Press release | 18 May, 2018

France to host IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020

Marseille, France – The French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, today signed an agreement to jointly organise the next IUCN World Conservation Congress, to be held in 2020 in Marseille.

The signing follows IUCN Council’s selection of France as the host country for the IUCN Congress, based on a rigorous evaluation process of France’s candidature.  A presentation of a new biodiversity plan by the French Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Nicolas Hulot, preceded the signing ceremony, which was attended by IUCN Vice President Malik Amin Aslam Khan and IUCN Director General Inger Andersen.


“France is particularly honoured to succeed the United States in organising the biggest international gathering of environmentalists,” says Nicolas Hulot, French Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition. “We want this Congress to be the event that brings together solutions for biodiversity. I am confident that the whole government, but also French territories, business, and all of French society will rally to make this a large-scale mobilisation for nature, in France, in Europe and throughout the world.”


Held every four years, the IUCN Congress is the world’s largest conservation event. It brings together leaders from government, civil society, indigenous peoples’ organisations, business and academia to determine the world’s most pressing environmental and development challenges, and actions to address them.


“We are honoured to announce France as the host of the next IUCN World Conservation Congress,” says IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng. “The year 2020 is set to be a momentous year for the planet. The IUCN Congress will be central in mobilising the international community ahead of critical decisions to be taken later that year regarding global efforts to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change. We are proud to be joining forces with France at such a critical time.”


IUCN’s long-standing relationship with France dates back to the establishment of the Union in 1948, in the French town of Fontainebleau. Since 2005, France has been one of IUCN’s Framework Partners – supporting the delivery of IUCN’s programme of work in applying nature-based solutions to humanity’s greatest challenges.


"Our host country France not only possesses a strong history of leadership on environmental issues but has also shown a solid commitment to the future of nature conservation,” says IUCN Vice President Malik Amin Aslam Khan. “This journey of commitment spans the creation of the first legally protected area in Fontainebleau in 1861, the founding of the IUCN itself in 1948 on French soil and also the remarkable revival of a faltering climate momentum through the 2015 Paris agreement at COP21.”


“Today’s announcement reinforces France’s leadership role in addressing the critical environmental and development challenges humanity faces today,” says IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. “IUCN’s relationship with France has gone from strength to strength since the very founding of the Union 70 years ago, and we are delighted that the IUCN Congress 2020 will make our ties even closer. Only by working hand in hand with true global leaders, such as France, can we drive meaningful action towards a more sustainable future.”


Backing from all levels of the French authorities, from the municipal level to the national government, as well as France’s commitment to event sustainability and engagement from French IUCN Members are among the reasons behind France’s selection.


There are 49 IUCN Member organisations in France and the IUCN French National Committee, created in 1992, aims to facilitate cooperation between them and other parts of the Union. The country is home to 254 scientific and policy experts who are members of IUCN Commissions.


New global targets to curb the escalating biodiversity crisis under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are to be set later in 2020. This is also the year when the Paris Agreement on climate change will formally come into effect and start being implemented, with countries submitting new or updated pledges.


The last IUCN World Conservation Congress, held in 2016 in Hawaiʻi, United States of America, was attended by some 10,000 participants from 192 countries. It saw the announcement of major conservation commitments, and defined a roadmap for the implementation of the historic agreements adopted in 2015 – the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The IUCN Congress 2020 will be held from 11 to 19 June at Marseille’s Parc Chanot.

Read the speeches given at the signing ceremony by IUCN Director General Inger Andersen here, and by IUCN Vice-President, Malik Amin Aslam Khan, on behalf of IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng, here


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IUCN Media Relations:

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