Wildlife conservation was brought to the attention of the world last week as conservationists from numerous corners of the globe came together in Hawaii for the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
The announcements that four out of the six species of great apes are Critically Endangered and the Giant Panda is no longer Endangered drew international media attention, as well as the list of global conservation priorities and a report detailing the scale and consequences of ocean warming.
Dr Jon Paul Rodríguez, President of World Land Trust’s (WLT) Venezuelan partner Provita, was elected to the prestigious position of Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), a science-based network of more than 10,000 experts from around the world, at the Congress.
Representatives from other member organisations of the WLT Alliance were also present from Argentina, Armenia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Malaysian Borneo, Paraguay, and Vietnam to give presentations about their projects, network with other organisations, and submit motions for IUCN to consider.
Motions affecting the WLT Alliance
Motions are proposed by IUCN members every four years to set priorities for the work of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature which brings together 217 state and government agencies, 1, 066 NGOs, and networks of over 16,000 experts worldwide.
One of the most important motions for the WLT Alliance recognised the importance of Privately Protected Areas (PPAs), which many of WLT-funded reserves become. One of the resulting actions will be IUCN approaching national governments to integrate PPAs into networks of national and local protected areas to further their impact.
Another motion supported increasing the coverage of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the announcement of 14 new ocean Hope Spots, marine areas critical to the health of the ocean. The fourteenth Hope Spot is the Tropical Pacific Sea of Peru, which partner Naturaleza y Cultura Peru (NCPeru) has been lobbying their government to make into an MPA. We hope the international support for this important site will move the declaration of this protected area forward.
Other relevant motions included the IUCN response to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which proposed to promote the role of nature-based solutions to climate change; making the value of nature more visible in decision making by using natural capital approaches; and addressing the problems of using lead ammunition in hunting, which has consequences for ecosystem and human health.
The IUCN Congress is an excellent opportunity for conservation organisations to share ideas and success stories as well as create new partnerships and collaborations.
Marco Cerezo, Director General of Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) in Guatemala, said “The congress reminds us of the many citizens of the world who are mobilizing across the planet in order to protect nature. Sometimes, after hearing all the bad news in the media, it is comforting to know we are not alone; that we are a global movement wanting to change the current patterns of destruction across the globe.”