Welcome to the bi-weekly digest for IUCN Members and IUCN Commission members.
Message from the Director General
I was privileged to meet many of you in the past few weeks, most recently during my missions to Brazil, the United States, and Germany.
In Brazil, with the support of Justice Antonio Benjamin, former World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) Chair, and with the current WCEL Chair Christina Voigt, IUCN established stronger ties with the new government. Meetings with environmental agencies, and with the Ministers of Indigenous Peoples (pictured), Finance, Agriculture, as well as Mining and Energy, showed the bright promise for the coming years. I also had the pleasure of meeting the IUCN Brazilian National Committee of Members, where we identified ways to strengthen the Union’s presence in this biodiversity rich country. IUCN has much valuable expertise to provide on issues such as the Red List of Threatened Species, land degradation, and environmental policy.
I then headed the IUCN delegation at the UN Water Conference in New York City, where we profiled IUCN’s extensive work on freshwater ecosystems. Among the many activities of the delegation, I was a lead discussant in the Interactive Dialogue “Water for Climate, Resilience and the Environment: Source to Sea, Biodiversity, Climate, Resilience and DRR”. Also, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (pictured) and I agreed to set in motion a roadmap for cooperation between IUCN and WTO. A key outcome of the Conference was a set of commitments to advance water action for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, compiled into a Water Action Agenda. IUCN supports several of these commitments, including the Freshwater Challenge – which seeks to restore 300,000 km of rivers and 350 million hectares of inland waters by 2030.
Lastly, I went to Berlin to take part in a discussion on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) hosted by Germany’s Development Bank, KfW. IUCN developed the FLR concept, and the discussion underlined its potential to benefit nature and livelihoods – while needing to fairly compensate local communities. IUCN can facilitate partnerships and stakeholder engagement to ensure the right kinds of restoration, building on the power of the Union with Members and Commissions, and across multiple sectors.
Dear Members, you will have seen that I will step down as Director General at the end of this year. But I trust the above shows that business goes on as usual, and that Membership engagement will stay at the centre of what we do in IUCN. After all, the most important letter in IUCN is “U” for Union.
Investing in sustainable sub-national climate solutions (video) (in French)
We are pleased to let you know that the nominations for the IUCN WCPA International Ranger Awards will be open from the 15 February to 15 April 2023, after which no more applications will be accepted. More information here.
UNESCO Extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 10-25 September 2023.
Resolutions and Recommendations
After two weeks of negotiations, the 28th Session of the International Seabed Authority ended last Friday without reaching an agreement on a procedure to handle applications for provisional licenses after the two-year deadline triggered by Nauru expires on 9 July. While a growing number of States called for a pause, ban or moratorium on deep seabed mining, it seems possible that a mining license can be provisionally approved by a minority of the 36 member countries of the Council. Hence, the stakes remain high for the nature conservation community.
The ISA Council will meet again from 10-28 July, when the two-year deadline expires, to continue these negotiations. In the meantime, an intersessional dialogue will be convened in order to progress ahead of the July meeting.
In this context, we recall the open letter from IUCN Director General to ISA Members, as well as IUCN Resolution 7.122 - Protection of deep-ocean ecosystems and biodiversity through a moratorium on seabed mining, which calls for a moratorium unless and until a number of conditions are met. These conditions include:
The risks of mining are comprehensively understood and effective protection can be ensured;
Rigorous and transparent impact assessments are conducted based on comprehensive baseline studies;
The Precautionary Principle and the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ are implemented;
Policies incorporating circular economic principles to reuse and recycle minerals have been developed and implemented;
The public are consulted throughout decision-making;
The governance of deep-sea mining is transparent, accountable, inclusive, effective and environmentally responsible.
Resolutions and Recommendations constitute a means through which IUCN Members set the organization’s general policy, influence conservation priorities and find support for moving commitments into action. The whole Union is responsible for their implementation, and we invite you to submit your activity reports on the Resolutions and Recommendations Platform to help us monitor their implementation. Everything you need to know to submit an activity report is in thisUser Guide. Many thanks for your contributions
BIODEV2030 - Inspiring national action
On Wednesday 22 March, partner teams and stakeholders took stock of the three years of BIODEV2030 implementation in 16 countries during a conference organised at the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in Paris, France. Watch the conference webcast here!
During the opening of the event, representatives of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and AFD announced France’s support for a second phase of the BIODEV2030 project which should start in 2023.
In addition to continuing the multi-stakeholder dialogue dynamic, this new phase will focus on translating voluntary sectoral commitments into pilot projects and integrating biodiversity into sectoral public policies on the basis of field experiences.
Great Blue Wall Challenge
UpLink Ocean launches the new Great Blue Wall Challenge. This challenge is calling for solutions to protect and restore marine biodiversity in the Western Indian Ocean. Please help spread the word among your networks and contacts about our new UpLink Great Blue Wall Challenge! The deadline for submissions is 23 April 2023. Click here for the UpLink challenge page: Great Blue Wall Challenge - UpLink - Challenge (weforum.org)
EDGE Protected and Conserved Area Fund: open for applications! Deadline 8 May 2023
The EDGE Protected and Conserved Area Fund is a bold new US$ 5,000,000 partnership to protect and conserve habitat for the world’s most threatened and evolutionarily distinct species. It is a partnership between several IUCN Members/affiliates, including Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, On The Edge Conservation, Re:wild, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Synchronicity Earth and the Zoological Society of London with funding provided by Rainforest Trust. The Fund will provide grants to local Civil Society Organizations that are focused on creating or expanding protected and conserved areas for EDGE species – species that are evolutionarily distinct and at the highest risk of extinction – across the tropics and subtropics. Click here for more information on how to apply.
Online Learning and Webinars
Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) focused on ‘Assessing tourism services in protected areas: value chain and economic analyses’.
Find out more, and register here: https://mooc-conservation.org/courses/course-v1:mooc-conservation+01+2022/about
SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG) trainings. For more information, click here.
Human-Wildlife Conflict & Coexistence - Learning in Practice Webinar Series
Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility (BNCFF) - Investing for Ocean Impact, Podcast
GBV-ENV Center webinar: Engaging men and boys to address GBV in coastal biodiversity management
RedList trainer course - Become a certified RedList trainer
This Digest aims to keep IUCN Members, IUCN staff, IUCN Commission memberand the wider IUCN network up-to-date with IUCN information and opportunities.