DG Statement | 01 Mar, 2024

IUCN Director General's address to Sixth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly

IUCN Director General Dr Grethel Aguilar delivered an address at the closing ceremony of the Sixth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in Nairobi, Kenya on 1 March. Read the full speech below.

Excellencies, Ministers, honourable members of this Assembly, I speak on behalf of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which has been working towards a just world that values and conserves nature for over 75 years.

The world is steadily getting warmer, more polluted, less equitable, and less biodiverse.

In six months, all of us will meet at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Colombia “to make peace with Nature”. I invite this hall to reflect on whether our planet will be improving or worse off. We can translate what we have already agreed into action, because we have the power to change.

We must accelerate implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and embrace a truly transformative agenda that not only protects living nature but changes our relationship to it – in cities, on the land, and in the ocean.

I urge all of you to swiftly ratify the High Seas Treaty and to agree on a legally binding instrument on plastics pollution with biodiversity at its core.

We must also realize that we do not have the luxury of solving global challenges one at a time. The triple planetary crisis and how it interacts with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development demands “whole of society” and integrated approaches, for example through Nature-based Solutions.

IUCN commits to all of you here to make available its science-based standards and tools, such as the IUCN Red List and IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. IUCN also commits to supporting the delivery of locally adapted integrated actions that will allow us to deliver on the ambition of environmental multilateralism.

Finally, we must continue to make space so that all voices are heard, especially those of the younger generations and of Indigenous Peoples. The task facing us is daunting, therefore inclusion is fundamental if we are to meet our ambitious global goals.

I thank you, Your Excellency Madam President, for giving me the floor.