performance, capacity building, and strategies for expanding IUCN’s donors base. Responding to questions, Andersen said that: moving from single-programme financing to multi-programming platforms decreases costs and is more appealing to donors; IUCN is just finalizing its registration for the GCF; IUCN would be delighted to serve as implementing agency for the GEF and the GCF, but the respective institutions need to formally invite IUCN to perform that function; and IUCN is looking into optimizing costs without reducing the impact of its footprint on the ground. De Heney explained that IUCN does not buy real estate for investment purposes but it received real estate as a gift and sold it to a conservation organization in Nairobi, at a very good price.

Members then voted and approved the Financial Statements for 2012-2016 and the Financial Statements for 2012-2016.

APPOINTMENT OF THE EXTERNAL AUDITORS: On Friday, Members voted and approved the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as external auditors of IUCN for the years 2017-2020.


President Zhang opened the meeting, congratulating IUCN’s Muslim members and partners on the occasion of celebrations for Eid Al Adha.


Providing answers to outstanding questions from the 7th Sitting of Members’ Assembly, IUCN Treasurer Patrick de Heney explained that: IUCN employs external asset managers, chosen through a very competitive process; the Union has an investment policy guided by four principles – preservation of capital, reasonable rates of return on investment, equity, and a socially responsible approach. He said the socially responsible investment approach implies using exclusionary lists that ensure that IUCN does not make investments in sectors and projects that are not socially responsible.

Michael Davis, Chief Financial Officer, IUCN presented measures IUCN plans to implement in order to enhance its efficiency, including: setting shared-services centers that consolidate services in finance, human resources, etc. in regional centers; and a strict budgetary control system.

Andersen noted measures planed for enhancing resource mobilization: outreach to philanthropists, foundations, and the private sector; moving towards “projectized” funding as donors tend to prefer engaging in specific projects; and improving IUCN’s ability to track its performance along the lines of the SDGs, as donor prefer investing in SDGs implementation. Observing that 60% of IUCN’s portfolio involves IUCN members, she presented plans to track and increase the membership’s involvement in project implementation.

In the ensuing discussion, members raised issues pertaining to: the risks that transforming IUCN into a project-centered organization, shaped by the desires of donors, can pose on its overall mission; the need for robust criteria when selecting members; and the necessity for an operational strategy that ensures that IUCN regional members do not feel that they have to compete with other institutions for funding.

Thomas introduced IUCN’s Financial Plan 2017-2020 (WCC-2016-2.1/2-Annex 1), which the members then adopted through a vote.


Margaret Beckel, Chair of the Governance Committee, presented two options forwarded to the Assembly for consideration on the governance motion on including regional governments in the structure of the Union.

Option one, she noted, proposed amending IUCN statutes defining regional governments as those below the central government and above the local level, and defining voting rights with state governments. This option recommends, she added, establishing a working group to analyze their role, needs and effects. Option two, she reported, recommends the establishment of the working group as a first step in order to formulate a new recommendation at the next Congress.

Some members opposed to option one, said the time was not right due to diverse definitions of regional government, and in some countries, the lack of administrative clarity of “local” versus “regional” governments. Many preferred starting with a working group to look at effective mechanisms for their admission, cautioning against, as one said, “putting the cart before the horse.”

Those supporting option one said regional governments are already responsible for, and active in natural resource management and should be admitted now. They recommended that any uncertainties be resolved by the working group, with one proponent adding that “important steps can be achieved step by step.”

REPORT OF THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE AND APPROVAL OF THE MEMBERSHIP DUES 2017-20 AND OF THE LIST OF MEMBERS IN ARREARS WITH PAYMENT OF DUES AND WHOSE RIGHTS ARE RESCINDED: George Greene, Chair of the Credential Committee reported on members’ exercise of their voting power during the Congress. He noted an overall high percentage of participation in votes on motions, such as on the motion of natural capital illustrating stronger participation of Category B (non-government), with 93% yet still higher than usual participation in Category A (government), with 74% of votes on that motion.

On a decision that Congress rescinds all the remaining rights of 161 members whose dues are two or more years in arrears, the International Council of Environmental Law asked for “reflection for people and nature in Syria.” Nepal asked for consideration of members whose currency is not easily converted.

Members voted and adopted the decision (Document number forthcoming).

On the list of members in arrears with payment of dues and whose rights are rescinded, Thomas presented the proposal for the 2017–2020 membership dues (WCC-2016-8.3/1), which was approved by members.


Von Weissenberg presided over this session. Stuart provided a progress report on the last outstanding motions. He observed that the motion on protection of primary forests, including intact forest landscapes was ready for vote, and members then voted and approved this motion.

Informing about the status of the motion on closure of domestic markets for elephant ivory, he explained that: contact group discussions continued until the morning; thereafter the Committee received and reviewed several submissions for amendments; and members had before them these amendments to the motion, including several options.

Opposing the amendments, several members raised points of order, with France proposing the motion of non-action. The Wildlife Conservation Society, noting its opposition to the amendments, called for a vote on all amendments en bloc.

After consultations, Von Weissenberg ruled that members would vote first on the options within amendments and then on the amendments en bloc. She said the floor was open only for two speakers supporting, and two speakers opposing each amendment.

Stuart further explained that: members will vote first on the strongest option; only if disapproved will members vote on the second, less strong option; and if that was disapproved the text from the contact group would remain for consideration.

Members heard arguments for and against, and then voted and disapproved the first amendment option, proposed by Namibia. This option proposed deletion from the motion the notion that “any elephant ivory supply, including legal domestic markets, creates opportunities for the laundering of illegal elephant ivory under the guise of legality.” Members also voted against option two proposed by Japan to qualify the language, so to only note that any elephant ivory supply, including legal domestic markets, “may” create opportunities for the laundering of illegal elephant ivory under the guise.

Member voted against eight other proposed amendments, and the entire package of proposed amendments was rejected with 86.11% of votes against. The motion was approved with 86.24% votes in favor.

During the discussion, members stressed that, inter alia: “the elephant in the room” is poverty as a structural issue that needs to be addressed in order to reduce illegal ivory trade; this is driven by corruption and fueled by the illegal ivory trade industry; the lack of regulated markets further supports illegal ivory trade; and as a transboundary issue, closure of the ivory market needs international cooperation.

Some argued that those who voted against the proposed amendments are not “range states,” stressing that countries that do not have elephants should not try to regulate policies in countries that do, and arguing that there are states that successfully regulate their ivory markets. Others argued that research shows that not even Japan was able to regulate its market well, and that well-regulated markets do not exist. They noted that elephants are trans-boundary animals and thus states are not in the position to claim that they exercise their sovereign rights over them.

CONSIDERATION OF DRAFT RESOLUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: On Tuesday, 6 September, Stuart reminded that the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012 adopted a revised motions process recommended by the IUCN Council, and prior to the meeting, a total of 85 motions were put to the electronic vote by the IUCN Membership. He said members adopted all 85 motions, some with amendments, and 14 motions on policy issues and 6 motions related to the governance of the Union are put forward for discussion and vote during the Members’ Assembly. Consideration of these motions, which took place in plenary and contact groups, began on Tuesday, 6 September, and concluded on Saturday, 10 September. The following section summarizes the outcome and key decisions of the motions. Motions for both resolutions and recommendations are approved by a simple majority of votes cast in each of the two categories of members: Category A comprising state members and government agencies; and Category B comprising international and national NGOs.

More detailed information on the process is available on the daily reports here, and detailed information about the results of each vote can be accessed here.

Approved governance-related resolutions: The following governance-related resolutions were voted on and approved by the Congress:

Including local and regional governmental authorities in the structure of the Union (00A): In the resolution, the Congress approves the establishment of a working group on the role and membership of local and regional governments in IUCN, in order to analyze the need and effects, develop a clear definition of regional government, and formulate a comprehensive and well considered new recommendation for the next Congress.

Including indigenous peoples’ organizations in the structure of the Union (00B): In the resolution, the Congress adopts amendments to the IUCN statutes, adding new provisions for indigenous peoples’ organizations membership.

Election of the IUCN President (00C)In the resolution, the Congress adopts amendments to Rule 81 of the Rules of Procedure of the World Conservation Congress, by inserting a new sub-paragraph (i), which stipulates that to be elected president, a candidate must obtain the absolute majority of the votes. If none of the candidates has received the absolute majority of the votes in both member categories in the first round, a second round of voting is held between the two candidates who obtained the highest combined rankings in the first round. In the second round of voting, the candidate obtaining the highest combined ranking shall be elected. If the combined ranking is the same for both candidates in the second round, the candidate with the highest number of combined votes shall be elected.

Members’ Assembly’s sole authority to amend the Regulations pertaining to the objectives, nature of the membership and membership criteria (follow-up to decision 22 of the 2012 World Conservation Congress) (00D): In the resolution, the Congress adopts amendments to three articles related to amendments of regulations, namely Articles 101, 102 and 103 of the IUCN Statutes.

