Posted August 11, 2016 by Rachel Smith
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is an international organization made up of over 10,000 members that facilitate global environmental solutions and provide governments and institutions with tools and guidelines to achieve universal conservation goals. Every four years the IUCN members, along with thousands of environmental and conservation decision makers, policy leaders, academia, and green industry workers come together to find management solutions to the greatest environmental priorities facing the planet. It is the “Olympics” of conservation, if you will – and this year Hawaii is hosting this event.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress is a 10-day conference offering hundreds of workshops, social events, and forums for conservationists and environmentalists to network, share sustainable project solutions, and create new partnerships. The first four days of the conference are open to the public, and the remaining six days are only open to the IUCN members. These members represent the scientific community worldwide; and during the final days of the Congress, they will make some of the most important global environmental decisions. This year the Congress agenda includes hundreds of worldwide issues ranging from illegal wildlife trafficking and the ivory trade market, to securing the future for global peatlands and coral reefs. The members will examine ecosystem services risks and species extinction risks, as well as protection of primary forests, landscapes, and bodies of water in India, Brazil, Africa and other critical habitats. There will also be six key Hawaii specific motions addressed at the Congress and they include;
- Protected areas
- Natural capital
- Biodiversity offsets
- Ocean governance
- Oil palm expansion
The IUCN has driven some of the world’s foremost environmental trends, identifying climate change as a principal concern as early as 1960. It is the largest global environmental network of governments, NGO’s, scientific leaders and researchers, all represented from 160 countries. Hosting the conference is not only a privilege; it is a great opportunity for the Hawaii conservation community to showcase the vital work we do here in the islands. Conservation workers from each island will be at the conference hobnobbing with all the big wigs, drumming up support for all our unique projects. Some previous host sites of the World Conservation Congress include the Jeju Republic of Korea, Barcelona, Spain, Montreal, Canada, Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, New Delhi, India, and Nairobi, Kenya. For the 2016 Congress, Hawaii was in close running with Turkey to host the event.
Not only is this conference a great opportunity for Hawaii to bring in major tourism revenue and potentially greater support for state and federal conservation legislation, it offers multiple ways for island residents to get involved, and it is a totally green event! The Congress is offering extremely discounted rates for Hawaii residents, “remote” conference events and excursions on each island, and is a completely paperless conference, while also offering the option of donating to offset all your carbon emissions to attend.
The World Conservation Congress will be held in Honolulu at the Hawaii Convention Center from September 1st – 10th. Registration for the conference can be found here. Also, please consider attending the Kauai Conservation Expo, open to the public, held at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Wednesday September 7th. Registration can be found here.