Social equity refers to the right of everyone to enjoy a rewarding quality of life, as well as to the expectation for fair and equitable distribution of the benefits and costs among different social groups and individuals for conserving natural systems.

Social equity is a fundamental condition for promoting lasting conservation and enhancing sustainable use of natural resources. There are both practical and ethical reasons for ensuring that conservation does not accentuate or perpetuate existing social, gender, economic or cultural inequities. To this end, IUCN has pioneered the inclusion of social equity considerations within conservation. IUCN works with members and partners to address indigenous and traditional peoples’ issues, gender equity, poverty and human development, tenure and natural resource rights, environmental security and vulnerability. We have a rich body of experience accumulated in this regard, and are making a concerted effort to incorporate the relevant skills, tools and methodologies into conservation practices.