The amended Article 101 (on amendments by the Council) now specifies in three new sub-paragraphs that, inter alia:

  • the regulations implementing these Statutes, adopted by the WCC, “may be amended by Council following communication of proposed amendments to members for comments or objections”;
  • the regulations shall conform to these Statutes, and neither limit nor expand the rights of the Members to exercise control on any matter governed by these Statutes; and
  • any proposed amendment shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast at each of two successive periodic meetings of the Council.

The amended Article 102 (on communication of amendments to members) now specifies, in three new sub-paragraphs, that:

  • any proposed amendment to the regulations shall be separately communicated to the members “within six weeks after its adoption at the first of the two consecutive periodic meetings of the Council”;
  • the communication to members shall clearly alert members to the proposed change with a full explanation of the reasons which led Council to propose the amendment(s) as well as any clarification of its content; and
  • members shall be given “three” months to submit comments or objections, following which the Council at the second of two consecutive meetings may adopt, modify or withdraw the proposed amendment(s) in light of the comments or objections received.

The amended Article 103 (on Congress’ review of amendments by the Council) now specifies that the Congress shall review, at the request of a minimum of forty members eligible to vote, an amendment to the regulations adopted by the Council “at the second of the two successive periodic meetings,” provided that the request is made not later than three months of the Council’s communication of the adoption of the amendment. Pending such review, the effectiveness of the amendment shall be suspended.

Enhanced practice and reforms of IUCN’s governance (00E): In the resolution, the Congress adopts amendments to the IUCN Statutes related to the functions of the IUCN Council, which shall be, inter alia, “to provide strategic direction, in consultation with the Membership, in relation to the development of, and to approve the quadrennial draft IUCN Programme for submission to the Congress” and “may appoint committees and working groups, including but not limited to the Programme and Policy Committee, the Finance and Audit Committee and the Governance and Constituency Committee.”

Proposed amendment to Article 6 of the IUCN Statutes concerning the dues of State and political/economic integration organization Members adhering to IUCN (00F): In the resolution, the Congress adopts the following amendment to the IUCN Statutes: “States or political and/or economic integration organizations shall become Members of IUCN by notifying the Director General of their adhesion to these Statutes, effective upon payment of the first year’s membership dues.”

Approved programme-related resolutions: The following programme-related resolutions were voted on and approved by the Congress:

Identifying and archiving obsolete Resolutions and Recommendations to strengthen IUCN policy and to enhance implementation of IUCN Resolution (RES001): In the resolution, the Congress calls upon the Council to inter alia: establish criteria for identifying obsolete Resolutions and Recommendations; establish a working group or equivalent to undertake their review; and create an accessible archive of those that no longer require implementation.

IUCN Global Group for National and Regional Committee Development (RES002): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia: strongly encourages the Director General to provide logistical support: for the establishment of a Global Group for National and Regional Committee Development as part of the delivery of the One Programme initiative; and for a biennial two day meeting of National and Regional Committee representatives to maintain momentum, enable monitoring and reporting of progress and to promote sharing of experience.

Conservation of the helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) (RES003):In the resolution, the Congress inter alia: requests, the Director General to write to the Secretary General and Chair of the Standing Committee of CITES to request urgent steps to address the increased international trade in hornbill ivory; and encourages governments to enforce prevention of illegal harvesting and trade of hornbill ivory and derivative items.

Conservation of Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) and Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) in Northeast Asia (RES004): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia:

  • requests the Director General, the SSC and the CEM, to provide policy support to a new initiative for the recovery of the Amur tiger and Amur leopard;
  • calls on all stakeholders to encourage and launch the initiative in Northeast Asia for the recovery of these species; and
  • call on range states in the region to develop and invest in implementation of national action plans for the species and their prey species.

Closure of domestic markets for elephant ivory (RES005): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia:

  • urges governments to make legislative and regulatory efforts to close domestic markets for commercial trade in elephant ivory;
  • calls on Members to take advantage of 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP17) of CITES, to be held in South Africa in September 2016, to send an unambiguous message that buying elephant ivory is harmful and unacceptable; and
  • encourages cross-border elephant conservation projects to contribute to strict compliance with bans on domestic markets for elephant ivory nationally and across boundaries.

Giraffids: reversing the decline of Africa’s iconic megafauna (RES006): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia: calls Members and others to support implementation of 2015­2025 Okapi Conservation Strategy, and increase fundraising and capacity building for management and monitoring in range state protected areas; and urges all States Parties to the World Heritage Convention not to permit giraffids extractive activities.

Terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes (RES007): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests the Director General and Commissions to encourage the South African Government and other southern African Governments, to support this initiative by drafting and enacting legislation by 2020 to terminate hunting of captive-bred lions and predators.

Combatting the illegal poisoning of wildlife (RES008): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • requests the Director General, Commissions and Members to undertake a global situation analysis regarding the impacts of poisons on wild fauna and implement CMS Preventing Poisoning Guidelines;
  • calls on Members in Africa to recognize targeted illegal poisoning as a major threat to biodiversity and to implement urgent action; and
  • urges the EU member states to support CMS by adopting an action plan to prevent illegal poisoning of wildlife in the EU.

Greater protection needed for all pangolin species (RES009): In the resolution, the Congress urges:

  • all Members to support transferring all eight pangolin species from Appendix II to Appendix I of CITES at CITES COP17; and
  • Members, range states and other stakeholders to support efforts to tackle threats to pangolins, including through the SSC Pangolin Specialist Group Conservation Action Plan.

The IUCN Red List Index for monitoring extinction risk (RES010): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia: requests the IUCN Red List Partnership and SSC to ensure Red Lists incorporate repeat assessments of taxonomic groups in order to calculate Red List Indices; and urges Members to include data from the Red List and Red List Indices into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) assessments.

Actions to avert the extinction of the vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) (RES011): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests:

  • the Director General and the SSC to provide technical and scientific assistance to Mexico to prevent extinction;
  • Mexico to among other things ban gillnet use in species range, implement the Official Mexican Standard and review compensation programmes to fishermen and communities supporting vaquita­safe alternatives; and
  • all governments, CITES and INTERPOL to assist in combating illegal international trade in totoaba products.

Toward an IUCN standard classification of the impact of invasive alien species (RES012): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia requests the SSC, the Director General and Members to: collaborate in developing the proposed Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa, and integrate the outcomes into the IUCN Global Invasive Species Database and the IUCN Red List.

Protection of wild bats from culling programmes (RES013): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia:

  • calls on the Director General, SSC and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) to support evidence­based approaches for the management of sustainable bat populations;
  • calls on Members to allocate funding and provide incentives, adequate legislation, deterrent penalties and promote education to conserve bats; and
  • urges governments to seek non­lethal solutions to conflicts between humans and bats.

Strengthening pathway management of alien species in island ecosystems (RES014): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • requests the Director General and the SSC to strengthen capacity in detection and monitoring of alien species in island ecosystems;
  • urges the Government of Japan to address introduction pathways from landfill materials to be transferred to the construction site of the US Marine Corp Facility at Henoko, Okinawa; and
  • further urges the Government of Japan to address the growing opportunities for the introduction of alien species through tourism and military activities in the Ryukyu Islands, preventing the entry at ports of arrival.

Monitoring and management of unselective, unsustainable and unmonitored (UUU) fisheries (RES015): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • calls on IUCN Commissions to consider social, economic and ecological issues around UUU fisheries in their work;
  • calls on coastal and fishing States, and others, to among other things, implement data collection, monitoring and reporting of UUU fisheries and integrate marine biodiversity and ecosystem considerations into national and regional regulation of fishing activities; and
  • encourages funding and development assistance agencies to assist with monitoring of UUU fisheries.

Conservation measures for vultures, including banning the use of veterinary diclofenac (RES016): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • requests governments to urgently implement UNEP/CMS Resolution 11.15 in relation to preventing risks to vultures from veterinary pharmaceuticals used to treat livestock;
  • calls on the International Cooperation on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Products (VICH/OECD) to evaluate and provide guidance on wider risks of veterinary pharmaceuticals to scavenging birds; and
  • calls on governments to implement the Multi­species Action Plan for African­Eurasian Vultures, mandated by UNEP/CMS.

Protection for the serranids and syngnathids occurring off the Spanish coasts (RES017): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, calls on the Director General to:

  • collaborate with Members and Commissions to increase efforts to assess the conservation status of all commercial species of serranids and syngnathids;
  • provide technical and programmatic support to promote and strengthen existing initiatives and to share information on their conservation; and
  • urge European member states to promote specific regulations and management plans to protect habitats and increase connectivity.

