Nature’s Olympics - IUCN World Conservation Congress: Jeju, Republic of Korea, 6-15 September, 2012

02 August 2012 | Media advisory

A number of concerned groups and individuals have recently called on IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) to postpone or cancel its Congress and to express disapproval on several environmental issues in Korea, including construction of a naval base on Jeju Island, scientific whaling and the Four Rivers restoration project. IUCN is committed to ensuring that Congress provides a platform for open and constructive dialogue on these issues and is working with the Korean Organizing Committee to engage with all groups and address their concerns at the meeting in Jeju.

Held once every four years, IUCN’s World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most important conservation event, as well as the birthplace of ground-breaking environmental conventions, scientific discoveries and global initiatives. This year, around 8,000 delegates—including government leaders, NGOs and top professionals from all regions with on-the-ground expertise—will attend Congress on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. Be there to hear new insight and see key agreements on how to manage our natural environment come to life.

Media registration: http://events.iucn.org/wcc2012/

Key Issues:

• Nature+ is about boosting natural resilience. “Nature is inherently strong, but we must improve how quickly nature and people adapt to change,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN. “If we strengthen nature, we’ll see that ecosystems are more resilient and people, communities and economies are healthier.”

• Conservation works. “The slowness of global decision making on environmental issues belies what’s really happening on the ground. Many local results show that investing in nature and restoring natural areas brings social and economic returns. Even if every success isn’t replicable across all ecosystems, cultures or political systems, they point the way to making nature more resilient globally,” Enrique Lahmann, IUCN Congress Director.

• Nature provides solutions to climate change adaptation. “Ecosystem-based adaptation is a cost effective, no-regrets solution that governments ought to incorporate proactively into national policies and take immediate action to implement on the ground,” says Chong-Chun Kim, Secretary General of the Korean Organizing Committee. “Improving the management of river systems, coral reefs, mangroves and forests all tangibly improve the resilience of neighboring communities to deal with both the sudden and long-term consequences of climate change.”

Opportunities/Material for Media:

• Media briefing - Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club - 15H00 Monday 3 September
• A dedicated web portal with features, news, audio, video and photos for media to download: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org/news___press/press/
• Daily press briefings and meet the press sessions during Congress, including:
- Key IUCN Red List of Threatened Species news
- Latest from TEEB, WBCSD and World Bank
- Grey Whale Project-related update
- New Forest Landscape Restoration commitments
- Protected Planet Report
• Access to one-on-one interviews with VIP attendees at Congress
• Photo opportunities–a range of events will be organized in Jeju Island
• World Leaders Dialogues, major names discussing the big environmental issues of the day
• Daily on-the-ground stories from Congress via host broadcaster feed, IUCN’s website and social media channels
• Live webcasts of main events and major press conferences

Some of the many VIP attendees at Congress:

- Sylvia Earle (American author and oceanographer)
- Bharrat Jagdeo (former President of Guyana) - Iruka (Japanese singer & songwriter)
- Michael Mack (CEO, Syngenta) - Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji (Former Prime Minister, Bhutan)
- Suk-Chae Lee (Chairman, Korea Telecom) - Mattias Klum (Photographer, National Geographic)
- Malouma (Mauritanian singer & songwriter) - Cristián Samper (CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society)
- Achim Steiner (Executive Director, UNEP) - Maurice Strong (former Under-Sec Gen of the UN)
- Rachel Kyte (VP of Sust Dev, The World Bank) - Guillaume Le Cunff (Int Mkt & Strategy Dir, Nespresso)
- Peter Bakker (Pres, WBCSD) - Henri Djombo (Minister of Env, Congo Brazzaville)
- Bianca Jagger (social and human rights advocate)

Spokespersons:

Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN; Nature + Climate Change, Stewart Maginnis, IUCN’s Global Director of Nature Based Solutions, e stewart.maginnis@iucn.org; Nature + People, Gonzalo Oviedo, IUCN Senior Adviser, Social Policy, e gonzalo.oviedo@iucn.org; Nature + Development Andrew Seidl, Head of IUCN Economics and Environment Programme, e andrew.seidl@iucn.org; Nature + Life, Jane Smart, IUCN Global Director Biodiversity Conservation Group, Species Programme, e jane.smart@iucn.org; Nature + Food, Mark Smith, Director, IUCN Global Water Programme, e mark.smith@iucn.org.

Media team:

Borjana Pervan, IUCN Media Relations, m +41 79 857 4072, e borjana.pervan@iucn.org
Maggie Roth, IUCN Media Relations, m +1 202 262 5313, e maggie.roth@iucn.org

Live streaming will be available for:
 Events in the main plenary hall, including World Leaders Dialogues & Opening/Closing Ceremonies.

For more information about the IUCN World Conservation Congress:

• Congress website: www.iucn.org/congress
• Congress fact sheets: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org/news___press/press/fact_sheet/
• IUCN on Korean environmental issues: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org/about/korean_environmental_issues/
• Image gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iucnweb/sets/72157627514768600/show/
• Videos of Congress themes:
- Nature+ climate: http://youtu.be/eBUcME6p8P0
- Nature+ development: http://youtu.be/JUlB5KDA5tU
- Nature+ food: http://youtu.be/npCJCwY9qLw
- Nature+ life: http://youtu.be/a88WNJDGJOg
- Nature+ people and governance: http://youtu.be/dutAs65Wb3