Green List

Marseille Round-Up: The IUCN Green List Journey at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2021

Posted Thursday 30 September 2021
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The IUCN Green List had a successful Congress journey towards its destination of scaling up globally. With 16 different sessions in three languages, an off-site Awards Ceremony, 15 countries committing over 60 new sites to the IUCN Green List, the launch of new projects and the IUCN Green List Francophone Network, as well as going live on Instagram with a dedicated account – multiple milestones were hit at the IUCN World Conservation Congress!

The IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) is the global knowledge marketplace of conservation science, policy and practice, where the world comes together to set priorities and drive conservation and sustainable development action. IUCN’s 1400+ government, civil society and indigenous peoples’ Member organisations vote on major issues for actions that guide humanity’s relationship with our planet for the decades ahead. IUCN’s unique and inclusive membership gives the Congress a powerful mandate as it is not solely government or non-government, but both together.

Diversity of Sessions

A wide range of topics on the IUCN Green List was covered across the sixteen sessions, with some summary highlights featured here.

The Pavilion session on the IUCN Green Development Plan highlighted and covered the strategic growth direction and ambition for the IUCN Green list in the next 10 years.  The 11 speakers provided an overview of the global targets and key strategic directions, including cross-cutting issues like a marine perspective on the Green List development and the Green List and World Heritage flagship initiative.

The IUCN-Huawei Tech4Nature partnership presented the early fruits of progress from the pilot tech solutions in the flagship countries (Switzerland, China, Spain and Mauritius) in a hybrid event. The program’s goal is to use appropriate technology innovation to aid nature conservation in protected and conserved areas, using the guidance of the IUCN Green List Standard. Participants included IUCN and Huawei Staff, as well as the Director of the Swiss National Park, one of the sites in the flagship countries.

Knowledge and technical training sessions about the IUCN Green List Global Standard were held with Green List experts as well as experiences from the sites, operations team and Expert Assessment groups (EAGLs) were shared. A more in depth “campus” session provided a technical dive into the IUCN Green List Standard and its implementation from site to national to regional levels. Along with an introduction to the four components of the Standard, various aspects of IUCN Green List implementation were presented, followed by a rich variety of practitioner-led roundtable discussions based on experiences around the world. A dedicated session on the good governance component of the IUCN Green List and its importance for the next decade was presented together with the SAGE (site assessment of governance and equity) tool.

Of the other events, was the one held in the plenary hall, to demonstrate innovative ways in which the IUCN Green List is catalysing conservation impact and commitments on the ground. Participants heard about Green List experiences in Peru and Mexico, and new commitments and the motivations behind them from Mongolia and Saudi Arabia. In addition, a unique digital innovation was showcased at this event – the launch of new editions of the Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) for conservation: #NatureCollectibles on zero-carbon blockchain, operated by Porini Foundation.

After the success of the first edition Magpie Robin #NatureCollectible, which sold over 85% of its unique 59 collectibles and raised over 10,000 USD for Nature Seychelles for the conservation of the endangered bird on Cousin Island Special Reserve (an IUCN Green List Candidate site), the partnership is expanded to Shoal Conservation and ProAves Colombia. With the former, it would be to help prioritise conservation action for one of the world’s most threatened freshwater fish species: the Darkedged Splitfin. While for the latter, it would be to support the work underway by the award-winning ranger Ninfa Carianil in the Harpy Eagle Reserve in the Amazon region. This expansion led to the launch of the 2nd and 3rd editions Darkedged Splitfin and Harpy Eagle #NatureCollectibles which are available on the IUCN Green List Marketplace.

More regionally focused was the session led by IUCN South American Regional office, which was centred on the implementation of the IUCN Green List in Latin America, particularly in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. National and cross-border experiences such as that of Selva Maya, the Metropolitan Area of ​​Valle de Aburrá in Medellín (with Cerro El Volador) and Chile’s experience through the National Forest Corporation (CONAF) were shared among other experiences.

This exchange highlighted the IUCN Green List contributions to governance and effective management of protected and conserved areas in the region as well as its benefits to the sites from international validation, recognition and greater visibility. In addition, the session showed how it was used as a stakeholder engagement tool, to bring together public and private actors, authorities and communities, to reach agreements for the conservation of protected and conserved areas.

The IUCN Green List was also featured at a number of partner-led events. The direct linkages and synergies between protected area management effectiveness (PAME) tools and the IUCN Green List was highlighted by Dr. Madhu Rao, a member of the IUCN Green List Management Committee, and who was also elected at Congress as Chair of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas.