Supporting the Brazilian Red-Listing process and the conservation of threatened species (RES018): In the resolution, the Congress requests:

  • the Director General and SSC to provide scientific and technical support to Brazil to maintain its national Red­Listing process and related legislation; and
  • requests the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and SSC to develop two­way data exchange between the official endangered species lists and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Recognizing, understanding and enhancing the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in tackling the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) crisis (RES019): In the resolution, the Congress urges the Director General and others to inter alia:

  • recognize the critical role of indigenous peoples and local communities that live with wildlife as full IUCN partners;
  • ensure that the need to engage and incentivize indigenous peoples and local communities is fully respected and reflected in IUCN and other relevant interventions and decisions; and
  • promote opportunities for indigenous peoples and local communities to engage as equal partners in wildlife conservation and management decisions.

Conservation of intertidal habitats and migratory waterbirds of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, especially the Yellow Sea, in a global context (RES020): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • urges Parties to the Ramsar Convention, at their 13th Conference in Dubai in 2018, to consider additional needs and priorities of remaining tidal flats at national, regional and global scales, and opportunities for urgently enhancing their protection; and
  • encourages governments to support the development of a ‘Caring for Coasts’ Initiative, in the framework of the CBD and the Ramsar Convention, as part of a global movement to restore coastal wetlands.

Strengthening the implementation of the Bern Convention for migratory bird species (RES021): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia:

  • asks Director General and the SSC to enhance the engagement of appropriate IUCN expertise in monitoring the implementation of the Bern Convention and the CMS;
  • urges State Members to support implementation of the CMS African­Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan; and
  • calls on State Members with greater capacity to provide economic and technical support to countries with lesser capacity, for obtaining more knowledge on migratory species and to adopt conservation measures.

Recognizing the Centennial of the US National Park Service (RES022):In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, calls on:

  • all states and their regional and local governments to support and implement the National Park idea; and
  • all NGOs to support global and local efforts to create and maintain permanent protection of critical scenic and natural areas and to promote their responsible management.

Incorporating urban dimensions of conservation into the work of IUCN (RES023):In the resolution, the Congress calls on Council to lead a strong IUCN-wide initiative to promote awareness of and encourage actions that reinforce the crucial role that nature performs in urban places and establish an ‘IUCN Urban Alliance.’ The Congress, inter alia, requests:

  • the Director General to direct all Secretariat groups to review their programmes to ensure that urban dimensions of conservation are appropriately reflected in their priorities; and
  • with the Commissions encourage the promotion of cooperation among conservation agencies and institutions in urban areas.

Recognizing and respecting the territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities overlapped by protected areas (RES024): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests the Director General, Council, Commissions and Members, together with the Indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas  (ICCA) Consortium and relevant partners, to:

  • develop, disseminate, and urge implementation of best practice guidance on identification, recognition, and respect for ICCAs in protected area overlap situations;
  • require appropriate recognition and respect for overlapped ICCAs before including any protected area in IUCN’s Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas or before advising the granting of World Heritage status; and
  • report annually on the above actions to the IUCN Council, biennially to the CBD, and in IUCN’s annual report to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

World Parks Congress 2014: The Promise of Sydney (RES025): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • calls on the Director General to report annually on implementation of commitments arising from the Promise of Sydney and to assess how they have influenced conservation outcomes and mainstreamed nature-based solutions within and across sectors after 5 and 10 years; and
  • urges IUCN Members to: prioritize and incorporate the agenda of the Promise of Sydney in policy development and influencing opportunities, research and knowledge generation, and programmes; and inform the Director General of existing and new commitments made to implement the Promise of Sydney.

Achieving representative systems of protected areas in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (RES026):In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia: requests the Director General and Commissions, in implementing the IUCN Programme 2017-2020 to:

  • take steps to support the work of the Antarctic Treaty System and Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in the fulfillment of the commitment that Antarctica is a nature reserve devoted to peace and science, and that IUCN supports in the Southern Ocean as proposed by the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition;
  • strengthen IUCN’s participation in Antarctic Treaty and CCAMLR meetings, as well as related Conventions and Protocols, including the 1998 Madrid Protocol (Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty).

Recognizing cultural and spiritual significance of nature in protected and conserved areas (RES027):In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General, the WCPA and the CEESP to, inter alia: develop and disseminate best practice guidelines and training modules on the recognition and integration of the cultural and spiritual significance of nature. The Congress also calls on actors to promote and implement guidance and training for protected and conserved area managers, and promote and adopt appropriate policies.

Observing protected area norms in the Wild Heart of Europe (RES028): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests the IUCN Director General, the WCPA, and Members in the region to confer with those responsible for Šumava and Bayerischer Wald National Parks as Transboundary Parks, ensuring that this Resolution is understood and providing unambiguous guidance as to the uniform application of the IUCN Protected Area Category guidelines.

Transboundary cooperation and protected areas (RES029): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, asks the WCEL to establish a legal resource centre on transboundary conservation areas and the Director General to work in close cooperation with all commissions, members and partners to:

  • support transboundary conservation initiatives through thematic and regional programmes, emphasizing capacity development;
  • cooperation in the management of transboundary conservation areas;
  • enable the standardized assessment of the effectiveness of these areas; and
  • facilitate the establishment of a Global Platform for Transboundary Conservation.

Supporting privately protected areas (RES030): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • urges the Director General, commissions and members to promote and support the voluntary long-term conservation on private and communal land; and
  • requests UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) to support governments and other data providers in the inclusion of information about privately protected areas within the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA).

Harmonizing the integrated management of overlapping Ramsar Sites, World Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Global Geoparks (RES031): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests that support is sought to facilitate the implementation of harmonized management systems for Multi-Internationally Designated Areas.

Establishing an IUCN and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Task Force on Protected Area Friendly System (RES032): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests the WCPA to consider establishing a Task Force on ‘Protected Area Friendly System.’

Protected areas as natural solutions to climate change (RES033): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, urges State Members to:

  • consider making public statements on the importance of protected areas as tools for the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, in line with the REDPARQUES declaration; and
  • incorporate appropriate actions in their National Action Plans submitted for the Programme of Work on Protected Areas, under the CBD.

Support for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in Africa (RES034): In the resolution, the Congress, requests the Director General to, inter alia:

  • contribute to the success of AFR100 as part of the Bonn Challenge;
  • provide technical assistance to members in developing countries in applying the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology and in developing environmental and social standards for the implementation of Forest Landscape Restoration and the achievement of the AFR100 target of fighting climate change; and
  • establish cooperation with internationally recognized forest certification schemes.

Identifying Key Biodiversity Areas for safeguarding biodiversity (RES035): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests the Director General and Commissions to work with Key Biodiversity Areas Partners to fundraise for identifying, promoting and protecting Key Biodiversity Areas.

Protection of biodiversity refuge areas in the Atlantic biogeographical region (RES036): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, calls on the Director General to:

  • collaborate with members and commissions to achieve greater awareness of biodiversity conservation and the protection of biodiversity refuges;
  • provide technical and programmatic support; and
  • urge the European member states, and Spain in particular, to promote effective measures to protect these areas.

Securing the future for global peatlands (RES037):In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia:

  • recommends that the CEM develops or endorses an existing scientific definition of peatland to be applied by the FAO in its Soils Charter, by the Ramsar Convention in its classification of wetland type, and by IUCN; and
  • requests the WCEL to prepare draft legislation for nations to use as a guideline recommending how to preserve and restore peatlands and how to include them alongside forests in all relevant intergovernmental agreements relating to climate change, geodiversity and biodiversity.

Protection, restoration and sustainable use of urban water bodies in India (RES038): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, calls on IUCN Members in India:

  • to adopt collaborative approaches at national, state and district level to address the threats faced by urban water bodies;
  • to collaborate for the protection and restoration of urban water bodies through scientific research, water quality monitoring and other relevant practices; and
  • to raise awareness of the importance of protection, restoration, and conservation of urban water bodies.

Protection of primary forests, including intact forest landscapes (RES039): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests that the Director General: ensures that the conservation of these forests is an integral component of the implementation of the IUCN Programme 2017-2020; and continues the work of the IUCN Primary Forest Task Team.

Assessing the global applicability of the concept of ancient forests as understood in European forest policy and management (RES040): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, requests the Director General to:

  • recognize the regional applicability of the concept of ancient forests in Europe;
  • identify how ancient forests can be incorporated into programmatic activities in Europe; and
  • assess the global applicability of the concept of ancient forests as understood in Europe.

Advancing conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (RES041): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, asks states to continue to contribute to the work of the Preparatory Committee established pursuant to the UN General Assembly Resolution 69/292 to make recommendations to the General Assembly on the elements of the draft text of an international legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

International biofouling (RES042): In the resolution, the Congress calls on the Director General to: promote and support cooperation among Members, governments, and other stakeholders for the exchange of information, knowledge, technology, and best practices to prevent non-indigenous species introduction through biofouling; and urge governments to create and implement legal frameworks to share responsibility for the prevention of non-indigenous species introduction through biofouling.

