Story | 17 Jul, 2012

Use your voice

Members have a unique opportunity at the IUCN Congress to influence the global conservation agenda through the motions. To do this, they must ensure to get accreditation so they can vote and speak at the Members’ Assembly, together with observers with speaking rights.

“IUCN’s Members are all independent agencies, well able to set their own agenda. But by working together toward a common global agenda, the Membership, Secretariat and Commissions can have a far greater impact than by working alone.”

These opening words on setting the global conservation agenda from the Impact of IUCN Resolutions paper sum up perfectly that power lies in unity.

Seldom is this more evident than at the World Conservation Congress, when all parts of IUCN join up in the same place every four years. Together, they influence the course of conservation action for the next four years to come.

To realize this ambition, the Union puts forward draft decisions (known as motions) on some of the world’s most pressing environmental matters. IUCN Members then take joint decisions during the Congress, by vote, to select which motions will become resolutions or recommendations influencing global action for sustainable development.

Motions: democracy in action

“The IUCN motions process is democracy at its best. Everybody gets a voice and the forum is open for transparent discussions on conservation and the future we want,” says Constanza Martinez, Head of the Motions team at the IUCN Congress.

In preparation of the 2012 Congress held from 6 to 15 September in Korea, 175 motions have been published on 8 July, 60 days before the opening ceremony, after a thorough review process. This represents a 30% increase in comparison to the number of motions presented in 2008.

To smooth the process during the Members’ Assembly when the voting takes place, a motions blog is available to create a platform of discussions prior to the Congress. This allows Members to raise issues and debate on important points – an opportunity that can’t be guaranteed during the event due to limited time.

Accreditation: your rights, your duty

The Members’ Assembly is the part of the World Conservation Congress where Members and observers with speaking rights can exercise their rights and have an effect on the way we deal with conservation issues. As such, it is IUCN’s highest decision-making body and works as a global environmental parliament.

As with any civic voting, participation to such high-level decision-making requires to have your credentials in good check. Thus anyone who has the right to vote or speak during the Members’ Assembly must imperatively get accreditation before the Congress’s kick-off.

To facilitate this process, an online accreditation system has been put in place to easily download the required form and send it back as a scanned digital format directly through the system.

A great advantage of this online facility is that Members can decide to change the Head of Delegation during the course of the Congress via this system. It also allows those who are unable to attend the Congress to give proxy to another Member organization or institution. All this, provided they have submitted their statement of credentials, of course.