World Conservation Congress 2016

Enayetullah Khan
Saturday, August 27th, 2016


From hundred thousands of people with hearts of gold, this year 6,000 to 10,000 delegates from around the globe, representatives of 170 governments, leading scientists, NGOs, indigenous peoples and business will convene to take part in the World Conservation Congress 2016, the largest gathering of environmental policy-makers since the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals in New York – a major opportunity to start deciding how to put those deals into action. The Congress, the highest decision-making body of IUCN and instrumental in setting the direction of conservation efforts, will bring together top professionals from all regions and expertise to share knowledge on how our natural environment should be managed for the continued well-being of humanity and all life on Earth. The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 will define the sustainable path for moving the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals from targets to achievements.


This year’s Congress theme “Planet at the crossroads” frames the debate between meeting the immediate needs of human civilization and the long-term impacts doing so may have on the planet’s capacity to support life. The ecosystems that underpin our economies, well-being and survival are collapsing. Species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates. Our climate is in crisis. And it’s all happening on our watch. This is the moment to get it right. In 2015, almost 200 nations agreed on ambitious goals for sustainable development and achieving climate neutrality. These agreements represent a historic opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people around the globe and put nature at the heart of our decisions. It’s time to move these agreements into action. Our window of opportunity is closing. Time is not on our side. The success of these agreements depends on how quickly we turn them into sustainable action. Business as usual is not an option. We must take action now. Our future will be decided by the choices we make now.


This will be the first time the IUCN Congress will be hosted by the United States, home to over 100 IUCN member organizations. The congress will be held in Hawai’i, from 1-10 September. Bringing the IUCN Congress to Hawai’i brings attention to islands, the too-often-forgotten front lines of climate change and small scale representations of conservation issues facing everyone on the planet. Hawai’i is also central to the Pacific Rim, the fastest growing region in the global economy.


WildTeam, a conservation organisation in Bangladesh, will make a Poster Presentation and organize a Knowledge Café at the conference, highlighting the present status of tiger conservation effort in Bangladesh and meaningful engagement of private sector in conservation. In addition, WildTeam will participate in two more events organized by the WWF and Frogleaps.


Ahead of the congress, experts in Bangladesh said natural forests of the country are declining at an alarming rate in absence of effective conservation efforts, leading to the destruction of habitats of many rare plants and wild animals.


“Once about 86 percent of the country’s total forest were natural, but you will now find a very poor volume of area covered by natural forests and it is shrinking at an alarming rate,” said Farid Uddin Ahmed, executive director of Arannayk Foundation, a joint initiative of the governments of Bangladesh and the United States.


Recalling the importance of natural forests in conservation of wild animals, Wildteam Chief Executive Prof. Md. Anwarul Islam said the natural forests, which support safe heaven to wildlife, are getting fragmented in the country day by day, putting wildlife at risk.


The IUCN is a high-profile parliament of nature lovers. Though essentially a recommendatory body, the IUCN wields formidable influence on the wild-related law-making machinery of 166-member nations of the Convention on International Trading in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.


Held once every four years, the Congress is the places where IUCN’s more than 1,200 Member organisations exercise their rights, influence the global conservation agenda and guide IUCN’s work places for the four years to follow.


The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 is expected to be the largest gathering of environmental policymakers since the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals in New York.


Enayetullah Khan is Chairman, WildTeam and Co-founder, Symphony of the Earth.

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