IUCN - Nature+: Towards a New Era of Conservation, Sustainability and Nature-based Solutions

Nature+: Towards a New Era of Conservation, Sustainability and Nature-based Solutions

15 September 2012 | News story

Jeju Declaration by the IUCN President, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Korea, the Governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and the Chairman of the Korean Organizing Committee on the occasion of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, September 2012

1. The conservation of biological diversity, our life support system, is vitally important to human life. The Earth’s biological diversity, climate and other planetary boundaries are threatened by human activities, including fossil fuel-based, energy-intensive, unsustainable growth. Our generation has the ethical responsibility and opportunity to avert further deterioration of Earth’s biodiversity and biosphere and we will actively contribute to this.

2. Since its creation in 1948, IUCN has contributed to all of the major global discussions about the environment and sustainable development, and was most recently an active participant in the Rio+20 Conference. The outcome document of the Conference describes ‘The Future We Want’ and states that the governments of the world ‘recognize that poverty eradication, changing unsustainable and promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are the overarching objectives of and essential requirements for sustainable development’. The document calls on all countries to take urgent action on ‘the adverse impacts of climate change’.

3. IUCN provides science-based knowledge and policy-relevant advice to overcome the key challenges faced by all of humanity. The discussions undertaken by government, business and civil society participants at the IUCN World Conservation Forum in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, the Republic of Korea in September 2012, identified the following actions necessary to conserve the Earth’s biological diversity.

Scaling up Conservation

4. All parts of society must take determined measures to scale up the conservation of biological diversity to halt its continued and rapid decline. The loss of biodiversity (species, ecosystems and genes) has grim consequences for humanity, which cannot be accepted.

5. There is mounting evidence that conservation works and thus we must scale up actions on the land and in the sea through large, targeted conservation efforts. In particular, we must ensure that protected areas are well managed; establish species recovery programmes; adopt measures to restore and rehabilitate habitats; strengthen conservation breeding programmes; and reduce or mitigate over exploitation of natural resources.

6. We know that knowledge drives action, and that meaningful action and corrective measures require better knowledge about the threats to biodiversity. We must intensify our efforts to bring together information on species, habitats, ecosystems, governance and gender-differentiated human dependency on nature and provide decision makers with the tools for effective landscape and seascape management, which conserves nature and sustains people’s livelihoods.

Nature-based Solutions

7. Biodiversity should be seen not as a problem but as an opportunity to help achieve broader societal goals. Nature is a major part of the solution to some of the world’s most pressing challenges in climate change, sustainable energy, food security, and economic and social development. Nature-based solutions build upon the proven contribution of well-managed and diverse ecosystems to enhance human resilience and to provide additional development opportunities for men and women in poor communities. We must promote the awareness, knowledge, good governance and sustainable investment to demonstrate why good environmental stewardship is everyone’s concern and how humanity is fundamentally dependent on nature.

8. Valuing nature and ecosystem services is a critical first step towards providing benefits, payments and recognition to the custodians of nature. Nature-based solutions deliver a broad range of societal benefits and are capable of attracting both public and private investment. IUCN will take the lead in conservation that brings communities, civil society, governments and investors together to negotiate and unleash the practical solutions of nature to multiple development challenges, demonstrating their cost-effectiveness and measuring and verifying their impacts.

Sustainability in Action

9. Governments, civil society, businesses and other stakeholders must strengthen their commitment towards sustainability, taking into account its three dimensions: sustained inclusive and equitable economic growth, equitable social development and inclusion, and integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.

10. We must mainstream sustainability in societal decisions, supporting the full implementation of the multilateral environmental agreements, including the Rio Conventions, and the recently established Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

11. We must work with the public and private sectors to enhance the transfer of green technology, share knowledge, experience and skills to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem values into global production and consumption. We encourage governments and businesses to pursue inclusive and gender-responsive green growth that ensures social integration of vulnerable groups, helps eradicate poverty, and keeps humanity’s footprint within ecological boundaries.

12. We must mobilize communities working for biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and poverty reduction in common efforts to halt biodiversity loss and apply nature-based solutions to conserve biodiversity, enhance resilience, strengthen equity, promote gender equality, reduce poverty and so improve the well-being of people on this planet.

13. All sectors of society must participate fully in implementing the outcomes of Rio+20 at all levels, including the formulation of well-targeted Sustainable Development Goals. We must mobilize all stakeholders for the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and the Aichi Targets (adopted at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity) as important means to tackle the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and to enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.

For Our Common Future: Closing the Gaps in Governance of Nature’s Use

14. Rio+20 reinforced the fact that there remain important gaps in environmental governance at all levels. It also highlighted many encouraging examples of how groups can come together to effectively negotiate fair outcomes and take better decisions with regard to the natural resources they depend on. We know that people’s actions and decisions, whether as citizens, economic agents or political authorities, constitute the governance that makes or breaks nature and hence our life support systems. We must ensure that better governance of nature’s use is achieved with greater regularity and consistency by providing decision makers with tools and information to assess and negotiate sustainable use of nature and equitable sharing of benefits.

15. We must support the effective and equitable governance of nature’s use at all relevant levels: stewardship of natural resources by indigenous peoples, integrated management of protected areas and natural resources, and national and international decision making for sustainable development.

16. We must provide strong leadership in advocating for better and more equitable governance of the use of nature and natural resources. IUCN’s unique convening power will encourage the knowledge and action needed to allow humankind to share both responsibility for and benefits of biodiversity conservation.

17. We must respect the rights of socially vulnerable stakeholders including local communities and indigenous peoples, and promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from ecological functions of biodiversity. In this spirit, we encourage all countries to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits.

The Way Forward from Jeju

18. The Government of the Republic of Korea and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province promise to maintain the World Leaders Dialogues, initiated at this World Conservation Forum, on a regular basis, to be known as the Jeju World Leaders’ Conservation Forum. IUCN will work to ensure that nature-based solutions will be at the centre of the successful delivery of the Aichi Targets, as well as the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference and World Conservation Congresses. IUCN will catalyze actions to demonstrate the potential role of a green economy in public policy and corporate behaviour at local, regional and global levels.

19. At the 2012 World Conservation Congress on the beautiful island of Jeju in the Republic of Korea, IUCN and its many partners met in the spirit of strengthening their cooperation to bring about a just world that values and conserves nature.