The INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE (IUCN), officially INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources . It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable."
Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to sustainable development in its projects. Unlike many other international environmental organisations, IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation. It tries to influence the actions of governments, business and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, and through building partnerships. The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ , which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.
IUCN has a membership of over 1400 governmental and non-governmental organizations. Some 16,000 scientists and experts participate in the work of IUCN commissions on a voluntary basis. It employs approximately 1000 full-time staff in more than 50 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland .
IUCN has observer and consultative status at the
IUCN was established in 1948. It was previously called the INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR PROTECTION OF NATURE (1948–1956) and the WORLD CONSERVATION UNION (1990–2008).
* 1 History
* 1.1 Overview
* 2 Current work
* 2.1 IUCN Programme 2017–2020 * 2.2 Habitats and species * 2.3 Business partnerships * 2.4 National and international policy
* 3 Organizational structure
* 3.1 Members * 3.2 Commissions * 3.3 Secretariat
* 4 Governance and funding
* 4.1 Governance * 4.2 Funding
* 5 Influence and criticism
* 5.1 Influence * 5.2 Criticism
* 6 Publications * 7 See also * 8 Footnotes * 9 References * 10 External links
Boone and Crockett Club
The activities behind the organization of the American Committee for International Wild Life Protection may be divided into three parts. The first of these was the work of the Dutch and Belgian Committee led by Mr. P.G. Van Tienhoven of Amsterdam. In the years 1922-24 he became a personal friend of Mr. William Phillips, our ambassador to Holland. Through this friendship, Mr. Van Tienhoven, the nature protectionist, first began to interest Americans in the idea of international wild life conservation.
From 1927-1930 Dr. J.C. Phillips, brother of Mr. William Phillips,
cooperated with Mr. Van Tienhoven in international conservation work.
As a result, the
Boone and Crockett Club
In 1947, the
Swiss League for the Protection of Nature organised an
international conference on the protection of nature in Brunnen
(Switzerland). Afterwards, the IUCN was established on 5 October
1948, in Fontainebleau,
The objectives of the new Union were to encourage international cooperation in the protection of nature, to promote national and international action and to compile, analyse and distribute information. At the time of its founding IUPN was the only international organisation focusing on the entire spectrum of nature conservation (an international organisation for the protection of birds, now BirdLife International , had been established in 1922.)
EARLY YEARS: 1948–1956 IUPN started out with 65 members. Its secretariat was located in Brussels. Its first work program focused on saving species and habitats, increasing and applying knowledge, advancing education, promoting international agreements and promoting conservation. Providing a solid scientific base for conservation action was the heart of all activities; commissions were set up to involve experts and scientists.
IUPN was successful in engaging prominent scientists and identifying important issues such as the harmful effects of pesticides on wildlife but not many of the ideas it developed were turned into action. This was caused by unwillingness to act on the part of governments, uncertainty about the IUPN mandate and lack of resources. In 1956, IUPN changed its name to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
INCREASED PROFILE AND RECOGNITION: 1956–1965
In the 1950s and 1960s Europe entered a period of economic growth and
formal colonies became independent. Both developments had impact on
the work of IUCN. Through the voluntary (i.e. pro bono ) involvement
of experts in its Commissions IUCN was able to get a lot of work done
while still operating on a low budget. It expanded its relations with
UN-agencies and established links with the
Council of Europe . In
1961, at the request of
ECOSOC , the
IUCN began to play a part in the development of international treaties and conventions, starting with the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources . Environmental law and policy making became a new area of expertise. Africa was the first regional focus of IUCN conservation action
Africa was the focus of many of the early IUCN conservation field
projects. IUCN supported the ‘Yellowstone model’ of protected area
management, which severely restricted human presence and activity in
order to protect nature. IUCN and other conservation organisations
were criticized for protecting nature against people rather than with
people. This model was initially also applied in Africa and played a
role in the decision to remove the
To establish a stable financial basis for its work, IUCN participated
in setting up the World Wildlife Fund (1961) (now the World Wide Fund
for Nature WWF). WWF would work on fundraising, public relations, and
increasing public support. IUCN would continue to focus on providing
sound science and data, and developing ties with international bodies.
