Editorial: Hans Friederich

Dear Members, dear readers,

Hans Friederich Photo: IUCN

Welcome to this newsletter dedicated to the upcoming IUCN 2012 World Conservation Congress. There are only a few days left before the beginning of this major conservation event and here at IUCN we are all very busy with the final arrangements.

The IUCN Congress, taking place from 6 to 15 September in Jeju, Republic of Korea, will be the third large international conference in 2012 on aspects of sustainable development, after the World Water Forum and the Rio+20 summit. More major environmental events will follow with the meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (India – October) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (Quatar – November, December).

Some people may ask: what is the point of all these international events? One argument goes that if we cancelled all international conferences this year and invested the money in a global programme for ecosystem restoration, we might have made more impact and more immediate results.

But – how true this may be, international events are essential for global environmental governance and their outcomes define and improve global policies, guidelines and regulations which are fundamental for the governance of our resources and good functioning of our society.

A clear example: IUCN carried out a study to record which Congress decisions can be traced back to past IUCN General Assemblies and World Conservation Congresses and we were pleasantly surprised. See this report and you will learn how IUCN and the decisions taken at its Congresses have been instrumental for the development of some of the key current governance tools which regulate the use of natural resources globally, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and many more.

So this year we are trying to make the most out of the upcoming 2012 Congress. Although it is happening on the other side of the world, IUCN Europe has a full list of its activities and events. On 8 September, from 7pm to 9pm, all IUCN European Members (West and East Europe, North and Central Asia) are invited to gather for a meeting dedicated to European issues and motions (see more here) while on 7 September, from 7pm to 9pm, a meeting will involve all European National Committees of Members. During Congress, IUCN Members will elect the six new European Councillors for the period 2013-2016 (see here), as well as the new IUCN President – two candidates are European, see here. There will also be a large number of European Member’s events during the Forum and IUCN Europe will be active at the Pavilions. Check our website for more information. The short stories about specific activities by our Members give you an impression of the variety of what is planned.

For those who have not registered for Congress yet, you can still do it here, while those who won’t be able to attend will have the chance to follow it in live streaming on the Congress website and on the Twitter Hub which will soon be active.

I have recently set up my own blog where I present my thoughts on some of crucial issues related to nature conservation in Europe and worldwide. If you would like to join the conversation and read more, click here.

Enjoy your reading and see you in Jeju!

Hans Friederich

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