Nature’s Big One: The IUCN World Conservation Congress to Meet in Korea


Around 8,000 delegates will attend the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, from 6-15 September. The Congress is the world’s largest and most important conservation event. Held once every four years, it brings together government leaders, NGOs and top professionals from all regions with a variety of on-the-ground expertise. Together they share knowledge on how our natural environment should be managed for the continued wellbeing of humanity and all life on Earth. The Congress’ theme this year is “Nature+”, which captures the fundamental importance of nature and its inherent link to every aspect of our lives.

Enrique Lahmann, IUCN Congress Director outlines the issues that will be at stake in Korea.


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 can work to strengthen the robustness of nature, we will see that ecosystems are more resilient and people, communities and economies are healthier.”
  • Conservation works. “The apparent slowness of global decision making on environmental issues belies what is really happening on the ground,” says Enrique Lahmann, IUCN Congress Director. “Many local results show that investing in nature and restoring natural areas brings social and economic returns. Even if every success is not replicable across all ecosystems, cultures or political systems, they point the way to making nature more resilient globally.”
  • 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.”

Some of the many VIP attendees at Congress:

  • Lee Myung-bak (President of Korea)
  • H.R.H. Prince Carl Philip of Sweden
  • 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 Klumm (Photographer, National Geographic)
  • Malouma (Mauritanian singer & songwriter)
  • Pierre Yves Cousteau (founder, Cousteau Divers)
  • Achim Steiner     (Executive Director, UNEP)
  • Cristián Samper (CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society)
  • Isabella Teixera (Minister of Environment, Brazil)
  • Maurice F. Strong (former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations)
  • Guillaume Le Cunff (International Marketing & Strategy Director, Nespresso)
  • Rachel Kyte (Vice President of Sustainable Development, The World Bank)
  • Peter Bakker (President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
  • Jochen Zeitz (CEO, Sport & Lifestyle Group of PPR; Executive Chairman, PUMA SE)
  • Henri Djombo    (Minister of Sustainable Development, Forestry Economy & the Environment, Congo Brazzaville)

Spokespersons: Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN

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