IUCN World Conservation Congress to set the global path for nature conservation

The IUCN World Conservation Congress – the world’s largest and most inclusive environmental decision-making forum – will meet in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi from 1 to 10 September 2016 to define the global path for nature conservation for the years to come.

Hawaii Convention Centre Photo: Tourism Authority / Dana Edmunds

Over 8,300 delegates from 184 countries, including Heads of State and other high-level government officials from various organisations are expected to attend the IUCN Congress.

The IUCN Congress will be held under the theme ‘Planet at the crossroads’, emphasising that nature conservation and human progress are not a zero-sum game, and that credible and accessible choices exist that can promote general welfare while supporting and enhancing our planet’s natural assets.

This will be the first time the IUCN Congress will be hosted by the United States, home to over 100 IUCN Member organisations.

Key issues that will be discussed at the Congress include wildlife trafficking, ocean conservation, nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and private investment in conservation.

At the Congress, IUCN’s 1,300 member organisations – some of the most influential government and civil society organisations from more than 160 countries – will collectively decide on actions to address the most pressing and often controversial conservation and sustainable development challenges. Around 100 motions are expected to be adopted by this unique global environmental parliament of governments and NGOs, which will then become IUCN Resolutions or Recommendations calling third parties to take action.

Some of the motions to be voted on at the IUCN Congress include:

Media announcements at the Congress:

  • Balancing whale conservation with oil & gas development report – Announcement from IUCN, WWF and the International Fund for Animal Welfare on the work of the Western Grey Whale advisory panel (3 September)
  • Announcement from the National Geographic Society (3 September)
  • Update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ – The IUCN Red List is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of plant, animal and fungi species. Each update of the IUCN Red List reveals new information about the status of species that have been assessed (4 September)
  • Ocean Warming report – Launch of the Ocean Warming report including the most up to date, comprehensive analysis of what we know about ocean warming and its consequences for biodiversity, ecosystem services and humans (5 September)
  • Announcement of new ocean Hope Spots (9 September)
  • State of Hawai’i briefings – Daily briefings from the host community highlighting local conservation issues
  • Policy announcements.


Click here to see the most up to date list of scheduled press conferences.


High Level Sessions – Sessions during the Forum will feature internationally recognized experts, politicians and CEOs, focussing on the following topics:

A Changing Climate: Championing Nature-Based Solutions (2 September)

Private Finance for Public Good (2 September)

Conservation 2.0: Empowering Next Generations (3 September)

Everybody’s Business: Ending Wildlife Trafficking (3 September)

Actions for a Sustainable Ocean (4 September)

Connections: Spirituality and Conservation (5 September)

Interview opportunities – The Congress will provide a unique opportunity to interview Heads of State and other high-level government officials, leaders, decision-makers and technical experts from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia.


Confirmed speakers include (view complete list):

  • Ms Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO
  • Mr John Scanlon, Secretary-General, Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora
  • Mr Braulio Ferreira de Sousa Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Mr Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UNEP
  • Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
  • HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
  • Ms Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, United States
  • Ms Catherine A. Novelli, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, USA
  • Dr Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans & Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, USA
  • Dr Jane Goodall, Founder, Jane Goodall Institute
  • Mr Thomas Friedman, Foreign Affairs Columnist and Author, The New York Times, USA




1 September schedule of events:


  • 6:00 AM Kahanamoku Beach, Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort  - Arrival of traditional double hulled canoes Wa’a with Pacific Island leaders on board for a traditional Hawaiian welcome. The canoes represent the voices of the Pacific communities calling for a sustainable Pacific Ocean and a sustainable planet.
  • 10:00 AM, Neal S. Blaisdell Center – IUCN World Conservation Congress Opening Ceremony
  • 12:15 PM, Neal S. Blaisdell Center – IUCN World Conservation Congress opening press conference
  • 6:00 PM, Hawaiʻi Convention Center – IUCN Congress Opening Reception, featuring Jack Johnson, a Hawaiʻi-born musician, actor and filmmaker, active in the sustainability movement.

In order to attend the IUCN Congress Opening Ceremony and the opening press conference, accredited media are invited to convene at the Hawai'i Convention Center on 1 September at 6AM.

For more media information, including daily morning media briefs, daily highlights, the latest news and announcements, please visit the online press centre.

Download the mobile app to receive the latest news and announcements.

Covering from afar?


  • Click here to access the live streaming of IUCN Congress press conferences, and the official Opening and Closing ceremonies
  • Check the IUCN Congress online press room for latest updates
  • Sign up to receive latest IUCN Congress news

Why attend the Congress:

“The IUCN Congress will set the course for using nature-based solutions to help move millions out of poverty, creating a more sustainable economy and restoring a healthier relationship with our planet.” – Jim Kim, President, World Bank Group

 “I wouldn’t miss the IUCN World Conservation Congress. If we don’t now take the decisions we need to protect these ecosystems for the future, it will be an unforgivable sin to our children and to our children’s children. So I can’t think of anything more important to be doing with my time.” – Thomas Friedman, New York Times

“The tragedy of our global environment commons, from land degradation to climate change, pollution, overfishing or biodiversity loss, is playing out before our eyes. We can address it if we work together and the IUCN Congress is a great place to engage in this critical priority for people and the planet.” – Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility

“We’re all in this together. It’s time to be bold. It’s time to take action. There’s no time to lose, so let’s make it count in Hawaiʻi.” – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former Minister of Finance, Nigeria


Media registration: click here to request media accreditation.

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More information: http://2016congress.iucn.org/

For more information, please contact:

Ewa Magiera, IUCN Media Relations, mobile +41 76 505 33 78, e-mail: ewa.magiera@iucn.org

IUCN Congress Media Team, e-mail: congressmedia@iucn.org

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