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Nature’s Olympics IUCN World Conservation Congress

Nature’s Olympics IUCN World Conservation Congress: Jeju, Republic of Korea, 6-15 September, 2012

Background: A number of concerned groups and individuals have recently called on IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) to postpone or cancel its Congress and to express disapproval on several environmental issues in Korea, including construction of a naval base on Jeju Island, scientific whaling and the Four Rivers restoration project. IUCN is committed to ensuring that Congress provides a platform for open and constructive dialogue on these issues and is working with the Korean Organizing Committee to engage with all groups and address their concerns at the meeting in Jeju.

Held once every four years, IUCN’s World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most important conservation event, as well as the birthplace of ground-breaking environmental conventions, scientific discoveries and global initiatives. This year, around 8,000 delegates—including government leaders, NGOs and top professionals from all regions with on-the-ground expertise—will attend Congress on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. Be there to hear new insight and see key agreements on how to manage our natural environment come to life.

Key Issues:

Nature+ is about boosting natural resilience. “Nature is inherently strong, but we must improve how quickly nature and people adapt to change,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN. “If we strengthen nature, we’ll see that ecosystems are more resilient and people, communities and economies are healthier.”

Conservation works. “The slowness of global decision making on environmental issues belies what’s really happening on the ground. Many local results show that investing in nature and restoring natural areas brings social and economic returns. Even if every success isn’t replicable across all ecosystems, cultures or political systems, they point the way to making nature more resilient globally,” Enrique Lahmann, IUCN Congress Director.

Nature provides solutions to climate change adaptation. “Ecosystem-based adaptation is a cost effective, no-regrets solution that governments ought to incorporate proactively into national policies and take immediate action to implement on the ground,” says Chong-Chun Kim, Secretary General of the Korean Organizing Committee. “Improving the management of river systems, coral reefs, mangroves and forests all tangibly improve the resilience of neighboring communities to deal with both the sudden and long-term consequences of climate change.”

Some of the many VIP attendees at Congress:
• Lee Myung-bak (President of Korea)
• Sylvia Earle (American author and oceanographer)
• Bharrat Jagdeo (former President of Guyana)
• Iruka (Japanese singer & songwriter)
• Michael Mack (CEO, Syngenta)
• Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji (Former Prime Minister, Bhutan)
• Suk-Chae Lee (Chairman, Korea Telecom)
• Mattias Klum (Photographer, National Geographic)
• Malouma (Mauritanian singer & songwriter)
• Cristián Samper (CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society)
• Achim Steiner (Executive Director, UNEP)
• Maurice Strong (former Under-Sec Gen of the UN)
• Rachel Kyte (VP of Sust Dev, The World Bank)
• Guillaume Le Cunff (Int Mkt & Strategy Dir, Nespresso)
• Peter Bakker (Pres, WBCSD)
• Henri Djombo (Minister of Env, Congo Brazzaville)

For more information about the IUCN World Conservation Congress:

• Congress website:
• Congress fact sheets:
• IUCN on Korean environmental issues:
• Image gallery:

Videos of Congress themes:

• Nature+ climate:
• Nature+ development:
• Nature+ food:
• Nature+ life:
• Nature+ people and governance:

About IUCN
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries.

IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.


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