World Conservation Congress

Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges.

The Congress aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development, but this cannot be achieved by conservationists alone. The IUCN Congress is the place to put aside differences and work together to create good environmental governance, engaging all parts of society to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of conservation.

IUCN Congress 2020

Update 16 September 2020:  IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 postponed

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Government of France have decided to postpone the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 in Marseille, which was to be held in January 2021 in Marseille. New dates for the event will be announced in due course.  

Both the Members’ Assembly and Forum components of the IUCN Congress will be held together at the new date. Furthermore, at its 100th meeting on 14 September, the IUCN Council decided that some decisions of the Members’ Assembly, such as on the IUCN Programme and Financial Plan 2021-24, which are normally taken during Congress, will be voted upon electronically by the Union’s membership ahead of the Congress in early 2021.

France and IUCN remain fully committed to the development of a global framework for the conservation of biodiversity and will continue to act towards this objective.  

We will provide more information on preparation, programme, logistics and more on the Congress website as it becomes available.

18 May 2018: France will host the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 at Parc Chanot in Marseille.

The most recent Congress took place from 1 to 10 September in Hawaiʻi, USA. The State of Hawaiʻi hosted the event in coordination with the US Department of State.

IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016
2016 Members' Assembly outcomes
2016 Photos, Videos and recorded sessions

If you wish to see the full documentation (Proceedings of the Members Assemblies, Resolutions, motions, statutes, etc.) related to past Congresses and General Assemblies, please click here.

An overview of the impact that IUCN resolutions have had on international conservation efforts can be viewed here.

For more information on the history of the IUCN World Conservation Congress and General Assemblies please click here

A Congress with two components

The Forum is a hub of public debate, bringing together people from all walks of life to discuss the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges. It includes many different types of events from high level dialogues to training workshops which explore the depths of conservation and innovation.

The Members’ Assembly is IUCN’s highest decision-making body. A unique global environmental parliament, it involves governments and NGOs – large and small, national and international – taking joint decisions on conservation and sustainability.

Host Country Selection

Traditionally, the World Conservation Congress is hosted by one of IUCN’s State Members. The Congress provides a unique opportunity for a country to showcase its leadership on global environmental issues and to highlight conservation activities. Host countries also benefit from the international exposure of the country’s biodiversity, history and culture.

The selection process generally starts about three and a half years prior to a Congress and IUCN carries out a formal selection process during which interested countries are asked to submit a formal proposal which addresses IUCN’s Statement of Requirements. 


In addition to its own gender strategy and anti-harassment policy, IUCN follows the guidance of the Gender-Responsive Assemblies toolkit produced by the International Gender Champions.

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