Funds raised by WWF would be used to cover part of the operational
costs of IUCN. Also in 1961, the IUCN headquarters moved from Belgium
CONSOLIDATING ITS POSITION IN THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL
Public concerns about the state of the environment in the sixties and
seventies led to the establishment of new NGOs, some of which (e.g.
IUCN’s membership still grew (from 200 in 1961 to 350 in 1974) and
its formal standing and influence increased. A grant from the Ford
Foundation in 1969 enabled it to boost its secretariat and expand
operations. During the 1960s, IUCN lobbied the UN General Assembly to
create a new status for NGOs. Resolution 1296, adopted in 1968,
granted 'consultative' status to NGOs. IUCN itself was eventually
accredited with six UN organizations. IUCN was one of the few
environmental organisations formally involved in the preparations of
* Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural
Heritage (1972). IUCN co-drafted the World Heritage Convention with
IUCN entered into an agreement with the
This period saw the beginning of a gradual change in IUCN’s approach to conservation. Ensuring the survival of habitats and species remained its key objective, but there was a growing awareness that economic and social demands had to be taken into account. IUCN started to publish guidelines on sustainable development. In 1975 the IUCN General Assembly passed a resolution to retain indigenous peoples and cater for their traditional rights in National Parks and protected areas. As a result, IUCN became more appealing to organisations and governments in the developing world.
THE WORLD CONSERVATION STRATEGY 1975–1985 In the late seventies, between its General Assemblies in Kinshasha (1975) and Ashkabad (1978), IUCN went through a phase of turbulence in governance and management. Its work program continued to grow, in part as a result of the partnership with WWF. In 1978, IUCN was running 137 projects, largely in the global south. The involvement of representatives from the developing world in the IUCN Council, Committees and staff increased.
In 1975 IUCN started work on the World Conservation Strategy. Stopping illegal trade of wildlife is one of IUCN's priorities
The drafting process – and the discussions with the UN agencies involved – led to an evolution in thinking within IUCN and growing acceptance of the fact that conservation of nature by banning human presence no longer worked. (The debate about the balance between strict nature protection and conservation through sustainable development would, however, continue within IUCN well into the 1999
s.) The World Conservation Strategy was launched in 35 countries
simultaneously on 5 March 1980. It set out fundamental principles and
objectives for conservation worldwide, and identified priorities for
national and international action. It is considered one of the most
influential documents in 20th century nature conservation and one of
the first official documents to introduce the concept of sustainable
development. The Strategy was followed in 1982 by the World Charter
for Nature , which was adopted by the
In 1980, IUCN and WWF moved into shared new offices in Gland,
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND REGIONALISATION: 1985 TO PRESENT DAY
In 1982, IUCN set up a Conservation for Development Centre within its
secretariat. The Centre undertook projects to ensure that nature
conservation was integrated in development aid and in the economic
policies of developing countries. Over the years, it supported the
development of national conservation strategies in 30 countries.
Several European countries began to channel considerable amounts of
bilateral aid via IUCN’s projects. Management of these projects was
primarily done by IUCN staff, often working from the new regional and
country offices IUCN set up around the world. This marked a shift
within the organisation. Previously the volunteer Commissions had been
very influential, now the Secretariat and its staff began to play a
more dominant role. Initially, the focus of power was still with the
In spite of the increased attention for sustainable development, the
protection of habitats and species remained a core activity of IUCN.
In 1991, IUCN (together with
Social aspects of conservation were now integrated in IUCN’s work; projects began to take account of the role of women in natural resource management and to value the knowledge indigenous peoples have about their natural environment. At the General Assembly in 1994 the IUCN mission was redrafted to its current wording to include the equitable and ecologically use of natural resources.
IUCN’s current work makes direct contributions towards achieving
Sustainable Development Goals . In particular, IUCN’s Programme
2017-2020 focusing on SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger), SDG 3
(Good health and well-being), SDG 5 (
CLOSER TO BUSINESS: 2000 TO PRESENT DAY Since the creation of IUCN in 1948, IUCN Members have passed more than 300 resolutions that include or focus on business related activities. The range of topics covers in these resolutions varies greatly, including a focus on fisheries, tourism, agriculture, the extractive industries and the business sector in general.