Promoting regional approaches to tackle the global problem of marine debris (litter) (RES043): In the resolution, the Congress calls on the Director General to: foster intersectoral cooperation to prevent, reduce and manage debris, including from land-based sources, at local and regional levels; and promote and support the exchange of information, technology, capacity building and best practice among Members, Commissions, stakeholders and governments on socio-economically viable innovations in recovery and treatment of plastic waste.

Increasing marine protected area coverage for effective marine biodiversity conservation (RES044): In the resolution, the Congress encourages IUCN State and Government Agency Members to designate and implement at least 30% of each marine habitat in a network of highly protected MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures, with the ultimate aim of creating a fully sustainable ocean at least 30% of which has no extractive activities, subject to the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

Ecological connectivity on the north coast of the Alboran Sea (RES045): In the resolution, the Congress urges: IUCN State Members that border on Alboran Basin, as well as their regional governments, to promote effective measures to improve the status of the coastal ecosystems in the Alboran Sea; and the EU and its Member States to provide funds for the creation of green infrastructure, which allows for the restoration of ecological connectivity between coastal ecosystems and those inland, in addition to the development of actions to rehabilitate and restore coastal ecosystems.

Declaration of Astola Island as a MPA (RES046): In the resolution, the Congress calls on the Director General, Commissions and Members to support and endorse the establishing of Astola Island as an MPA in Pakistan. It also requests the Director General, with the assistance of Council, Commissions and Members, to assist both technically and intellectually with the methodology for its establishment.

Protecting coastal and marine environments from mining waste (RES047): In the resolution, the Congress calls on all states to ban marine disposal of mine tailings for new mines as soon as possible, and to plan a stop to ongoing marine disposal sites. It also asks UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (UNEP-GPA) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to recommend regulation of submarine tailings disposal from land-based activities in the same manner as in the open sea, applying the general principles of the IMO, and the London Convention and Protocol.

Protecting the world’s greatest salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska from large-scale mining (RES048): In the resolution, the Congress urges the US government to consider the historic importance of preserving the Bristol Bay watershed from an economic, environmental and cultural heritage perspective, and to take the necessary measures to prevent the granting of permits for large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed.       

Concerns about whaling under special permits (RES049): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General to convey this “recommendation” to the UN Secretary-General, the UNEP Executive Director and the Secretary of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and to help ensure that the IUCN Secretariat and Commissions assist in its implementation. It also calls upon Japan to revoke any existing special permit under Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) for whale research in the Southern Ocean and in the western North Pacific and to remove lethal sampling components from its whale research programmes.

IUCN response to the Paris Climate Change Agreement (RES050): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General to, inter alia: update and implement IUCN’s 2008 Carbon Offset Policy to reflect mitigation efforts consistent with the Paris Agreement and assess the climate change risks of IUCN’s built and financial assets; and support IUCN Members, Commissions and programmes that are assisting Parties to the Paris Agreement with the implementation of their NDCs.

Pacific region climate resiliency action plan (RES051): In the resolution, the Congress invites members from the Pacific Islands to develop a region climate resiliency action plan as a contribution towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement to address climate change in the Pacific region. It also encourages them to utilize SDG 14 (on oceans), SDG 13 (on climate change), their targets and other climate-related targets under the SDGs as a basis on which to build a Pacific region climate resiliency action plan.

Take greater account of the ocean in the climate regime (RES052): In the resolution, the Congress encourages IUCN Member States, agencies, and NGOs to, inter alia: support the development of adaptation and mitigation projects linked to sound science and management for the adaptation of marine and coastal ecosystems, giving priority to the most vulnerable and valued regions and ecosystems as determined by states; and consider using climate related funding for projects for the protection and sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems.

Natural Capital (RES053): In the resolution, the Congress calls on the Director General to, inter alia, establish an inter-disciplinary and multi-sectoral working group based on the ‘One Programme’ Charter and involving diverse representatives from the Secretariat, Commissions and Members to develop a discussion paper and draft IUCN policy on natural capital for circulation, consideration and adoption by the Union before the 2020 World Conservation Congress.

IUCN Policy on Biodiversity Offsets (RES054): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General and Commissions to, inter alia: issue such guidance as might be necessary for the implementation of this policy; and evaluate and review the implementation of the Policy in the next quadrennial period and report to the Members on its effectiveness.

Improving standards in ecotourism (RES055): In the resolution, the Congress calls on IUCN members and encourages other governments and stakeholders to, inter alia: conduct transparent impact assessments and periodical monitoring of ecotourism and broadly share data for research and evolution of ecotourism best practices; and work with existing national, regional and international certification schemes, standards, and guidelines focused on ecotourism to encourage the adoption of standards and norms that ensure terms that assert or may imply positive conservation outcomes only be used and promoted when consistent with the updated IUCN definition and guidelines.

Mitigating the impacts of oil palm expansion and operations on biodiversity (RES056): In the resolution, the Congress calls on the Director General and the Commissions to establish an Oil Palm and Biodiversity Task Force to, inter alia: support governments and other actors in regions where oil palm is expanding, to identify important intact forest areas and other critical ecosystems, such as peatlands, where oil palm development should be avoided and areas where oil palm using agreed best practices could be grown; and identify the conditions for sustainable and responsible palm oil production to help inform governments and others of best practices.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: integration of conservation into development (RES057): In the resolution, the Congress stresses the importance of incorporating the 2030 Agenda into the IUCN Programme 2017-2020 and strongly encourages Commissions, Members and National and Regional Committees to maintain a strong focus on contributing to, and monitoring the progress towards, the achievement of the SDGs. It also encourages all Members, both state and non-state, to incorporate the SDGs framework into their policies, activities and work plans, as appropriate.

Avoiding extinction in limestone karst areas (RES058): In the resolution, the Congress calls on IUCN State Members to: work in their own jurisdictions on measures to promote knowledge of the geodiversity and biodiversity of limestone karst areas and their natural processes; develop an inventory of their natural and cultural heritage; and assess the potential impacts resulting from their use, in order to ensure that these areas are managed in a sustainable manner.

Strengthening cross-sector partnerships to recognize the contributions of nature to health, well-being and quality of life (RES059):In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General to work in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop global and regional programmes that advance the value of nature, including parks and protected areas, for health and well-being benefits. It also urges the Director General to establish suitable mechanisms to bring together Members, Commissions and the Secretariat to develop policies, programmes and cross-sectoral partnerships on the connection between healthy ecosystems and natural heritage and community health and well-being, including economic, social and cultural well-being.

Community Based Natural Resource Management in the State of Hawaiʻi (RES060): In the resolution, the Congress requests IUCN, its Commissions and Members, to recognize and promote Community Based Natural Resource Management principles that support the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources by the local community, through adopting and applying local and traditional knowledge, and through customary institutions and regulations.

Strengthening corporate biodiversity measurement, valuation and reporting (RES061): In the resolution, the Congress encourages businesses, irrespective of their size or sector of activity, to strengthen measurement, valuation and reporting on impacts on biodiversity. It also calls on the Director General to facilitate Members to collaborate with businesses to develop a common framework and set of principles on how to measure, value and report on biodiversity in order to improve, standardize and promote corporate biodiversity reporting.

Best practice for industrial-scale development projects (RES062): In the resolution, the Congress urges the Director General and Commissions to: continue to intervene on issues of concern regarding development projects; provide science-based solutions, technical expertise and advice; and promote transparency and public participation in analysis and decision-making in development projects. It also calls on members and governments to promote best practice for all industrial-scale development projects to limit environmental and social impacts.

Prevention, management and resolution of social conflict as a key requirement for conservation and management of ecosystems (RES063): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General, to, among others: set up a process to explore options for supporting social conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution at all levels and to advise IUCN Programmes and Management accordingly, and support the establishment of inclusive multi-stakeholder platforms, including experts in conflict management and mitigation, bringing together scientific and local knowledge, aimed at addressing social conflicts around conservation and resource use and activities that damage environments and ecosystems.

Defining Nature-based Solutions: (RES064): In the resolution, the Congress adopts the Definitional Framework on Nature-Based Solutions, requests the Director General to ensure that nature-based solutions are supported within the IUCN Programme 2017-2020, and calls on the Director General and Commissions to finalize the nature-based solutions’ principles, parameters and guidelines for applying reporting as appropriate to Council on progress.

Crimes against the environment: (RES065): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General, inter alia, to encourage INTERPOL, in collaboration with partners in the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and other relevant actors, to examine trends in environmental crime and criminalization, to inform legal and policy responses, and periodization of actions.

