Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) is busy planning its participation in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) from 3-11 September in Marseille, France.
The WCC is IUCN’s official decision-making body of its member organizations that meets every four years. The Congress is a massive meeting of wildlife conservationists, a democracy of state and NGO actors, with high-level forums, floor exhibitions, and side events, that is fundamental to addressing large scale environmental issues and developing the global agenda for biodiversity. SCIF first became a science-based member of IUCN in 2016 and attended the last WCC hosted by the United States in Hawaii.
This year’s Congress was set to kick off the next decade of biodiversity frameworks before COVID-19. IUCN and the host government of France have managed to plan the WCC through the difficult challenges of convening thousands of people from around the world during all the pandemic’s uncertainty. This postponed WCC will now be a hybrid setting allowing for remote access to nearly all the activates. SCIF will be attending both ways with an in-person delegation and staff monitoring the issues virtually.
SCIF has been tracking the developments closely, engaging in the process virtually, and working with our partner organizations in support of sustainable use. Already 128 motions were voted on electronically this past year. Elections for IUCN President and other important positions will be conducted online while a number of governance issues and new urgent motions remain to be addressed on-site by the Members’ Assembly. One of many themes of the Congress will be the One Health approach to healing with nature.
The WCC will unfortunately not be the grand ceremony and networking opportunity that everyone wants, yet SCIF will be present to represent hunting and as a voice for sustainable use. A major issue will be the equitable representation of IUCN members from regions that have not had the same level of access to vaccines. Many important stakeholders are unable to travel due to health concerns and ongoing restrictions, especially as the Delta variant continues to cause concern.
Stay tuned for more information and learn more about the IUCN WCC here.
Joe Goergen is the Conservation Manager for SCIF, and staff lead on IUCN, CITES and other international regulatory issues.