The increased attention on sustainable development as a means to protect nature brought IUCN closer to the corporate sector. A discussion started about cooperation with business, including the question if commercial companies could become IUCN members. The members decided against this, but IUCN did forge a partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development . IUCN renewed a multi-year MOU with them with WBCSD in December 2015.
In 1996, after decades of seeking to address specific business issues, IUCN’s Members asked for a comprehensive approach to engaging the business sector. Resolution 1.81 of the IUCN World Conservation Congress held that year “urged IUCN Members and the Director General, based on the need to influence private sector policies in support of the Mission of IUCN, to expand dialogue and productive relationships with the private sector and find new ways to interact with members of the business community”.
The IUCN Global Business and
In 2012, at the World Conservation Congress held in the Republic of South Korea, the Union adopted a more focused approach to enable IUCN to deliver both on‐the‐ground results and fit‐for‐purpose knowledge products, working with many agencies, including business. The Business Engagement Strategy (2012) calls on IUCN to prioritise engagement with business sectors that have a significant impact on natural resources and livelihoods. These include: large 'footprint' industries, such as: mining and oil and gas; biodiversity-dependent industries including fishing, agriculture and forestry; and, financial services and “green” enterprises such as organic farming, renewable energy and nature-based tourism.
Furthermore, the IUCN Operational Guidelines for Business Engagement offer critical support to the implementation of the IUCN Business Engagement Strategy. First developed in 2006, and then revised in 2009 and again in 2015, they provide a consistent approach to the management of risks associated with engaging business, as well as outline the opportunities between the different types of engagement.
Today, the Business and
CHAMPIONING NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS: 2009 TO PRESENT DAY
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) use ecosystems and the services they provide to address societal challenges such as climate change, food security or natural disasters.
The emergence of the NbS concept in environmental sciences and nature conservation contexts came as international organisations, such as IUCN and the World Bank, searched for solutions to work with ecosystems rather than relying on conventional engineering interventions (such as seawalls), to adapt to and mitigate climate change effects, while improving sustainable livelihoods and protecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
IUCN actively promoted the NbS concept in its 2009 position paper on
At the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016, IUCN Members agreed on a definition of nature-based solutions. Nature-based Solutions are defined as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”. Members also called for governments to include nature-based solutions in strategies to combat climate change . A report, Nature-based solutions to address global societal challenges, was launched at the Congress, and includes a set of general principles for any NbS intervention.
Implementing NbS at scale can help countries achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals. It can also help them achieve the land degradation neutrality goal of the UNCCD, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the CBD, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
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Some key dates in the growth and development of IUCN:
* 1948: International Union for the Preservation of Nature (IUPN)
* 1956: Name changed to the International Union for the Conservation
of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
* 1980: IUCN (together with the
IUCN PROGRAMME 2017–2020
According to its website, IUCN works on the following themes: business, climate change , economics, ecosystems , environmental law , forest conservation , gender , global policy, marine and polar , protected areas , science and knowledge, social policy , species , water and world heritage .
IUCN works on the basis of four-year programs, determined by the membership. In the IUCN Programme for 2017–2020 conserving nature and biodiversity is inextricably linked to sustainable development and poverty reduction. IUCN states that it aims to have a solid factual base for its work and takes into account the knowledge held by indigenous groups and other traditional users of natural resources.
The IUCN Programme 2017–2020 identifies three priority areas:
1. Valuing and conserving nature.
2. Promoting and supporting effective and equitable governance of natural resources
3. Deploying Nature Based Solutions to address societal challenges including climate change, food security and economic and social development.
Unlike other environmental organisations, IUCN does not itself aim to directly mobilize the general public. Education has been part of IUCN's work program since the early days but the focus is on stakeholder involvement and strategic communication rather than mass-campaigns.
HABITATS AND SPECIES
IUCN runs field projects for habitat and species conservation around
the world. It produces the
IUCN Red List
IUCN participates in efforts to restore critically endangered
species. In 2012 it published a list of the world\'s 100 most
threatened species . It wants to expand the global network of national
parks and other protected areas and promote good management of such
areas, for example through the publication of the Green List of
Protected and Conserved Areas. IUCN is the governing body responsible
for the development of the Protected Area Management Categories into
which each protected area is divided depending on its conservation
requirements and management aims. It also developed a standard to
Mongolian Przewalski Horse *
Arabian oryx *
California Condor *
Examples of endangered species and threatened habitats that are the focus of IUCN programs
IUCN has a growing program of partnerships with the corporate sector to promote sustainable use of natural resources. Globally, IUCN collaborates with Black Mountain Mining, Nespresso, Rio Tinto, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd, Shell, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Ltd., the International Olympic Committee, Natural Capital Coalition, Renova Foundation, Tiffany Foundation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and others.