Global Judicial Institute for the Environment (RES066): In the resolution, the Congress congratulates WCEL, and other partners for the initiative taken to establish the Global Judicial Institute for the Environment (GJIE) and requests the Director General and WCEL to continue their outstanding commitment to the GJIE and to lead all components of IUCN in contributing toward meeting its objectives.

Enabling the Whakatane Mechanism to contribute to conservation through securing communities’ rights (RES067): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General, to engage with the GEF in identifying funding opportunities for projects that include approaches contained in the Whakatane Mechanism, and explore other potential sources of funding; and to include progress of the Whakatane Mechanism in IUCN’s regular reporting to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Investments of development finance institutions: socio-environmental impacts and respect for rights (RES068): In the resolution, the Congress calls on the Director General to, inter alia: provide technical support and capacity building to Members monitoring large-scale, development finance institutions-financed projects and their socio-environmental impacts; and make available to IUCN Members material prepared by IUCN on socio-environmental safeguards as part of the Environmental and Social Management System, promoting its use and application extensively.

Reinforcing the principle of non-regression in environmental law and policy (RES069): In the resolution, the Congress, among others: asks the WCEL to conduct further research into the principle of non-regression in environmental policy and law at local, national, regional and international levels and communicate the results to all members; and invites WCEL to encourage the establishment of training in the application of the principle of non-regression in environmental policy and law aimed at judges, lawyers, legislators, public authorities and non-governmental organizations.

Affirmation of the role of indigenous cultures in global conservation efforts (RES070): In the resolution, the Congress invites the Director General and Council to acknowledge the value of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ approaches and knowledge systems in helping to address the challenges facing global ecosystems; requests the Director General and the CEESP to develop voluntary guidelines regarding the appropriate participation of indigenous peoples in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of conservation projects, programmes and policies; and invites the Council and Members to acknowledge and respect indigenous values that build appreciation and responsibility for care of natural resources through learning the regional history of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ relationships with lands and waters of conservation value.

Improving the means to fight environmental crime (RES071): In the resolution, the Congress asks the Director General to urge State Members to use all means necessary to reduce the impunity with which crimes against wild fauna and flora and geological heritage are committed, and especially to, inter alia: give legal recognition to the role environmental NGOs and local communities can play in court in cases of environmental crime; and promote actively the legal role of environmental NGOs and that of local communities in cases of environmental crime, especially crimes involving harm to flora, fauna and geological heritage.

Environmental courts and tribunals (RES072): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General to, among others, work in coordination with the WCEL to compile a framework of best practices for creating environmental courts and tribunals that can be useful in some legal cultures and political situations, and transmit that framework to State Members for their consideration.

Supporting implementation of the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and the African Agenda 2063 (RES086): In the resolution, the Congress: encourages Parties to the Convention to enable the Convention by: encouraging further signatories to enable ratification of the Convention; establishing a Secretariat; providing resources; and enabling a diplomatic, transboundary work environment for Secretariat staff. It also requests the Director General to, inter alia: develop a comprehensive partnership agreement and working relationship with the African Union Commission to implement this resolution, and provide technical support to implement the African Agenda 2063 related to biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing of benefits, building of climate resilient economies and relevant sections of the SDGs.

Request for an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the principle of sustainable development in view of the needs of future generations (RES074): In the resolution, the Congress: calls upon the UN General Assembly to request an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal status and content of the principle of sustainable development; requests the Director General of IUCN to communicate this call to the UNGA, through the IUCN Permanent Observer Mission to the UN; and further requests the WCEL to provide its legal expertise to inform IUCN Members about the legal status and content of the principle of sustainable development in view of the needs of future generations, and on the role of the International Court of Justice in explicating this principle.

System of categories for indigenous collective management areas in Central America (RES075): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, invites the Director General to analyze the creation of an experts working group in order to build a proposed system of categories of indigenous collective management areas that responds to the recognition, respect and practice of collective rights of indigenous peoples, particularly with regard to the use, management and conservation of natural resources.

Humanity’s right to a healthy environment (RES076):In the resolution, the Congress, among others, proclaims that humanity and all living beings have a right to the conservation, protection and restoration of the health and integrity of ecosystems; and affirms that each human generation is the guarantor of the Earth’s resources for future generations, and that it has the duty to ensure that this legacy is preserved and used carefully in order to prevent serious or irreversible inter-generational impacts.

A path forward to address concerns over the use of lead ammunition in hunting (RES077): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General to:

  • promote and support the implementation of CMS Resolution 11.15 in countries that are Party to the Convention; and
  • promote, where feasible, the phasing out of lead shot used for hunting over wetlands and lead ammunition used for hunting in areas where scavengers are at particular risk from the use of lead ammunition, and the replacement of it with suitable alternatives.

Conservation of moveable geological heritage (RES078): In the resolution, the Congress calls in particular on the WCEL and the WCPA to: promote and support national and international initiatives oriented towards the conservation and sustainable use of moveable geoheritage, including its proper management in protected areas; prepare guidelines on the protection, conservation and management of moveable geoheritage, and to promote these IUCN guidelines internationally; and promote and support, in collaboration with international stakeholders, the discussion on the conservation and management of moveable geoheritage, in compliance with national and international regulations of its commerce.

Environmental education and how to naturalize the spaces in educational centres for healthy development and a better childhood connection with nature (RES079): In the resolution, the Congress, among others, asks the Director General and the CEC to urge the State Members to use all means necessary to make children’s day-to-day environment, especially schools, as natural as possible in order to promote connection with nature, particularly in urban areas, so that children grow up in contact with nature, aware of the benefits that nature and its conservation provide them with as part of their personal development.

Connecting people with nature globally (RES080): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General to work in close cooperation with all Commissions, Members and partners to implement the ‘Promise of Sydney’ recommendations for Inspiring a New Generation, as well as relevant World Conservation Congress resolutions by launching and supporting #NatureForAll campaign within IUCN’s Programme 2017-2020.

 Development of IUCN policy on biodiversity conservation and synthetic biology (RES081): In the resolution, the Congress calls upon the Director General, among others, to undertake an assessment, to be completed by 2020, drawing on relevant resources and expertise within and outside IUCN, to examine the organisms, components and products resulting from synthetic biology techniques and the impacts of their production and use, which may be beneficial or detrimental to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and associated social, economic, cultural and ethical considerations. It also calls on the Director General to recommend how IUCN, including its Commissions and Members, could approach the topic of synthetic biology and engage in ongoing discussions and deliberations with the synthetic biology community.

Awareness of connectivity conservation definition and guidelines (RES082): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General, inter alia, to ensure awareness raising across IUCN’s One Programme about the Advanced Draft of the IUCN ‘Areas of Connectivity Conservation Guidelines: Definition, Area of Connectivity Conservation Types, Criteria for Establishment, and Governance Types.’ It also encourages comments on the document.

Safeguarding indigenous lands, territories and resources from unsustainable developments (RES097): In the resolution, the Congress requests the Director General to, among others, consider assembling a working group coordinated by the CEESP to: consult with research teams, indigenous peoples’ organizations, civil society organizations, governments and development industries to assess the extent of and approaches to respecting indigenous peoples’ rights to decision making around their lands, territories and resources; and as provide recommendations on expanding efforts for strengthening tenure rights, reducing environmental degradation and enhancing conservation.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy to promote the conservation of nature (RES084): In the resolution, the Congress: requests the Director General to associate IUCN with the work of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); and invites the Director General, among others, to collaborate with all interested Members including the Pace Energy and Climate Center to secure new external funding enabling IUCN Commissions and the Secretariat to assist governments to achieve their clean energy objectives.

Two dams on the Santa Cruz River in Argentina: Their impact on an irreplaceable ecosystem and on the hooded grebe (Podiceps gallardoi) population, a Critically Endangered species endemic to Argentina (RES085): In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia, urges Argentina to stop all activities related to the Santa Cruz River dams project until the due Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment process has been completed in line with current legislation, with the full and effective participation of all stakeholders and competent authorities within the framework of an informed and strategic debate on the country’s energy decisions, ensuring that the Santa Cruz River basin ecosystem and the hooded grebe populations in Argentina are not affected.

South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary (RES086): In the resolution, the Congress: supports the establishment of a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary under the auspices of the IWC as proposed by Argentina, Brazil, Gabon, South Africa and Uruguay; calls upon all members of the IWC to support the proposal to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary at the 66th meeting of the IWC in Slovenia in October 2016; and requests the IUCN Director General to convey this recommendation to the Secretary of the IWC and, in particular, requests that the IUCN representative at the 66th meeting of the IWC in Slovenia in October 2016 to make known IUCN’s support for this proposal.

