The International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUNC, is an organization that works to find solutions for the world’s most demanding environmental and developmental issues. IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, and human livelihoods. Their goal is to “green” the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and developing policy, laws and best practice by facilitating the cooperation of governments, NGOs, the UN and companies.
The IUNC is the oldest and largest global environmental organization. In October of 1948 the IUCN was founded to encourage the conservation of nature. The creators of the organization wanted to assemble international support for preserving the lives of plant and animal species and protecting their habitats, especially those were becoming increasingly endangered. It was founded after an international conference which was held to discuss those issues. The organization’s original name, International Union for the Protection of Nature, demonstrates their concern with those issues. This conference was held in Fontainebleau, France and consisted of eighteen governments, seventeen international organizations and 107 national nature conservation organizations (http://www.fni.no/YBICED/97_04_christoffersen.pdf). Eight years later, the organization changed its name to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources which remains the organization’s full legal name today. Briefly between 1990 and 2008 it also used the name World Conservation. Today its headquarters is located in Gland, Switzerland. (www.iucn.org/about/)
The IUCN desires a world that conserves nature and understands the importance of it. As a global organization, they attempt to influence and help different societies in the world to conserve nature’s integrity and diversity. In addition, they wish to guarantee that any use of natural resources is well informed and ecologically sustainable. To do this, the IUCN establishes and supports forefront conservation science, mainly focusing on biodiversity and ecosystems and how they are connected to human welfare. Around the world, they also operate several thousand field projects to better control natural environments. The IUCN works with a number of diverse groups such as different governments, NGOs, international conventions, UN organizations, companies and communities to establish laws and policies that deal with nature. They help these groups with providing resources while also monitoring results. (www.iucn.org/about)
The central mission of the IUNC, as stated earlier, is to conserve biodiversity and to ensure that the uses of natural resources are sustainable. The IUNC has five main priority areas:
– Biodiversity: The IUCN preforms research on the status of biodiversity. It controls developments in order to protect specific species, manage and restore national parks. The IUCN also provides information, standards and tools for biodiversity conservation for governments, community organizations, the United Nations and business.
– Climate change: The IUNC believes that by conserving nature, it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also helping us adapt to the effect of climate change.
– Sustainable energy: The IUCN promotes a speedy shift to sustainable energy sources by providing information regarding the effects of different energy choices on biodiversity and how to regulate these impacts. It also works to guarantee that the energy policies of governments, companies and communities decrease their effect on the environment.
– Green economy: The IUCN works with governments to guarantee that economic, trade and investment policies better integrate biodiversity values.
– Human wellbeing: The IUNC works to help communities and governments better control their ecosystems in an attempt to attain sustainable growth and advance human well-being.
Information from this website: (www.iucn.org/about/work/global_programme/priorities/)
One of the greatest aspects of the organization is the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which was founded in 1963. The Red List is the definitive international standard for species extinction risk that is created by the IUCN experts around the globe. The IUCN Species Programme and IUCN Species Survival Commission evaluate the conservation status of species, subspecies and even selected subpopulations throughout the globe. They do this in order to bring attention to species that are vulnerable to extinction so that they are then able to encourage to their conservation. The IUCN Red List distributes taxonomic, conservation status while also distributing information on plants and animals that they have globally assessed using the IUCN Red List categories and criteria. The main reason for the IUCN Red List is to list and make known plants and animals that are threatened by extinction. Included on the Red List is information on plants and animals that are characterized as extinct, information on species that cannot be evaluated due to lack of information and information on plants and animals that are close to encountering the threatened levels. (www.iucnredlist.org/about) Attached is a chart which shows the different levels of endangerment the Red List uses.
Another characteristic that makes the IUCN an important and vital organization is its enormous membership. The organization consists of over 1,000 organizations, as well as 10,000 different scientists and experts which are organized into six Commissions. The six commissions are ecosystem management, education and communication, environmental economic and social policy, environmental law, protected areas and species survival. Each commission has their own responsibilities. The main concerns and work of the IUCN are established by Member organizations every four years and then coordinated by a qualified secretariat with 1,100 staff in over sixty countries.
As the oldest and largest environmental organization in the world, the IUCN has proved its importance to the world’s wellbeing. It believes that nature provides us with clean air, food, water, shelter, energy, soil, medicines and protection from natural disasters. However, the needs and wants of people have hindered nature. The IUCN has allowed individuals to question what the best decision is regarding human development and the conservation of nature. Though not every detail about the IUNC can fit into this blog, do you think that their efforts have help conserve nature to a great extent or is there a way they can do more? Reviewing the goals and efforts of the organization, do you think it is possible to conserve nature while also developing the world for humans’ wants and needs?