IUCN Congress a catalyst for action

Nature is a dream come true. Its benefits are limitless, its beauty infinite – but its resistance isn’t.

Congress article january 2012

The IUCN World Conservation Congress tackles the most pressing conservation issues today. “Valuing and conserving nature” will be one of the main points of focus next September. Much more than a series of debates, the Congress will concentrate on giving practical tools for nature conservation through the Forum, which is the public core of the event hosting workshops, talks and courses, as well as exhibitions and entertainment.

As losses in the natural environment mount at an unnaturally fast rate, preserving biodiversity has become a matter of urgency. Our well-being depends on the variety of plant and animal species that exist today. Too many are now threatened or have already disappeared.

Nature must regain the place it deserves in our societies: we must all put an end to biodiversity loss. To do so, we must empower groups and individuals with the necessary tools to create a positive impact.

Workshops in particular offer a strong focus on taking action as well as sharing knowledge. With a network of 11,000 scientific experts and over 1,200 member organizations, IUCN is ideally placed to act as a driving force for concrete, result-driven work.

The Union has long recognized the central role of people and communities as true agents of conservation. As such, it makes space for practical training during the 2012 World Conservation Congress.

Interestingly, over 60% of all the submitted proposals to take part in the Forum presented ideas for workshops, underscoring the practical approach of the Congress. These range from restoring species and ecosystems to working more effectively with international environmental conventions.

New impetus is driving nature conservation, since the 2010 Biodiversity Target to stop the decline in biodiversity was unmet. The 2011-2020 period has been identified as the decade of biodiversity and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) plays a key role in setting the ground for change. New targets have now been fixed to end biodiversity loss by 2020.

“The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, with its 20 ambitious Aichi Targets, has been endorsed as the overarching framework over the next 10 years for safeguarding biodiversity for future generations. It is a unique instrument to slow and halt biodiversity loss and rebuild resilient ecosystems so they provide the services that humanity and all life depends upon,” says the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Mr Ahmed Dhoghlaf.

“The IUCN World Conservation Congress, with its unique blend of NGOs and government agencies, has a vital catalytic role to play to engage the global community in translating the goals of the Strategic Plan into reality.”

Mr Dhoghlaf will be one of the keynote speakers at the World Leaders’ Dialogue on 11 September. The entire day will be dedicated to the theme “valuing and conserving nature” and the Forum will feature practical workshops on biodiversity.

Change takes time – but time is scarce when threats to biodiversity are so imminent. The challenge today is to overcome the slow uptake of concrete action and provide the knowledge and instruments to work with, not against, nature.

IUCN’s World Conservation Congress is vital to activate positive change and generate tangible results.

Work area: 
West and Central Africa
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