Congress themes explained

The IUCN World Conservation Congress will be centred around five key themes which reflect IUCN’s priorities for the coming years:

  • Greening the world economy
  • Conserving and valuing nature
  • Sharing nature’s benefits
  • Nature-based solutions to climate change
  • Managing ecosystems to improve food security

Here we talk to some of the people who are involved in IUCN's day-to-day work on each of these issues about the challenges and what's needed to address them.

Green economy

These are turbulent times for the global economy. The financial and economic crises over the past five years have given new impetus to the transition towards more sustainable forms of economic development, as seen in the growing popularity of a ‘green economy’. IUCN’s David Huberman outlines recent developments in this area and the approach needed to push the green economy up the international agenda.

 

Valuing and conserving biodiversity

Biological diversity is essential for human well‐being. It provides food security, human health, clean air and water. It contributes directly to local livelihoods and economic development. But despite its fundamental importance for life on this planet, biodiversity continues to be lost. Josephine Langley, coordinator of IUCN's work on biodiversity, explains what’s needed to stem this loss.

 

Food security

Humans consume more than 7,000 species of plants and animals, very few of which have been domesticated through agriculture. In the drive to address food security, there is a lack of understanding among policy makers that for many people, especially the 70% or more in less developed countries who live in rural areas, wild sources of food—fish, small mammals, wild vegetables, fruits, honey and nuts, form an important part of people’s diets and are essential for nutritional health. To achieve food security for a burgeoning global population, what grows in the wild is just as important as what grows on farms. Dr Gill Shepherd, Special Adviser to IUCN on Ecosystem Management explains.

 

Sharing nature's benefits

Nature has always supported the growth and prosperity of human societies and the economic value of this support is enormous. Nature’s benefits, however, are not equally shared. Sharing power, responsibility and benefits with respect to natural resource management, as well as making laws and regulations more transparent, inclusive and equitable, are good for both people and biodiversity. Georgina Peard, Network Officer for IUCN’s Commission on Environment, Social and Economic Policy outlines why sharing nature’s benefits fairly and equitably is a priority for IUCN.

 

Nature-based solutions to climate change

 

The impacts of climate change are already being felt: sea levels are rising, threatening island nations and coastal areas, storms are becoming more violent bringing floods and landslides, and droughts are intensifying. While richer nations can try to ‘buy’ protection in the form of engineered solutions, people in developing countries who are bearing the brunt of the impacts need a proven, accessible and affordable option. One such option already exists—conserving and managing nature. Healthy mangroves, forests and wetlands can form physical barriers against extreme weather and help to regulate floods. Radhika Murti of IUCN’s Ecosystem Management Programme describes how people are already using nature to shield themselves from the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

 

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Watch videos relating to the Congress themes
  • Mariko is interviewed about traditional herbal medicine and the tree Warburgia Urgandesis