Beyond these sessions, in a press conference the COVID-19 tourism recovery for IUCN Green List protected and conserved areas project was launched with our partners from the German International Technical Cooperation Agency GIZ and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project will use sustainable tourism as an instrument to contribute to sustainable development in emerging economies. To pilot the initiative, IUCN will work with two World Heritage sites and five other protected areas in Peru and Vietnam to increase the resilience of the community-based tourism sector to future disruptions.

This was complemented by a session that hosted a practitioners-led virtual exchange from Peru and Vietnam. It focused on how resilient community-based tourism in and around protected and conserved areas can be enhanced to help recovery from impacts of COVID-19 on people and nature. The WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS) and the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation also shared their experiences working with protected area ecotourism and the impacts COVID-19 has had on the sector, along with its implications for conservation, livelihoods and sustainability.​

Awards Ceremony

Beyond this diversity of sessions, the IUCN Green List Awards Ceremony took place off-site, in a location close to a local protected area that is also a Green Listed site – Parc Marin de la Côte Bleue – who generously co-hosted the event with IUCN.

It aimed at not just recognising and celebrating site achievements and partners, but also at creating a moment of gathering and sharing between the Green List Community members. Over 30 sites across 9 countries, over 20 different global partners that are equally engaged in the IUCN Green List mission were recognised. Over a 100 attendees participated in the event, including the Madagascar minister of the Environment, the Laos Ambassador to France, delegation from the Korean Ministry of Environment and National parks Service, Huawei Europe and Huawei France, representatives from the Saudi Royal Commission as well as local political representatives.

Highlighting the importance of social justice in conservation, a key theme of the IUCN Green List programme, Baomiavotse Vahinala Raharinirina, the Minister of Environment of Madagascar announced the commitment of 15 new sites to the IUCN Green List, noting that its holistic approach to conservation for the mutual benefit of people and nature is the appropriate tool to tackle the current biodiversity challenges the country is facing.

The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea, a key donor and partner of the IUCN Green List, emphasised the important recognition that Green List status provides to nature, with Ministry representative Hanchang Choi eloquently stating “The IUCN Green List is a love letter to nature”. The Ministry also reiterated their continuous engagement and support in promoting the Green List in Korea, Asia and globally.

Huawei Technologies Ltd, the first business partner and key donor of the IUCN Green List through the innovative Tech4Nature partnership, highlighted the important role that technology can play to have greater conservation impact as well as contributing to local livelihoods. Philip Herd, Director of Communications, EU Public Affairs at Huawei, stated

Technology plays an important role in sustaining local communities and can help strengthen efforts to deal with the biodiversity crisis, whilst also empowering the general public to be active participants in conservation efforts. With the Tech4Nature partnership, we are exploring the different ways technology solutions can achieve meaningful conservation impacts, with our sights firmly set on the growth potential of this partnership well beyond this initial stage”

Other milestones

On the occasion of the WCC, the IUCN Green List Francophone Network was officially launched. The network brings together 200 members from more than 15 countries, under the goal of exchanging best practices and lessons learnt, working to improve the procedures of the Green List (adaptation of indicators, exchanges with networks of protected areas, relations with international experts) between the different countries.

In the aim to mainstream effective area based conservation work and results and engage younger and wider audiences; a dedicated Instagram account of the IUCN Green List was launched, officially establishing its social media presence on the same occasion.

With this success, the IUCN Green List is set to continue championing and mobilising effective conservation action, recognising and incentivising a high standard of quality for protected and conserved areas globally. This is also of particular and timely importance as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework under the UN Biodiversity Convention is currently being negotiated, and IUCN is specifically calling for (in relation to the IUCN Green List): 1) protection of 30% globally of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, in equitably governed and effectively managed and connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, including all key biodiversity areas; and, 2) Use of the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas Standard to ensure that new and existing protected and conserved areas are effective in achieving their biodiversity and social outcomes, fully respecting the rights, custodianship and participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

Read more:

IUCN news story: IUCN | Huawei Tech4Nature Progress at IUCN World Conservation Congress

Huawei Press relese: Huawei Announces Cooperation Progress with IUCN on Tech4Nature at WCC 2021

Euronews article: Huawei and partners help protect biodiversity through intelligent technology

DW article: Alemania destinará millones de euros para apoyar el turismo en Perú

Nature Seychelles: Press release: The Seychelles Magpie Robin becomes the world’s first ‘digital species’ and it’s for sale!

Nature Seychelles: Risks, Rewards and Robins: The Seychelles Magpie Robin Goes Digital

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