International Union for Conservation of Nature
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|Founded||October 5, 1948 (as International Union for the Protection of Nature)|
|Grethel Aguilar (Director General a.i.)|
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an
Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to
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
IUCN was established in 1948. It was previously called the International Union for the Protection of Nature (1948–1956) and the World Conservation Union (1990–2008).
IUCN was established on
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
Early years: 1948–1956:47–63
IUPN started out with 65 members in
Increased profile and recognition: 1956–1965:67–82
During this period, the IUCN expanded its relations with UN-agencies and established links with the
IUCN began to play a part in the development of international treaties and conventions, starting with the
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.
To establish a stable financial basis for its work, IUCN participated in setting up the World Wildlife Fund (1961) (now the
Consolidating its position in the international environmental movement: 1966–1975:110–124
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 the
IUCN entered into an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme
This period saw the beginning of a gradual change in IUCN's approach to conservation in which it tried to become more appealing to the developing world.
The World Conservation Strategy 1975–1985:132–165
In 1975 IUCN started work on the World Conservation Strategy. 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 Strategy was followed in 1982 by the
In 1980, IUCN and WWF moved into shared new offices in
Sustainable development and regionalisation: 1985 to present day:176–222
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. In 1989, IUCN moved into a separate building in Gland, close to the offices it had shared with WWF. Initially, the focus of power was still with the Headquarters in Gland but the regional offices and regional members’ groups gradually got a bigger say in operations.
In 1991, IUCN (together with UNEP and WWF) published Caring for the Earth, a successor to the World Conservation Strategy.
Social aspects of conservation were now integrated in IUCN's work; 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.
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 increased attention on sustainable development as a means to protect nature brought IUCN closer to the corporate sector. The members decided against this, but IUCN did forge a partnership with the
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 Biodiversity Program (BBP) was established in 2003 to influence and support private partners in addressing environmental and social issues. In 2004, the first IUCN Private Sector Engagement Strategy was developed (in response to Council Decision C/58/41). Most prominent in the Business and Biodiversity Program is the five-year collaboration IUCN started with the energy company
Today, the Business and Biodiversity Programme continues to set the strategic direction, coordinate IUCN's overall approach and provide institutional quality assurance in all business engagements. The Programme ensures that the Business Engagement Strategy is implemented through IUCN's global thematic and regional programmes as well as helps guide the work of IUCN's six Commissions.
Championing Nature-based Solutions: 2009 to present day
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.
At the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016, IUCN Members agreed on a definition of nature-based solutions. Members also called for governments to include nature-based solutions in strategies to combat climate change.
This section does not
Some key dates in the growth and development of IUCN: