IUCN pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

06 December 2013 | Article
6 CommentsWrite a comment

IUCN joins the world in mourning the passing of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, and celebrating his life.

President Nelson Mandela was a valued friend and supporter of IUCN. In 2003 he served as Patron of the IUCN World Parks Congress that was held in Durban, South Africa.

In his opening address on that occasion, he urged delegates to celebrate one of the most significant conservation achievements of the last century – the inclusion of more than 11.5% of the earth’s land surface in protected areas. He also noted that these precious areas face many threats and urged all involved with protected areas to reach out – beyond their boundaries and constituencies – to engage the wider community.

Mr Mandela was a champion of empowering the world’s youth in addressing global challenges including nature conservation.

“You may very well be a little curious to hear what an old man without a job, office, power or influence, and with his roots far in the past, is going to say about challenges for the future! The future is after all, in the hands of the youth,” said Mr Mandela at the Durban Congress, with his characteristic modesty and humour.

Photo by Nelson Mandela Foundation

In 2007, IUCN’s governing body, its Council, met with Mr Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. The Council, led by IUCN’s President at the time, Valli Moosa, presented Mr Mandela with the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. During that visit Mr Mandela demonstrated his keen mind and interest in the world, by commenting on current issues of the different countries represented by his visitors.

“The light of Nelson Mandela will shine for generations to come,” said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre. “I believe that throughout the world, across cultures, Mandela’s passing feels like the loss of an inspiring father figure. His strength and dignity will continue to inspire all of us who are working for a just world”.

Readers are invited to share their thoughts and memories of President Mandela by posting a comment below.


1 Dahiru Aliyu Chad Basin National Park, Maiduguri Borno State
A Symbol of Possibility
only if we have Nelson Mandelas in our countries, our lives would be better
December 13, 2013 - 21:44
2 Elena Diaz Almela IUCN-Med
Good by tata madiba
Thank you for so many things. You will always be in our hearts
December 9, 2013 - 11:53
3 Grace Mwaura
Challenge for generations
Mandela leaves a challenge for us, the young people to live his legacy.
December 9, 2013 - 11:45
4 Ghulam Qadir Shah IUCN Pakistan
Great Hero
A great hero lost by the world
December 7, 2013 - 19:38
5 George Akwah Neba IUCN
Mandela: The Genuine Action of Love
The life of this wonderful man can be summarized as THE GENUINE ACT OF LOVE.

Mandela teaches us that LOVE IS THE TRUE FREEDOM, and that there is know other liberation than LOVE.

His Long Walk to Freedom is an inner journey of self transformation, to conquer and eliminate hatred , and magnify the inclusive love of people including those who have caused severe unforgettable suffering to us and mankind.
December 7, 2013 - 12:22
6 Binay Kumar satpathy IUCN
Symbol of world peace
Nelson Mandela will always remain in the hearts and minds of all the people around the world
December 7, 2013 - 06:46
  • 1-6
  • 6
Write a comment