Press release | 13 Jun, 2019

One-year countdown to world’s leading biodiversity event begins

“Biodiversity is now on the international agenda to the same degree as the fight against climate change. It is essential to create an international dynamic in favour of biodiversity, with increased awareness and the involvement of the general public. By hosting and co-organising this World Conservation Congress, France is proud to play its full leadership role alongside IUCN in protecting and valuing biodiversity”, says Emmanuelle Wargon, Minister of State for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition.

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Photo: jbdodane/Flickr

“The year 2020 presents a singular opportunity to reverse the alarming decline of nature we are witnessing,” says Dr Grethel Aguilar, IUCN Acting Director General. “Preserving Earth’s biodiversity is crucial if we are to achieve the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda to eradicate poverty and to ensure human health, food and water security. The IUCN World Conservation Congress will be decisive in tackling the biodiversity crisis and setting the world on the path to a sustainable future.” 

On 11 June 2020 the opening of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020, the world’s largest and most inclusive environmental event that will drive global action towards a more sustainable future, will take place in Marseille. The event will be open to the general public. It aims to mobilise all concerned actors a few months before the biodiversity COP15, to be held in China, which is expected to adopt a new international framework for the next decade. 

The IUCN Congress 2020 will take place 11–19 June in Marseille, France, under the theme ‘One nature, one future’, highlighting the need for a healthy natural world as a prerequisite for achieving the vision of a just and sustainable planet. The outcomes of the IUCN Congress will inform new global targets to curb the escalating biodiversity crisis under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, in October 2020 in Kunming, China. 

Held every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together world leaders and representatives from governments, science, academia, indigenous peoples’ groups, non-governmental organisations and businesses to help address the world’s most pressing environmental and sustainability challenges.

The seven themes which the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 will address are the following: 

- Managing landscapes for nature and people
- Conserving freshwater to sustain life
- Restoring ocean health
- Accelerating climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Upholding rights, ensuring effective and equitable governance
- Leveraging economic and financial systems for sustainability
- Advancing knowledge, learning, innovation and technology

IUCN Congresses have been instrumental in shaping the most important global conservation treaties and initiatives over the past 70 years. These include the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 

Visit the IUCN Congress and the French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition websites. 

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IUCN Contacts
Goska Bonnaveira, IUCN Media Relations, Tel: +41229990245, Mobile: +41792760185, Email:

Geoffroy Cazenave, IUCN Congress Communications Officer, Tel: +41229990357, Email:

Media contact for Emmanuelle Wargon
+33 1 40 81 81 30