Urging the Congress of the Republic of Peru to shelve permanently the bill that proposes the construction of a road through the Alto Purús National Park, the Purús Communal Reserve and the Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve for Indigenous Peoples (RES087): In the resolution, the Congress: urges the Congress of the Republic of Peru to consider shelving Bill 75-2016/CR permanently; calls on the Director General to send a memo to the President of the Congress of the Republic of Peru urgently, informing her of the appeal that appears in paragraph 1, on the urgent need to shelve the Bill permanently; and asks the WCPA to send a memo to the President of the Congress of the Republic of Peru with all the information on the values and needs for protection of the Alto Purús National Park.

Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) conservation and the illegal trade in its fiber (RES088): In the resolution, the Congress calls on the Director General to, among others, ensure that the Parties to CITES that have vicuña fiber and products derived from the fiber to identify, mark and register them appropriately, for the purpose of traceability, adopting and applying the relevant legislation with extensive controls, in order to prevent the illegal trade in these items.

Support for increased conservation effort for Hawaiʻi’s threatened birds (RES089):In the resolution, the Congress, inter alia: requests the Director General to support SSC in engaging with existing initiatives to help advance Hawaiian bird conservation, and form a new working group of stakeholders to elevate the issue, support conservation implementation, and report on progress, including to the World Conservation Congress 2020; and calls on the governments of the US and the State of Hawai’i to urgently and fully implement the Hawaiian Bird Conservation Action Plan, the Hawaiian Forest Bird Recovery Plan, and other relevant Hawaiian bird recovery plans, as well as to seek additional resources from partners to avoid any additional bird extinctions and declines in the Hawaiian Islands.

Support for peace and nature in Colombia (RES090): In the resolution, the Congress, among others, recommends that Colombia pay particular attention so that during the process of implementing the agreements, care is taken to guarantee sustainable management, the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, and the strengthening of local capacities, ensuring the equity and sustainability of the process.

Approved policy-related recommendations: The following policy-related recommendations were voted on and approved by the Congress:

Preventing electrocution and collision impacts of power infrastructure on birds (REC91): In the recommendation, the Congress:

  • calls upon governments and power companies to work together to ensure that all new and existing power infrastructure complies with measures to prevent bird electrocution and collision;
  • urges adequate environmental assessments for any planned electricity infrastructure to avoid sensitive areas and to identify and mitigate impacts on birds; and
  • urges relevant stakeholders to liaise with each other, and with the Secretariat and the Energy Task Force of the CMS to ensure that existing and planned infrastructure harmful to birds is identified and is subject to urgent remediation.

Promotion of Anguillid eels as flagship species for aquatic conservation (REC92): In the resolution, the Congress inter alia: urges range states and signatories of CBD, CITES, CMS and UN Watercourses Convention to recognize and promote anguillids as flagship species; and pledges to foster a climate that will strengthen the ongoing efforts of the SSC and its collaborators and facilitate achieving the SSC 2017­2020 objectives for the benefit of anguillids.

Management and regulation of selective intensive breeding of large wild mammals for commercial purposes (REC093): In the recommendation, the Congress invites governments with this practice to inter alia:

  • adopt a risk­averse strategy in permitting establishment or expansion of this practice;
  • prohibit intentional hybridization of large wild mammals and release of selectively bred animals into the wild until the risks are understood and can be managed;
  • evaluate the need to develop domestic legal frameworks to regulate, monitor and mitigate associated impacts; and
  • develop and implement certification systems for wildlife operations to ensure transparency.

Improving the conservation and management of the silky shark, the thresher sharks and mobula rays (REC094): In the recommendation, the Congress requests, inter alia, all CITES Parties to support the inclusion of the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), bigeye thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus), common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus), pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus), and nine species of mobula rays (Mobula spp.) on Appendix II of CITES, taking into account their status in the IUCN Red List.

Protected areas and other areas important for biodiversity in relation to environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development: (REC095):In the recommendation, the Congress urges companies, public sector bodies, financial institutions, relevant certification bodies and relevant industry groups to not conduct, invest in or fund environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure. The Congress also calls on, inter alia:

  • governments to prohibit environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development in all IUCN categories of protected areas; and
  • governments and other stakeholders to give high priority to avoiding environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development that impact sacred natural sites and territories and areas conserved ICCAs.

Establishment, recognition and regulation of the career of park ranger (REC096): In the recommendation, the Congress calls on governments and organizations, which do not have a professionalized career advancement system for front-line protected area staff to, inter alia:

  • initiate, define and formalize within a regulatory framework, the career profiles of protected area staff;
  • launch public calls or recruit field staff for protected areas, following a ratio of 1 ranger per 5 km2 for public protected areas; and
  • facilitate or promote the formation of a working group (or a technical assistance group) to help develop the career of park rangers in countries with limited experience in this area.

Safeguarding space for nature and securing our future: developing a post-2020 strategy (REC097):In the recommendation, the Congress calls on the Director General to promote the development of an ambitious post-2020 strategy. It also calls on parties to the CBD and other stakeholders to initiate a process towards the development of this strategy, including concrete targets and thresholds, such as:

  • a review and expert meetings to define science-based targets for effective conservation of areas of greatest importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  • consultation with civil society, governments, financial institutions and industry; and
  • development of a mechanism for joint implementation of the strategy to support the SDGs and conventions such as the UNFCCC, World Heritage Convention and other multilateral environmental agreements.

Integrating autochthonous forest genetic diversity into protected area conservation objectives (REC098): In the recommendation, the Congress, asks the States and organizations involved in nature conservation to, inter alia:

  • promote the taking into account of autochthonous forest genetic diversity conservation at all levels of action; and
  • encourage and facilitate the creation, expansion, monitoring and documentation of genetic resources both ex situ and close to the sites.

Cooperation between the protected areas of the Guiana Shield and northeastern Amazonia (REC099): In the recommendation, the Congress, asks, inter alia:

  • managers of the protected areas on the Guiana Shield and other forested land, to set up a working group focusing on the exchange of ideas in order to build their capacities;
  • stakeholders to provide technical and financial support for the working group; and
  • the Brazilian, French and Surinamese States to cooperate more extensively with Guyana, Venezuela and Colombia.

Cooperation for the conservation and protection of coral reefs worldwide (REC100): In the recommendation, the Congress, inter alia, asks States and regional and international organizations responsible for environmental and economic sustainability issues to strengthen regional cooperation on the conservation of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, in order to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 10.

Integration of nature-based solutions into strategies to combat climate change (REC101): In the recommendation, the Congress invites States to, inter alia, integrate nature-based solutions into: their national climate change mitigation and adaptation policies and strategies; their NDCs and other documents where appropriate; and natural DRR projects and policies.

Financing for biodiversity projects in the European Union’s outermost regions and overseas countries and territories (REC102): In the recommendation, the Congress asks the European Commission, the EU Member States and the Group arising from the Guadeloupe Conference responsible for setting up the voluntary partnership to, inter alia: set up this permanent partnership for biodiversity and climate change in Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories as soon as possible, by providing it with sufficient funding and by capitalizing on the experience gained in the BEST Preparatory Action and the BEST 2.0 Programme; and implement a system for the monitoring and assessment of progress made by the permanent partnership for biodiversity and climate change in Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories.

Aloha+ Challenge Model for Sustainable Development (REC103): In the recommendation, the Congress notes that the Aloha+ Challenge is a model that can be adapted to incorporate local values, cultures and contexts for the implementation of the SDGs. It also calls on members to support collaborative initiatives to adapt the Aloha+ Challenge framework for locally appropriate implementation of the 2030 Agenda, fostering a global culture of sustainability.

Strengthening business engagement in biodiversity preservation (REC104): In the recommendation, the Congress calls on businesses to contribute actively to the implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and to meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and to integrate biodiversity into their strategies and activities by aiming at achieving the transformation of their economic model.

Increase resources for biodiversity conservation research (REC105): In the recommendation, the Congress encourages national governments, in accordance with national and international law, to: establish or strengthen public policies and incentives that enable and stimulate scientific research on biodiversity and natural resource conservation, highlighting their benefits to society; and consider conclusions and recommendations generated from scientific research as inputs for management and conservation strategies related to the protection of natural areas, including the establishment of new protected areas, management plans, and development of action plans for threatened species, as well as periodic updating of the official list of threatened species.

Development of offshore renewable energy and biodiversity conservation (REC106): In the recommendation, the Congress asks States and competent authorities to, inter alia: undertake to minimize the impact of these technologies on marine and coastal ecosystems and landscapes; and integrate biodiversity conservation into all energy plans and programmes.

PRESENTATION OF THE HAWAI‘I COMMITMENTS: On Saturday, John Robinson, Vice-President, IUCN, said the Hawaiʻi Commitments capture the spirit of the formal and informal deliberations of the Congress from the high-level dialogues during the Forum and issues of strategic importance arising from the Members’ Assembly. He explained that the Drafting Committee addressed 114 comments received on the two drafts and incorporated where appropriate.

