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IUCN sets up four new Centres to address nature driven action strategies

IUCN Conservation Centre

These centres are aimed at delivering positive solutions and action-oriented results on the global goals for sustainable development and its own ambitious program – the Nature 2030.

By Salam Rajesh

The global organization International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has set up four new Centres to deliver innovative action strategies for Nature in response to the escalating nature and climate crises worldwide, including the urgent need for greater conservation finance and inclusive governance.

The IUCN’s announcement for the creation of the four new Centres is aimed at delivering positive solutions and action-oriented results on the global goals for sustainable development and its own ambitious program – the Nature 2030.

Explaining on the new initiative, IUCN’s Deputy Director General Stewart Maginnis says, “The biodiversity and climate crises are being fuelled by unsustainable economic and social policies. Without more transformational approaches that invest in people and the planet, we will not achieve new nature or climate targets that are essential for us to protect and improve life on Earth”.

Maginnis further elaborates on the initiative that, “Three of the four new IUCN Centres reflect the key pillars of sustainable development – economics, social and environment. These are underpinned by a fourth Centre on science and data. Together, along with increased awareness and shared objectives, these Centres will drive innovative research and radical new partnerships in close collaboration with IUCN’s unique Membership and expert Commissions”.

“It is important to note that IUCN’s reorganization is not being driven by resource constraints, but on the contrary, so it is better positioned to generate new resources to achieve its ambitious conservation and development agenda”, he says.

The new Centre for Economy and Finance, which is to be led by Chris Buss, will oversee efforts to mobilize and redirect resources needed to meet the global targets on biodiversity and climate change. Through the creation of new business models and economic analysis, the Centre will make the case for investing in nature with the public and private sector.

Under the initiative, IUCN’s will seek to re-engage its relationships on a new note with multilateral agencies, such as the Global Environment Facility and Green Climate Fund; business partnerships, including with the extractives and renewable energy sectors; and growing collaborative finance initiatives, such as the Sub-national Climate Finance initiative and the Coalition for Private Investment in Nature.

The second Centre for Society and Governance, to be led by Dr Radhika Murti, will be responsible for institutional, legal and collaborative efforts aimed at empowering and protecting the rights of a wide range of stakeholders, especially traditionally marginalized communities, women and girls, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and youth.

This Centre will also advance legal concepts and regulations by drawing on technical expertise in its Environmental Law and World Heritage Programs, and address trans-boundary natural resource management issues as well as complex urban and peri-urban issues, vital to sustainable development.

The third Centre for Conservation Action, which would be led by Trevor Sandwith, will oversee IUCN’s cutting-edge work on biomes, including global efforts on land, ocean and species. The Centre will work directly with regional teams to drive conservation and policy action on the ground and apply state-of-the-art knowledge to improve conservation planning, monitoring and results. It will also manage IUCN’s conservation grants programs, BIOPAMA, BEST and Save our Species as well as provide leadership on global initiatives, such as the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and Great Blue Wall, in partnership with numerous stakeholders.

The fourth Centre for Science and Data, to be led by Dr Jane Smart, will further develop IUCN’s longstanding reputation as a leading global authority on conservation science and knowledge, and as a global standard-setter for the collection, assessment and analysis of biodiversity-related data.

This fourth Centre will uphold and curate knowledge to support IUCN-backed standards, such as the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, IUCN Green List of Protected Areas and IUCN Standard for Nature-based Solutions. The Centre is expected to promote collective efforts in enhancing conservation assurance schemes and lead on knowledge management, education and public awareness program activities, in addition to managing the IUCN Library.

The IUCN communiqué said that the organization expects that this new Program structure will continue to evolve over the next six months, and be fully operational by September 2022. In addition, during September 2021, IUCN had announced the creation of an International Policy Centre and a new IUCN Academy, both of which reports to the Director General and maintain strong links with the new Centres.

It may be recalled that the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2010-2020) of the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 called for Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to achieve by 2020 at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape.

Whereas there have been widespread global criticism that the targets set under the Aichi Targets failed to achieve the goals set by the world community. Global organizations such as the IUCN has since then been setting new targets to achieve goals on nature conservation with the climate crisis in view. IUCN is pushing hard for the world community to contribute positively towards its Nature 2030 targets and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

(The writer is member, IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy CEESP. He can be reached at [email protected])

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