At the national and regional level, IUCN also works with Marriott International in Thailand, the Zambezi Valley Development Agency (ADPP) in Mozambique, Minh Phu – the largest shrimp exporter in Viet Nam, Xingzhitianxia Media Company in China, the Secretariat of the Southern Agriculture Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), Tata Steel in India, Engro Elengy Terminal (Pvt) Ltd in Pakistan, to name a few.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL POLICY
On the national level, IUCN helps governments prepare national
biodiversity policies. Internationally, IUCN provides advice to
environmental conventions such as the Convention on Biological
As an organization, IUCN has three components: the member organizations, the six scientific commissions, and the secretariat.
IUCN Members are states (making IUCN a supranational GONGO ), government agencies, international nongovernmental organizations, national nongovernmental organizations, and indigenous peoples’ organisations. In 2017, IUCN had 1400 members. The members can organize themselves in national or regional committees to promote cooperation. In 2016, there were 62 national committees and 7 regional committees. Stamp commemorating the 1978 IUCN General Assembly in Ashgabat
The six IUCN Commissions involve 16,000 volunteer experts from a range of disciplines. They 'assess the state of the world’s natural resources and provide the Union with sound know-how and policy advice on conservation issues'.
* Commission on Education and Communication (CEC): communication,
learning and knowledge management in IUCN and the wider conservation
community. Members: over 1300
* Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP):
economic and social factors for the conservation and sustainable use
of biological diversity. Members: 1465.
* World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL): developing new legal
concepts and instruments, and building the capacity of societies to
employ environmental law for conservation and sustainable development.
* Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM): integrated ecosystem
approaches to the management of natural and modified ecosystems.
The Secretariat is led by the Director General. For management of its
operations IUCN distinguishes eight geographical regions; each is led
by a director who reports to the Director General.
The IUCN head office is in
GOVERNANCE AND FUNDING
Inger Andersen , IUCN Director General since January 2015
The WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS (Members’ Assembly) is IUCN’s
highest decision-making body. The Congress convenes every four years,
most recently in
The IUCN COUNCIL is the principal governing body of IUCN. The Council provides strategic direction for the activities of the Union, discusses specific policy issues and provides guidance on finance and the membership development of the Union. The Council is composed of the President, four Vice Presidents (elected by the Council from among its members), the Treasurer, the Chairs of IUCN's six Commissions, three Regional Councillors from each of IUCN's eight Statutory Regions and a Councillor from the State in which IUCN has its seat (Switzerland). IUCN's current President is Zhang Xinsheng .
The Council appoints a DIRECTOR GENERAL, who is responsible for the overall management of IUCN and the running of the Secretariat. Inger Andersen is IUCN Director General since January 2015. She succeeded Julia Marton-Lefèvre .
IUCN PRESIDENTS SINCE 1948
* 1948–1954: Charles Jean Bernard
Jean Georges Baer
* 1963–1966: François Bourlière
* 1966–1972: Harold J. Coolidge
* 1972–1978: Donald Kuenen
M. S. Swaminathan
IUCN DIRECTORS GENERAL SINCE 1948
* 1948–1955: Jean Paul Harroy * 1959–1960: M.C. Bloemers * 1962: Gerald Watterson * 1963–1966: Hugh Elliott * 1966–1970: Joe Berwick * 1970–1976: Gerardo Budowski * 1977–1980: David Munro * 1980–1982: Lee M. Talbot * 1983–1988: Kenton Miller * 1988–1994: Martin Holdgate * 1994–1999: David McDowell * 1999–2001: Marita Koch-Weser * 2001–2006: Achim Steiner * 2007–2014: Julia Marton-Lefèvre * since 2015: Inger Andersen
IUCN’s total income in 2013 was 114 million CHF, equaling approximately 95 million Euro or 116 million US dollar. IUCN’s funding mainly comes from Official Development Assistance budgets of bilateral and multilateral agencies. This represented 61% of its income in 2013. Additional sources of income are the membership fees, as well as grants and project funding from foundations, institutions and corporations.
