Story | 31 Aug, 2015

Countdown begins to the world’s leading environmental summit

Gland, Switzerland, 1 September 2015 (IUCN) – Today marks one year to the opening of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016, the world’s largest and most inclusive environmental decision-making forum that will define the future path for nature conservation.

The IUCN Congress will be held under the theme ‘Planet at the crossroads’, emphasising that nature conservation and human progress are not a zero-sum game, and that credible and accessible choices exist that can promote general welfare while supporting and enhancing our planet’s natural assets.

“The world is facing a rapidly closing window – our planet is at the crossroads,” says Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General. “The path we choose today will define nature’s ability to support us as a species during our lifetimes and for generations to come. The IUCN World Conservation Congress is a forum of dialogue and decision which will help us determine that path.”

With the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) later this month and momentum building towards a global agreement to tackle climate change in Paris this December, the world is setting an ambitious agenda for addressing fundamental social and environmental global challenges. The IUCN Congress will guide the efforts of IUCN’s almost 1,300 member organisations – some of the most influential players on the environmental scene – including over 200 government members, in support of these global ambitions.

Held every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress gathers between 6,000 and 8,000 delegates from around the world, including world leaders and representatives from governments, science, academia, Indigenous peoples groups, businesses and conservation.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 will take place 1-10 September in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi . This will be the first time the IUCN Congress will be hosted by the USA, having received strong endorsement from US President Barack Obama.

The IUCN Congress will include a unique global environmental parliament session – the Members’ Assembly – where IUCN’s member organisations will identify the most significant concerns and trends in conservation and guide IUCN’s work for the coming years. The Members’ Assembly will be preceded by a hub of public debate – the Forum – which will bring together people from all walks of life to discuss the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges.

The Members’ Assembly has produced policy for the most important global conservation treaties and initiatives over the past 68 years. These include the World Heritage Convention, the Ramsar Convention, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Participants of previous IUCN Congresses include His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, UN Foundation Chairman Ted Turner, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, and Ocean Elder and marine conservation champion Dr Sylvia Earle.

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For more information please contact
Ewa Magiera, IUCN Media Relations, e-mail:, mobile +41 76 505 33 78
Mark Gnadt, IUCN Congress Communications Officer, e-mail:, mobile +41 79 560 62 89