Venue: Hawaiʻi Convention Center
City: Honolulu, Hawaii
Register: IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016
Description: Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges.
The Congress aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development, but this cannot be achieved by conservationists alone. The IUCN Congress is the place to put aside differences and work together to create good environmental governance, engaging all parts of society to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of conservation.
The Congress is the place where IUCN’s more than 1,300 Member organisations exercise their rights, influence the global conservation agenda and guide IUCN’s work plan for the four years to follow.
The next Congress will take place 1-10 September in the Hawaiʻi Convention Center, in the Hawaiian capital, Honolulu. It is being hosted by the State of Hawaiʻi with the support of the Department of State of the USA.
A Congress with two components
The Forum is a hub of public debate, bringing together people from all walks of life to discuss the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges. It includes many different types of events from high level dialogues to training workshops which explore the depths of conservation and innovation.
The Members’ Assembly is IUCN’s highest decision-making body. A unique global environmental parliament, it involves governments and NGOs – large and small, national and international – taking joint decisions on conservation and sustainability.
Theme of the IUCN Congress 2016: Planet at the crossroads
We live in a time of tremendous change, the nature and extent of which is the subject of intense debate around the world. At the heart of this debate is the clash of immediate human needs with their long-term impacts on the planet’s capacity to support life.
With a timeframe of 15 years, the world has committed to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals – an ambitious agenda for improving human living conditions for all. There is a real sense of urgency in this call to action, as many believe there is a closing window of opportunity to effect meaningful change in Humanity’s trajectory. Our future will be decided by the choices we make now.
The current debate is framed by two competing narratives. One is a pessimistic view of our future which claims that it is already too late to avoid catastrophe, and therefore we must now focus on survival and recovery. This leaves people in despair. The other is a stubborn optimism arguing that Humanity has faced and overcome many great challenges in the past and will continue to do so. This risks indifference and denial.
But there is a viable alternative approach – one that stresses that nature conservation and human progress are not mutually exclusive. Facing tremendous forces of transformation such as climate change and socioeconomic inequality, there are credible and accessible political, economic, cultural and technological choices that can promote general welfare in ways that support and even enhance our planet’s natural assets.
For the alternative path to be credible and viable, we need new partnerships across the planet, between governments, NGOs, conservationists, scientists, consumers, producers, urban planners, entrepreneurs, grassroots and indigenous organisations and financial backers. Each partner holds a vital piece of the puzzle – the knowledge, the tools, the resources. We need to bring these pieces together, and collectively complete the greatest puzzle ever attempted: to secure Nature’s support systems so that Humanity and the greater community of life may continue to prosper on Earth. This is our collective challenge for the next 15 years, and this is the invitation that the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 is offering to the world.