Planet at the Crossroads – IUCN World Conservation Congress

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article issued by Ignace Schops, EUROPARC President

Planet at the crossroads

10.000 participants out of 192 countries were present at IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i. If numbers count, this edition was a real success. But even besides the numbers, this edition was remarkably positive!

The prologue came from President Barak Obama, who agreed to create the largest marine protected area in the world, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. As if he could foresee one of the outcomes to designate and implement at least 30% marine habitats in the world.

Ignace schops, iucn world conservation congress

Ignace Schops at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

It was striking and even breathtaking to see and to feel the cohesion the environmental community – or may I say family – across the world. Strong in their commitment to protect all life on earth, powerful to show their responsibility and leadership. Convinced that a systemic and sustainable change is urgent and possible.

In a staggering amount of Workshops, Knowledge Cafés, Forums, etc. we exchanged, discussed, convinced and agreed. We were energized by the words of hope. We became convinced of the power of international and intercontinental cooperation.

Members of EUROPARC Federation were frequently in the spotlights of the conference on several topics.

Surely we can conclude there was the positive interaction at the crossroads. So yes, we bring a strong message back home in Europe! A message of belief, commitment and responsibility to safeguard our precious planet, called home!  

As world leaders call for integration for some time now, it has certainly occurred during this conference. Food & agriculture,  indigenous peoples, the protection of primary forests and industrial no-go zones came up front of the debates. But we have to stay awake!

Biodiversity is essential, climate change is existential!

As they are both sides of the same coin, we need to act now!


Michael Hosek, Councilor of IUCN and Vice-President of EUROPARC Federation

Last but not least I would like to congratulate our vice-president, Michael Hosek, for his re-election as Councilor of IUCN. His involvement and expertise in both IUCN and EUROPARC Federation shows we are convinced of a strong movement of organizations who give voice to biodiversity, protected areas … and all live on earth!


More information about the IUCN World Conservation Congress