INFLUENCE AND CRITICISM
IUCN is considered one of the most influential conservation
organisations in the world and, together with WWF and the World
Resources Institute (WRI), is seen as a driving force behind the rise
of the influence of environmental organisations at the UN and around
It has established a network covering all aspects of global
conservation via its worldwide membership of governmental and
non-governmental organisations, the participation of experts in the
IUCN Commissions, formal involvement in international agreements, ties
to intergovernmental organisations and increasingly partnerships with
international business. The World Conservation Congress and the World
Parks Congress events organised by IUCN are the largest gatherings of
organisations and individuals involved in conservation worldwide. They
involve governmental organisations, NGOs, media, academia and the
According to some, IUCN is not only a major global player in
conservation action, but also has considerable influence in defining
what nature conservation actually is. The
IUCN Red List
The relevance of the scientific insights and the data that IUCN produces are not often drawn into question, but IUCN has encountered criticism throughout its history. Its actions can still lead to controversy.
It has been claimed that IUCN put the needs of nature above those of
humans, disregarding economic considerations and the interests of
indigenous peoples and other traditional users of the land. Until the
1980s IUCN favored the "Yellowstone Model’ of conservation which
called for the removal of humans from protected areas. The expulsion
This is linked to another criticism that has been directed at IUCN, namely that throughout its history it has mainly been ‘Northern focused’, i.e. had a West-European or North-American perspective on global conservation. Some critics point to the fact that many individuals involved in the establishment of IUCN had been leading figures in the British Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of Empire, which wanted to protect species against the impact of ‘native’ hunting pressure in order to safeguard hunting by Europeans. The fact that at least until the 1990s, most of IUCN staff, the chairs of the Commissions and the IUCN President came from western countries has also led to criticism. Over the past decade, IUCN has changed its approach. It now aims to work in close cooperation with indigenous groups. It has also become more regionalized in its operations and more truly global in its staffing. At the 2016 World Conservation Congress, IUCN introduced a new membership category for indigenous peoples’ organisations in recognition of their role in conserving the planet.
More recently, activist environmental groups have argued that IUCN is
too closely associated with governmental organisations and with the
commercial sector. IUCN’s cooperation with Shell came in for
criticism, also from its own membership. IUCN's close partnership
with Coca Cola in Vietnam - where they have together been launching
Coca Cola focused community centers - has also drawn some criticism
and allegations of greenwashing . Its decision to hold the 2012
World Conservation Congress on
Former and current employees report mixed feelings about their time working with IUCN. On the employment website Glassdoor , 74% of IUCN employees approve of the organization's Director General, Inger Andersen. While many current and former employees speak positively of their time working with IUCN and praise the work environment, support and important work the organization does, others state that leadership can be ineffective, bureaucracy can be difficult, salaries are sometimes too low and career development paths are sometimes unclear.
IUCN has a wide range of publications, reports, guidelines and databases related to conservation and sustainable development . It publishes or co-authors more than 100 books and major assessments every year, along with hundreds of reports, documents and guidelines. In 2015, 76 IUCN articles were published in peer reviewed scientific journals.
A report, released at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney on 13 November 2014 showed that the 209,000 conservation reserves around the world now cover 15.4 per cent of the total land area. The new figures are a step in the right direction of protecting 17 percent of land and 10 percent of ocean environments on Earth by 2020 since an agreement between the world's nations at the Convention on Biological Diversity , held in Japan in 2010.
At its World Conservation Congress in
* ^ The information in the section on history is largely based on Holdgate, M. 1999. The green web: a union for world conservation. Earthscan. For each paragraph in the section one reference to the pages used is included following the header. Where information in the paragraph is based on other sources a separate reference is included in the text
* ^ "About IUCN:IUCN\'s Vision and Mission". iucn.org. IUCN.
Retrieved 27 November 2015.
* ^ "IUCN".
* ^ "About". IUCN. The organisation changed its name to the
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Wikimedia Commons has media related to IUCN—INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF NATURE .
* Official website * Red List * IUCN publications