Biodiversity in the Congress spotlight

01 January 2012 | Article

IUCN and the wider global conservation community need to do a lot more of what works. A step change is needed in ambition, urgency, investment and action to conserve biodiversity. We need to do better at proving that conserving biodiversity is not a sacrifice but an opportunity that brings many benefits.

The Congress will help show the world that conservation action works, whether it’s through enacting laws and policies, implementing species recovery programmes, establishing protected areas, restoring ecosystems, the event will showcase examples and provide the momentum for further action.

Congress participants will also work on a plan to ensure the values of nature are better reflected in policy and markets as well as national accounting and planning systems, building on the findings of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study.

The Congress will also engage greater support for IUCN’s work towards the targets set by Government Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity where “By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”

Better knowledge about biodiversity, the threats it faces and the conservation measures that can be taken, will help drive action. By combining world-class knowledge, standards and tools with a mobilized network of Members and partners, real change in policies and action on the ground to conserve biodiversity is possible. The Congress will debate ways to make these tools as effective as possible.

A priority is to expand the coverage of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species by assessing plants, invertebrates and fungi to make it truly representative of biodiversity as a whole. The IUCN List of Threatened Ecosystems will provide information on the elimination risk of ecosystems and complement the information provided by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

But knowledge must be shared and used. The Congress is a prime opportunity to promote the information needed to influence policy and to support action on the ground, particularly action undertaken by IUCN Member organizations.