The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress began on September 3, 2021, in Marseille, France. This is the world’s largest and most inclusive environmental forum built to tackle biodiversity, nature-based recovery, and climate change. Their key message is that disappearing species and the destruction of ecosystems are just as threatening as global warming.
According to Africa News, UN biodiversity experts have held crucial summits on the state of the planet in the past. In 2019, they warned that millions of species are on the brink of extinction and that the planet is on the verge of its sixth mass extinction event in 500 million years.
Reversing habitat destruction, unsustainable agriculture, mining, and warming the planet will dominate this year’s discussions. This nine-day conference will measure how close animal and plant species are to vanishing permanently due to habitat loss, overexploitation, and illegal trading. Big cats, for example, have lost more than 90 percent of their range and population; only 20,000 lions, 7,000 cheetahs, 4,000 tigers, and a few dozen Amur leopards are left in the wild.
IUCN Chief Bruno Oberle advised the following:
“We are facing huge challenges. We are seeing the climate changing and impacting hugely our societies.”
“We are seeing biodiversity disappearing and the pandemic hitting our economies, our families, our health.”
Indigenous people, for the first time in IUCN’s seven-decade history, will also be invited to share their knowledge on how to heal the natural world. For example, rampant deforestation and climate change are pushing the Amazon towards a fatal tipping point, which is having a direct effect on the natives who live in those areas. So motions for this year’s conference will include protecting 80 percent of Amazonia by 2025, tackling plastic in the oceans, combating wildlife crime, and preventing pandemics.
Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, the lead coordinator for Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA), stated the following:
“We are demanding from the world our right to exist as peoples, to live with dignity in our territories.”
These are some much-needed discussions. I’ll keep you all updated on any additional information.
Until Next Time…
Photo Credit: Twitter
IUCN World Conservation Congress opens in Marseille and online. IUCN. (2021, September 3). https://www.iucn.org/news/secretariat/202109/iucn-world-conservation-congress-opens-marseille-and-online.
World’s leading global conservation congress opens in Marseille. Africa News. (2021, September 4). https://www.africanews.com/2021/09/04/world-s-leading-global-conservation-congress-opens-in-marseille/.