34 Facts About IUCN


IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".

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IUCN has a membership of over 1,400 governmental and non-governmental organizations.

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IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations, and plays a role in the implementation of several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity.

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IUCN was established on 5 October 1948, in Fontainebleau, France, when representatives of governments and conservation organizations spurred by UNESCO signed a formal act constituting the International Union for the Protection of Nature.

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At the time of its founding IUCN was the only international organisation focusing on the entire spectrum of nature conservation.

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IUCN started out with 65 members in Brussels and was closely associated to UNESCO.

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IUCN was successful in engaging prominent scientists and identifying important issues such as the harmful effects of pesticides on wildlife but not many of the ideas it developed were turned into action.

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In 1956, IUCN changed its name to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

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IUCN's best known publication, the Red Data Book on the conservation status of species, was first published in 1964.

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IUCN began to play a part in the development of international treaties and conventions, starting with the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

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IUCN supported the 'Yellowstone model' of protected area management, which severely restricted human presence and activity in order to protect nature.

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Also in 1961, the IUCN headquarters moved from Belgium to Morges in Switzerland.

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IUCN was one of the few environmental organisations formally involved in the preparations of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.

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IUCN entered into an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP to provide regular reviews of world conservation.

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The drafting process, and the discussions with the UN agencies involved, led to an evolution in thinking within IUCN and growing acceptance of the fact that conservation of nature by banning human presence no longer worked.

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Sustainable development and regionalisation: 1985 to present dayIn 1982, IUCN set up a Conservation for Development Centre within its secretariat.

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In 1989, IUCN moved into a separate building in Gland, close to the offices it had shared with WWF.

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In 1991, IUCN published Caring for the Earth, a successor to the World Conservation Strategy.

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The members decided against this, but IUCN did forge a partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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IUCN renewed a multi-year MOU with WBCSD in December 2015.

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In 1996, after decades of seeking to address specific business issues, IUCN's Members asked for a comprehensive approach to engaging the business sector.

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IUCN has been involved in minimum energy consumption and zero-carbon construction since 2005 by integrating energy-saving materials, developed by Jean-Luc Sandoz in the footsteps of Julius Natterer.

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IUCN's stated goal is to expand the global network of national parks and other protected areas and promote good management of such areas.

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IUCN has a growing program of partnerships with the corporate sector on a regional, national and international level to promote sustainable use of natural resources.

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Internationally, IUCN provides advice to environmental conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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IUCN has official relations with the multiple other international bodies.

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IUCN Members are states, government agencies, international nongovernmental organizations, national nongovernmental organizations and indigenous peoples' organisations.

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Seven IUCN Commissions involve volunteer experts from a range of disciplines.

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IUCN is considered one of the most influential conservation organisations and, together with World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Resources Institute, is seen as a driving force behind the rise of the influence of environmental organisations at the UN and around the world.

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The World Conservation Congress and the World Parks Congress events organised by IUCN are the largest gatherings of organisations and individuals involved in conservation worldwide.

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Until the 1980s IUCN favored the "Yellowstone Model" of conservation which called for the removal of humans from protected areas.

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Some critics point to the fact that many individuals involved in the establishment of IUCN had been leading figures in the British Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of Empire, which wanted to protect species against the impact of 'native' hunting pressure in order to safeguard hunting by Europeans.

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IUCN has a wide range of publications, reports, guidelines, and databases related to conservation and sustainable development.

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In 2015,76 IUCN articles were published in peer reviewed scientific journals.

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