The term ‘commitments’ he explained, is used to convey collective commitments to conservation action with the sense of urgency demanded by the Congress theme, ‘Planet at the Crossroads.’ Members listened to reading of the Commitments in English, Spanish, Hawaiian and French.


Andersen, presided over the closing ceremony on Saturday afternoon. President Zhang said, “this Congress held in the Olympic year has broken its own record,” by being the largest environmental meeting held in the US with over 10,000 participants from 194 countries. He added that IUCN, by navigating past the crossroads, has “taken the right path and left the harbor starting a decisive new journey with great hope and optimism.” He thanked Members for consistent support in the past four years and the four coming years, adding “together as a union we can secure the life of the planet”.

Andersen and President Zhang presented the outgoing IUCN Council with certificates of appreciation for their service in 2012-2016.

Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige recalled the Sustainable Hawaiʻi Initiative and stressed that, “by fulfilling our commitments, Hawaiʻi does its part in achieving a more sustainable island earth.”

Calling on others to join Bhutan in pursuing “development with values,” Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan, recognized the “important agreements reached in 2015 on sustainable development and climate change” as “important steps from negotiation to implementation.”

Emphasizing the power emerging from recognizing traditional knowledge and science as partners, Chipper Wichman, World Conservation Congress Vice-Chair of the Hawaiʻi Host Committee, celebrated the Congress’ success as the largest environmental and green conference in the US.

Following the performance by Na Pualei O Likolehua, Ka Pa Hula O Ka Lei Lehua and Hālau o Kekuhi, President Zhang expressed “deep appreciation to the host Hawaiʻi,” and closed the Congress at 4:19 p.m.


The theme of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 was ‘Planet at the Crossroads’ to reflect the serious choices and actions the world needs to make to reverse environmental declines and secure a healthy, livable planet. The meeting confirmed a closing window of opportunity to move to sustainability and harness nature-based solutions for conservation, which requires meeting the major global challenges of species loss, ecosystem decline and climate change with their profound impacts on human life and wellbeing. Building on the Paris Agreement, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Promise of Sydney, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Earth Charter, and The Honolulu Challenge on Invasive Alien Species, the World Conservation Congress provided an opportunity where different voices could strive to find common ground in a spirit of partnership and collaboration.

Within the Hawaiʻi context, the Commitments highlight three critical issues for conservation: the nexus between biological and cultural diversity, and how their conservation and sustainability requires a combination of traditional wisdom and modern knowledge; the significance of the world’s ocean for biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods; and the threats to biodiversity from habitat loss, climate change, invasive alien species, unsustainable exploitation and pollution.

The Commitments highlight two opportunities to achieve the necessary transformation. First, cultivating a culture of conservation, while respecting human rights and gender equity through linking spirituality, religion, culture and conservation and through engaging and empowering youth. The second area of opportunity of a planet at the crossroads, involves the challenges of: sustaining the global food supply and conserving nature; preserving the health of the world’s oceans; ending wildlife trafficking; climate change; and engaging with the private sector.

As solutions to these challenges, the Commitments propose, among others:

  • engaging with the world’s rich faith and spiritual communities to gain deeper understanding of our connection with nature;
  • enabling youth’s access to nature, and recognizing that youth has as much to teach as they have to learn;
  • strengthening governance systems that manage the food production system, and maintaining crop genetic diversity and local systems of production;
  • preserving and expanding marine protected areas, while linking diverse methods and tools to solve the multiple challenges facing oceans, including reducing plastic waste and addressing ocean acidification and warming;
  • addressing the needs of local people, while improving protection of wildlife populations through laws and improved enforcement, behavioral change to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products, and enhancing cooperation at all levels; and
  • strengthening nature-based solutions to climate change, and providing solutions that reduce emissions;
  • engaging with governments, civil societies, and the private sector through partnership approaches.

Editor’s note: This section provided a summary of the Hawaiʻi Commitments. The full text can be accessed here.


2016 International Conference on Sustainable Development: The fourth annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD), on the theme ‘Moving Forward: The SDGs in Practice,’ will bring together members of the research, policy, practice and business communities to share practical solutions for achieving the SDGs at local and national levels. The Conference will focus on four thematic areas: Innovation in Technology and Governance; Data (data systems, gaps, how to collect); The Science-Policy-Implementation Interface; and Education and Training. The main topics for discussion will be: Low Carbon Urban Development; Socially Inclusive Economic Growth; Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition; and Disaster Resiliency and Adaptation. Registration to participate is open until 1 September 2016.  dates: 21-22 September 2016  venue: Lerner Hall, Columbia University  location: New York City, US  e-mail: [email protected] www:

First Annual Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue: The SIDS Partnership Framework, established by the UNGA following the 2014 Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa, mandated the UN Secretariat, in consultation with the Partnership Framework Steering Committee, to organize on an annual basis, an action-oriented, results-focused Global Multi-stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue. This first Dialogue will provide an opportunity to: review progress made by existing partnerships; share good practices, lessons learned and challenges and solutions from SIDS partnerships; and launch new partnerships for SIDS.  date: 22 September 2016  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Ola Göransson, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)  phone: +1 212-963-7838  e-mail: [email protected] www:

European Ecosystem Services Conference: The European Ecosystem Services Conference will meet under the theme, ‘Helping nature to help us,’ and will focus on the role that healthy ecosystems play in supporting human well-being and the protection of nature. The meeting agenda includes: keynote presentations from policy, practice and science; a networking day where businesses, practitioners, policymakers and researchers will showcase their work; interactive sessions to demonstrate working examples of ecosystem services and natural capital; field excursions to see ecosystem services in action; and scientific sessions. The conference is being organized by the EU-funded research projects ECOPLAN and the Ecosystem Services Partnership, among others, and hosted by the University of Antwerp  dates: 19-23 September 2016  venue: University of Antwerp  location: Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium  contact: Martine van Weelden/Iskra Konovska, Ecosystem Services Partnership  phone: +31 (0) 317 763 990  e-mail: [email protected] www:

CITES COP17: The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP17) will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24 September - 5 October 2016. This will be the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES held on the African continent since CITES came into force on 1 July 1975, but the first on the continent since 2000.  dates: 24 September - 5 October 2016  location: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa  contact: CITES Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-81-39/40  fax: +41-22-797-34-17  e-mail: [email protected] www:

18th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans: The 18th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAPs) will convene in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, in advance of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) on accelerating progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The Regional Seas Programme aims to address ocean and coastal area degradation through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment by encouraging countries who share a common body of water to participate in actions to protect their shared marine environment. There are 13 Regional Seas programmes established under the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)  dates: 30 September - 1 October 2016  location: Seoul, Seoul-T’Ukpyolsi, Republic of Korea  contact: Kanako Hasegawa, UNEP Regional Seas Programme  phone: +254-20-7624791  e-mail: [email protected] www:

World Mountain Forum 2016: The 2016 World Mountain Forum (WMF) will convene under the theme, ‘Mountains for our Future,’ and will explore opportunities for sustainable mountain development in the context of the recently adopted Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs. The forum will focus on four sub-themes: mountains and climate change; mountain communities and livelihoods; mountain ecosystem services; and sustainable mountain agriculture. The meeting is jointly organized by the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) and the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, with financial and technical support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as well as diverse partners from around the world involved in the SDC-funded Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Change (SMD4GC) programme.  dates: 17-20 October 2016  location: Mbale, Eastern, Uganda  contact: Sam Kanyamibwa, Executive Director, ARCOS  e-mail: [email protected] www: and

43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security: The 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is expected to address a series of items arising from its Multi-year Programme of Work, including: nutrition; engagement with the SDGs; connecting smallholder farmers to markets; urbanization, rural transformation and implications for food security and nutrition; and monitoring. A thematic event is expected to share experiences and take stock of the use and application of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.  dates:17-21 October 2016  venue: FAO Headquarters  location: Rome, Lazio, Italy  contact: CFS Secretariat  e-mail: [email protected] www:

UNCCD CRIC15: The 12th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) decided to convene a special session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC15) to discuss methodological questions relating to reporting. This special session of the CRIC will address enhancing synergies in national reporting requirements under the UNCCD, and the recently adopted SDGs, especially the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target. CRIC 15 will be preceded by meetings of the regional implementation annexes from 16-17 October 2016.  dates: 18-20 October 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: UNCCD Secretariat  www:

IWC66: The International Whaling Commission (IWC) will hold its 66th biennial meeting in Portotoz, Slovenia. The Commission meets on a biennial basis to ensure implementation of its decisions and workplans on the conservation and management of whale species.  dates: 20-28 October 2016  location: Slovenia  contact: IWC Secretariat  phone: +44 (0) 1223 233 971  fax: +44 (0) 1223 232 876  www:

51st Meeting of the GEF Council: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council meets twice a year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, chemicals and waste, international waters, land degradation, and sustainable forest management; and in the GEF’s integrated approach programs on sustainable cities, taking deforestation out of commodity chains, and sustainability and resilience for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Council also provides guidance to the GEF Secretariat and Agencies. The 25-27 October GEF Council meeting will be preceded on 24 October by a consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) at the same location. On 27 October the Council will convene as the 21st meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) also at the same location  dates: 24-27 October 2016  location: Washington D.C., US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240  e-mail: [email protected] www:

UNFF AHEG2: The second meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) is expected to develop proposals on the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF) Strategic Plan for 2017-2030 and the Quadrennial Programme of Work (4POW) for the period 2017-2020  dates: 24-28 October 2016  location: Bangkok (Krung Thep), Thailand  contact: UNFF Secretariat  phone: +1-212-963-3401  fax: +1-917-367-3186  e-mail: [email protected] www: and 

70th Session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee: The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) considers any matter within the IMO’s scope that is concerned with prevention and control of pollution from ships  dates: 24-28 October 2016  venue: IMO headquarters  location: London, England, UK  contact: IMO Secretariat  phone: +44 (0)20 7735 7611  fax: +44 (0)20 7587 3210  e-mail: [email protected] www: and

2016 UNEP Finance Initiative Global Roundtable and Annual General Meeting: The 2016 UN Environment Programme FI Global Roundtable and Annual General Meeting will bring together finance stakeholders from various sectors, including government, civil society and the UN, to discuss the role of the global financial sector in addressing the sustainable development and climate change agendas. Topics to be addressed during the two-day Global Roundtable, linked to select SDGs, include: climate change mitigation and decarbonizing finance (SDG 13); resilient and sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); clean energy and water (SDGs 6 and 7); and financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SDG 8).  dates: 25-27 October 2016  location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates  contact: UNEP Finance Initiative  e-mail: [email protected] www:

International Coral Reef Initiative General Assembly: This meeting of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) will address the degradation of coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world, including discussion of the status of coral reefs; the impacts of climate change on coral reefs; coral bleaching; and initiatives in the Indian Ocean region. The event marks the first meeting since France and Madagascar replaced Japan and Thailand as co-chairs of the ICRI Secretariat, on 1 June 2016. The event is expected to bring together governments, international organizations, scientific bodies and civil society  dates: 2-4 November 2016  location: Paris, Ile-De-France, France  contact: Francis Staub (France) or Rijasoa Fanazava (Madagascar)  e-mail: [email protected] www:

UNFCCC COP22: The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC is scheduled to take place from 7-18 November 2016. During COP 22, parties will, inter alia, begin preparations for entry into force of the Paris Agreement.  dates: 7-18 November 2016  location: Marrakesh, Marrakech, Morocco  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228 815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  e-mail: [email protected] www:

Third Meeting of Parties to the CMS Gorilla Agreement: The Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) will hold the Third Meeting of Parties to the Gorilla Agreement (GA MOP3) in parallel with the GRASP Council, so that the two organizations can streamline efforts to conserve gorillas in Africa. MOP3 will convene from 20-25 November. The third meeting of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Council will convene from 21-24 November.  dates:20-25 November 2016  location: Jakarta, Indonesia  contact: CMS Gorilla Agreement Secretariat  www: and

Ecosystem Services Partership Africa Conference: The first Conference of the Regional Africa chapter of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) will convene under the theme, ‘Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.’ Discussions will focus on Africa’s contribution towards evidence on best practices for the management and restoration of ecosystem services for decision making, particularly towards the realization of sustainable development goals.  dates: 21-25 November 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Peter Minang, Coordinator, National Organizing Committee of 2016 Africa ESP Conference  e-mail: [email protected]  www: and

16th Meeting of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership: The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) coordinates efforts to sustain forest resources, enhance natural resource management and improve the standard of living in the Congo Basin. Partnership members convene biannually to coordinate priority activities, propose action on emerging issues and share information with others that are active in the Congo Basin. The CBFP, which brings together 70 partners, including African countries, donor agencies, governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, scientific institutions and the private sector, was launched at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa. It works closely with the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC)  dates: 21-26 November 2016  location: Kigali, Rwanda  contact: Dany Dogmo Pokem  e-mail: [email protected]  www: and 

1st International River Summit 2016: This conference, organized by the River Water User Association (India), will convene under the theme, ‘Global Threat to Water Security and Biodiversity’. The conference will address: strategies and solutions for water management and conservation, drought and flood mitigation, crop production in a changing climate, and improvement of urban and rural water quality and river flows. The conference will focus on five sub-themes: water demand and storage potential in river basins; climate change impacts on hydrology, water resources and agriculture; threats to world’s rivers, lakes, wetlands and freshwater systems; sustainable watershed planning for regeneration of river flows; and river biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability and restoration. Scientists, researchers, government officials, businesses, NGOs and students from a variety of relevant fields will participate in the conference. Abstracts may be submitted to the scientific committee until 1 September 2016.  dates: 24-26 November 2016  location: Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India  contact: Rajendra Kumar Isaac, Chair of Organizing Committee  e-mail: [email protected] www: and

CBD COP 13, COP-MOP 8 to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and COP-MOP 2 to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing: The thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 13), the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP 8), and the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (COP/MOP 2) will be held concurrently.  dates: 4-17 December 2016  location: Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico  contact: CBD Secretariat  e-mail: [email protected]  www:

World Ocean Summit 2017: This Economist event will be the fourth World Ocean Summit, and will discuss how to finance a sustainable ocean economy, including consideration of the types of investment frameworks and capital necessary to bring the blue economy to scale. The event will convene over 360 global leaders from government, industry, multilateral organizations, the scientific community, and civil society to address the risks and opportunities involved in pursuing a blue economy approach and showcase examples of businesses, governments, scientists and others who have successfully aligned economic activity with sustainable management of the oceans. Additional discussion topics include: the global demand for seafood over time; the economic case for addressing marine pollution; and areas for new investments in the ocean economy  dates: 22-24 February 2017  venue: Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort  location: Bali, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia  contact: Economist Events  e-mail: [email protected] www:

16th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: The 16th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) will take place in 2017, which is the ten-year anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The PFII is an advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established in 2000. It has the mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights, and focuses on specific themes when it convenes for ten days every year. The 16th session will follow up on the recommendations of previous PFII sessions with regard to indigenous youth, and the empowerment of indigenous women, and will discuss measures taken to implement UNDRIP. PFII 15, in 2016, focused on the theme, ‘Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution’  dates: 24 April - 5 May 2017  venue: UN Headquarters, 405 E 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10017  location: New York City, US  contact: PFII Secretariat  e-mail: [email protected] www:

IWRA XVI World Water Congress: The International Water Resources Association (IWRA) organizes a World Water Congress every three years. The Congress provides a meeting place to share experiences, promote discussion, and present new knowledge, research and developments in the field of water sciences around the world, bringing together a large cross-section of stakeholders. The sixteenth Congress (XVI) will take place on the theme, ‘Bridging Science and Policy.’ Specific sub-themes to be addressed at the Congress include: water, sanitation and health; water quality, wastewater and reuse; water security in a changing world; water policy and governance; water ecosystems and physical regimes; and water and sustainable growth. The crosscutting issues of bridging science and policy, building capacity, and stakeholder participation will also be addressed. A call for papers is open from 16 March to 1 September 2016, and abstracts of less than 500 words may be submitted through the Congress website. An international scientific committee will review submissions. Full papers will be due on 1 January 2017, and proposals for side events should be submitted by 1 November 2016.  dates: 29 May - 2 June 2017  venue: Cancun International Convention Centre, Punta Cancún  location: Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico  contact: IWRA Executive Office  e-mail: [email protected]www: and

High-level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14: This high-level UN Conference, co-hosted by the governments of Fiji and Sweden, will coincide with the World Oceans Day, and seeks to support the implementation of SDG 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).  dates: 5-9 June 2017  location: Fiji  contact: Permanent Missions of Fiji and Sweden phone: 212-687-4130 (Fiji); 212-583-2500 (Sweden) www:

Fourth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4): IMPAC4 is an international conference with participants from multidisciplinary backgrounds discussing recent activities and trends in marine protected area (MPA) management and science including, among other issues, management tools, conservation biology, ecology, fisheries, climate change, monitoring, enforcement, community development, communications, education and business administration.  date: 4-8 September 2017  location: La Serena, Chile  e-mail: [email protected]

International Dialogue on Our Global Commons: This international conference, hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will assess the pressures on the global environment and disrupting the systems that drive them. This invitation-only event will be preceded by a “Science Day” on October 11. The dialogue is held in partnership with the Integrated Institute for Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Environmental Systems Initiative. It will gather leading environment, innovation and system design thinkers and analysts from across all sectors of society in an unusual, informal and engaging strategic discussion  date: 12-13 October 2016  location: Washington DC, US  e-mail: [email protected] www:

For additional upcoming events, see the IISD web site.