Story | 04 Mar, 2022

IUCN’s four new Centres set to deliver innovative action for nature

In response to the escalating nature and climate crises, including the urgent need for greater conservation finance and inclusive governance, IUCN has announced the creation of four new Centres that will help deliver on the global goals for sustainable development and its own ambitious programme, Nature 2030.

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Photo: Peter Prokosch/GRID-Arendal

“The biodiversity and climate crises are being fuelled by unsustainable economic and social policies. Without more transformational approaches that invest in people and the planet, we will not achieve new nature or climate targets that are essential for us to protect and improve life on Earth,” said IUCN Deputy Director General Stewart Maginnis.

“Three of the four new IUCN Centres reflect the key pillars of sustainable development – environmental sustainability, economic feasibility and social equity. These are underpinned by a fourth Centre on science and data. Together, along with increased awareness and shared objectives, these Centres will drive innovative research and radical new partnerships in close collaboration with IUCN’s unique Membership and expert Commissions.

“It is important to note that IUCN’s reorganisation is not being driven by resource constraints, but on the contrary, so it is better positioned to generate new resources to achieve its ambitious conservation and development agenda,” added Mr Maginnis. 

The new Centre for Economy and Finance, led by Chris Buss, will oversee efforts to mobilise and redirect resources needed to meet the global targets on biodiversity and climate change. Through the creation of new business models and economic analysis, the Centre will make the case for investing in nature with the public and private sector. This includes IUCN’s relationships with multilateral agencies, such as the Global Environment Facility and Green Climate Fund; business partnerships, including with the extractives and renewable energy sectors; and growing collaborative finance initiatives, such as the Subnational Climate Finance initiative and the Coalition for Private Investment in Nature. 

The Centre for Society and Governance, led by Dr Radhika Murti, will be responsible for institutional, legal and collaborative efforts aimed at empowering and protecting the rights of a wide range of stakeholders, especially traditionally marginalised communities, women and girls, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and youth. It will also advance legal concepts and regulations by drawing on technical expertise in its Environmental Law and World Heritage Programmes, and address transboundary natural resource management issues as well as complex urban and peri-urban issues, vital to sustainable development.  

The Centre for Conservation Action, led by Trevor Sandwith, will oversee IUCN’s cutting-edge work on biomes, including global efforts on land, ocean and species. This Centre will work directly with regional teams to drive conservation and policy action on the ground and apply state-of-the-art knowledge to improve conservation planning, monitoring and results. It will also manage IUCN’s conservation grants programmes, BIOPAMA, BEST and Save our Species as well as provide leadership on global initiatives, such as the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and Great Blue Wall, in partnership with numerous stakeholders.

The Centre for Science and Data, led by Dr Jane Smart, will further develop IUCN’s longstanding reputation as a leading global authority on conservation science and knowledge, and as a global standard-setter for the collection, assessment and analysis of biodiversity-related data. The Centre will uphold and curate knowledge to support IUCN-backed standards, such as the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, IUCN Red List of Ecosystems™, IUCN Green List of Protected Areas and IUCN Standard for Nature-based Solutions™. This Centre will also promote collective efforts to enhance conservation assurance schemes and lead on knowledge management, education and public awareness programme activities, in addition to managing the IUCN Library.

IUCN expects this new Programme structure will continue to evolve over the next six months, and be fully operational by September 2022. In addition, in September last year, IUCN announced the creation of an International Policy Centre and a new IUCN Academy, both of which report to the Director General and maintain strong links with the new Centres.