Dear IUCN Members,
IUCN Council wrapped up the second part of its 107th meeting in Switzerland a few weeks ago. This was our first in-person meeting since Congress.We had a very successful and productive meeting that I want to tell you about, now that the Council Decisions are available on the IUCN website.
I arrived in Switzerland for the Council meeting with an unwelcome companion, Covid-19. As a result, I participated in the meetings from isolation which was certainly not my original plan. Fortunately, IUCN Council Vice Presidents Peter Cochrane (Australia) and Hilde Eggermont (Belgium) were deputised to help manage the deliberations. I owe my sincere gratitude to all Council members for working together, collegially, to realise a successful conclusion to our deliberations, many of which I am pleased to highlight in this email message.
One of the most important decisions by Council was the appointment of Mr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal as Interim Chair of the IUCN Climate Crisis Commission. You can read more about Mr. Pulgar-Vidal in this article on the IUCN website. I am looking forward to working with Mr. Pulgar-Vidal to help guide the establishment of this new IUCN Commission, and to work in cooperation with all the IUCN Commissions which are already engaged and to collectively leverage our message and impact on climate change.
I am particularly excited to announce that the Council approved and commended the Director General for the positive financial results achieved in 2021, despite the economic and logistical challenges of the ongoing pandemic. Most of the financial surplus will be allocated to IUCN’s reserves; however, a portion of the funds were allocated to key priorities of some IUCN Commissions.
Furthermore, Council set a roadmap for its 2022-25 priorities and objectives. Most of these relate to implementing Resolutions and Decisions that Members voted on at the World Conservation Congress. such as developing a 20-year strategic vision. We also agreed that a Strategy Project committee, which will include individuals nominated by IUCN Members and the voice of youth, will help lead this project under the management of the Director General. A key priority of Council will also be to enhance the membership value proposition and strengthen IUCN’s international positioning.
A two-day retreat at the beginning of the week allowed Council members to get to know one another, and more importantly, align our roles and responsibilities with IUCN’s One Programme Approach. As part of the retreat, we exchanged knowledge and perspectives with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where we had meaningful discussions about plastic pollution and the role of trade, agriculture, and food security, as well as the state of the negotiations on fisheries subsidies.
Lastly, I would like to highlight that Council had extensive discussions on the proposed IUCN engagement with TotalEnergies and considered letters from various IUCN Members including from France and Uganda. We decided to postpone the decision about engaging with TotalEnergies until a number of additional assessments can help contribute to a more informed decision. For engagement of this type, we want to ensure that IUCN plays the role it should in guiding business transformations and ensure that proper risk threshold and safeguards are in place. The Bureau was tasked with establishing a Council Working group on the issue and we will also take the opportunity to consult with the Interim Chair of the Climate Crisis Commission on such engagement. I will be reporting to you on our progress.
The minutes of the Council meeting will be posted online and in the meantime, I am pleased to share a summary document that highlights some key outcomes of the meeting.
Razan Al Mubarak President, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) www.iucn.org