The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) in alliance with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) organised the Fourth SSC Leaders Meeting, held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from October 6th to 9th, 2019.
During this meeting, IUCN issued an urgent call emphasising conservation action for species as a shared responsibility. The Abu Dhabi Call for Global Species Conservation Action appeals to the world’s governments to take emergency measures to save those species at the highest risk of extinction and tackle key threats that are driving population declines and extinctions.
The Leaders’ meeting has been consolidated as a central feature of planning, thinking and cooperating within SSC and with the other components of the Union and beyond. Consequentially, an ambitious agenda befitting the caliber of the group was developed to strengthen and empower our network to deliver the Assess-Plan-Act cycle, with an emphasis on conservation action.
The meeting was four productive and intense days of networking, articulation, learning from past experiences as well as improving skills, exploring how best to measure the effectiveness of SSC actions on biodiversity conservation and apply the outcomes of that process to improve and guide our future work, in the context of the IUCN Programme, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The sessions planned included plenaries to learn from success stories in species conservation, share best practices in group function and effectiveness, revisit the pathway towards achieving the Barometer of Life target, discuss how to expand conservation planning, and envision where we want to take the SSC network in 20 years. Training sessions were carried to strengthen capacities on Red List assessments, contributing to policymaking, external communications, grant writing and fundraising, building partnerships, conflict resolution, and using the new Commission System for membership management, among others. Multiple symposia and discussion sessions were cover a broad diversity of topics such as developing the 2021-2024 IUCN Species Strategic Plan, engaging on international treaties such as CBD, CITES and CMS, IUCN Knowledge Products, taxonomic discussions, sustainable use, wildlife health, increasing SSC member diversity, engagement and collaboration across IUCN, funding mechanisms, among others. The meeting also kept flexible time slots to deepen discussions arising during the Meeting.