Planet at the crossroads: IUCN World Conservation Congress takes unprecedented action to save the planet

Forest certified to SFI in New Brunswick, Canada.
© Phil Riebel | Forest certified to SFI in New Brunswick, Canada.

Over 10,000 of the world’s leading conservationists came together at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress last week to take immediate action to meet aggressive goals set by 200 nations in 2015. Participants include heads of state, policymakers, CEOs, leading scientists and highly influential non-profit organizations, including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

According to IUCN Director General Inger Andersen, “No IUCN Congress before has come at a more pivotal time for humanity’s relationship with the environment.a”

The historic gathering, themed “Planet at the Crossroads,” took place from September 1-10 in Honolulu. Participants debated solutions for protecting biological diversity, and achieving sustainable development and climate neutrality in a public forum. Members assembled to make firm decisions for moving forward at a bold pace.

“This unique gathering of top minds holds the key to innovation, inspiration and most importantly, action,” IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng said.

Adding to important announcements from dozens of internationally renowned conservationists, IUCN member SFI launched a new effort to measure conservation values, quantifying the benefits that accrue from well-managed forests. The SFI Conservation Impact Project will include specific metrics for the mitigation of climate change, improvement of water quality and maintenance of biodiversity. The scope of the analysis is vast, and includes over 280 million acres/113 million hectares certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard in North America.

According to SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow, “We firmly believe that the future of forests and the environment depends on understanding the contributions of sustainable forest management.”

The IUCN’s collaborative, community-based approach to conservation also closely aligns with SFI’s conservation work. SFI became a member of IUCN in April.

Global Director of IUCN’s Nature based Solutions Group Stewart Maginnis said, "SFI’s work on measuring conservation values in working forests will be an important contribution to the delivery of global conservation and nature-based solutions.”

To find out more about critical conservation needs and how SFI works to meet them, visit sfiprogram.org/conservation and download a printable factsheet.

Planet at the crossroads: IUCN World Conservation Congress takes unprecedented action to save the planet
Over 10,000 of the world’s leading conservationists came together at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress last week to take immediate action against aggressive goals set by 200 nations in 2015.

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