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Razan Al Mubarak leads 111th IUCN Council Meeting in Gland, Switzerland

Razan Al Mubarak leads 111th IUCN Council Meeting in Gland, Switzerland
16 May 2024 19:56

GLAND, Switzerland (WAM)

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak is presiding over the 111th meeting of the Council of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which started today in Gland, Switzerland.

Elected to a four-year term as President of the IUCN in 2021, Ms. Al Mubarak is the second woman to lead the prestigious conservation organisation and the first one from the Arab world. Her role at the three-day meeting will be to convene the Council, facilitate discussion, represent IUCN members and help build consensus.

The agenda items include topics of strategic importance, such as a draft of IUCN’s 20-year vision, which the Council is preparing for IUCN members to review and provide feedback on.

“The 20-year strategic vision recognises the unprecedented challenges to the survival of species and our climate that are already painfully evident today,” said Ms. Al Mubarak. “With a scenario of humanity overshooting the 1.5°C target set out by the Paris Agreement becoming more likely, conservation experts are aware that their work will get more challenging but also more vital. Yet, we stand up to the challenge and will scale up our efforts in helping foster a just world that values and conserves nature.”

The Council will also review and assess IUCN’s initial draft programme for the period from 2026 to 2029. This step is the first of many as IUCN prepares the final version of the four-year plan, which will be voted upon by members and adopted at the IUCN 2025 World Conservation Congress in Abu Dhabi from October 9 to 15 next year. Held once every four years, the congress gathers representatives from public institutions, civil society, indigenous peoples, academia, and the private sector.

“In addition to its significance for the global conservation effort, the congress offers an opportunity for host countries to showcase their biodiversity and heritage as well as their environmental leadership,” said Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also the Managing Director of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and leads several other local green initiatives. “This is only the second time that the congress will be held in the Middle East. As a UAE citizen and conservationist, I am very pleased to say that we can showcase many excellent examples of environmental stewardship.”

The IUCN 2025 World Conservation Congress itself is also on the agenda in Gland this week. Delegates are expected to appoint an Election Officer and Deputy Election Officer and discuss the criteria required for the congress’ President, Treasurer, Chairs of Commissions and other important designations.

On Thursday, delegates discussed IUCN's positioning during three major global environment-related United Nations events later this year: the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, where nations seek collective solutions to the biodiversity crisis; the 2024 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP29), where nations seek collective solutions and adaptations to climate change; and COP16 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, where nations seek collective solutions to reduce land degradation and enhance ecosystems.

During these conferences, IUCN is a main proponent of the idea that nature-based solutions—such as reversing deforestation, restoring ecosystems, and improving farm management—achieve both conservation and sustainable development goals. According to Ms. Al Mubarak, nature-based solutions are essential not just for addressing the major threats of biodiversity loss and climate change but also for mitigating other challenges such as disaster risk reduction, food and water security, and public health concerns.

“We have the tools to confront these challenges through nature-based solutions that enhance both environmental and human well-being,” she said. “In this sense, the concept of holistic environmental governance is gaining traction.”

For example, at COP28 in the UAE, the international community acknowledged the indispensable role of biodiversity and nature in combating climate change, said Ms. Al Mubarak who was also the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28.

“'The commitments made at COP28, including halting deforestation by 2030 and pledging $2.7 billion to safeguard forest and coastal ecosystems, represent a pivotal step in our shared efforts,” said Ms. Al Mubarak. ”It is important that this approach persists at COP29 and beyond.”

Source: WAM
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