Global conservation priorities set at IUCN Congress

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National Broadcasting Corporation of Papua New Guinea, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Limiting illegal trade in threatened species, promoting nature-based solutions to climate change and accounting for biodiversity conservation in the development of renewables are among the first global conservation priorities set at the IUCN Congress.

The 85 motions, including advancing the conservation of the high seas, mitigating the impacts of oil palm expansion on biodiversity, protecting primary forests and closure of domestic markets to all ivory sales, were adopted by IUCN's 1,300 government and civil society members. 

Members have also urged for restrictions on trade in threatened species to exceptional cases only, as defined by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Despite current protection measures at the global and local levels, the species’ survival is at risk due to overexploitation, illegal trade and degradation of its habitat.

Unsustainable fisheries were the focus of another decision drawing attention to the imminent extinction threat facing the Critically Endangered fisheries. 

IUCN’s government and NGO members have urged for a permanent ban to gillnet fishing throughout the entire Pacific Ocean.

IUCN director General Inger Andersen says these critical issues such as illegal wildlife trade will be addressed as each country’s and states adhere to the laws put in place.

Members of IUCN have also defined nature-based solutions as actions that protect and manage ecosystems, while effectively addressing societal challenges, such as food and water security, climate change, disaster risk reduction, human health and economic well-being.

Renewable energy has been the focus of two decisions adopted by IUCN Members, who have encouraged governments to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy plans, taking into account biodiversity conservation.

The members called for enhanced efforts to minimise the impacts of offshore renewable energy technologies on marine life. According to the decision, the international conservation community needs to assess this emerging field and its impacts.

These motions are proposed by IUCN members every four years to set priorities for the work of IUCN - a unique membership union gathering 217 state and government agencies, with 1,066 NGOs, and networks of over 16,000 experts worldwide.