the IUCN Congress focused on three main themes: the post-2020 biodiversity conservation framework, to be adopted by the parties to the UN Biodiversity Convention; the role of nature in the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and the need to transform the global financial system and direct investments into projects that benefit nature. With nearly 6,000 registered participants on site and more than 3,500 online participants, this hybrid event brought together leaders from government, civil society, indigenous, faith and spiritual communities, the private sector, and academia, to collectively decide on actions to address the most pressing conservation and sustainable development challenges.
Resolutions adopted by IUCN Members included a call to protect 80% of the Amazon by 2025, to halt deep-sea mining across the oceans, and for the global community to adopt an ambitious One Health approach. The active participation of Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation Members in IUCN’s democratic process led to a focus on indigenous peoples’ rights and role in conservation in many resolutions. In total, IUCN’s more than 1,500 Members adopted 148 resolutions and recommendations, 39 through a vote at the IUCN Congress in Marseille, and 109 through online voting prior to the event. Among the decisions taken in Marseille was also a resolution for IUCN to create a Climate Crisis Commission, to complement the Union’s existing six Commissions.
Furthermore, in its closing session the IUCN Congress adopted [the Marseille Manifesto](https://iucn.s3.eu-west-3.amazonaws.com/en/CGR-2021-1.6-2_Marseille_Manifesto_IUCN_World_Conservation_Congress_10_ September_2021.pdf), including the commitment to respect and harness the perspectives and agency of all citizens, pursue collaboration and partnerships, moreover highlighting local action as a powerful tool for change. The Congress also encouraged governments, civil society, and the private sector to restore a positive relationship with nature and people by promoting investments in nature, transitioning to a nature-positive economy, and prioritizing investments in nature that advance social justice and inclusion. In addition, the IUCN Congress urged governments, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations and Community-Based Organisations to take actions that drive transformative changes across all sectors and drastically reduce the causes of biodiversity loss by committing to a transformative, effective, and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Last but not least, the IUCN Congress addressed the risks and impacts of the climate emergency, urging ambitious and effective action including at UNFCCC COP 26 and beyond, namely calling governments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen adaptation, and drive a just transition to a low carbon economy.
Commitments announced by state and non-state actors at the IUCN Congress included:
- France’s commitment to promote a treaty on plastic pollution, moreover to achieve 30% of protected areas nationally by 2022, and 5% of its Mediterranean maritime area under strong protection by 2027;
- Greece’s commitment to reduce overfishing by establishing no-takes zones in 10% of their territorial waters by 2030 and to reduce marine plastic pollution by 60%;
- Over 30 subnational governments, cities, partner organisations and IUCN agreed to expand universal access to high-quality green spaces and to enhance urban biodiversity in 100 cities, representing around 100 million citizens by 2025, and assessing their impact according to the Urban Biodiversity Index;
- Under the leadership of Western Indian Ocean states, IUCN and partners committed to support the Great Blue Wall Initiative, the first regionally connected network to develop a regenerative blue economy to the benefit of 70 million people, while conserving and restoring marine and coastal biodiversity.
Last but not least, Members also approved a new programme for IUCN for the next four years and elected new IUCN leadership, including the Union’s new President, Razan Al Mubarak.