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World Conservation Congress Turns into Rally Cry for Accelerating Global Conservation

As the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress comes to a close, an event that brought together 10,000 conservation professionals and government leaders to develop collaborative solutions to our planet’s most pressing environmental problems, WWF-International issued the following statement from Director General Marco Lambertini:

“The Congress crystalized the importance of accelerating global conservation efforts in order to overcome the growing pressures facing our planet. While the challenges are immense, a strong sense of optimism and hope ran through many conversations and discussions. We celebrated a science that is clearer than ever, awareness at an all-time high, and a wealth of new ideas and commitments.

“Despite the daunting challenges facing our society and the planet, there are growing signs for optimism. Speed and scale in translating commitments into action is now key. The environmental movement needs to act and think differently, embrace disruptive ideas, and drive innovation and conventional partnerships.

“Recognizing that healthy societies and economies need nature to thrive, the conservation community must unite behind a collaborative set of priorities. It must build a solid business case to convince government and business leaders that healthy natural systems must be preserved as a fundamental condition for our wellbeing. We need functioning, rich, diverse and productive natural forests, oceans and rivers. There cannot be a prosperous society in a degraded natural environment.”

“This week’s work set the stage for progress at important global meetings this autumn. At the forthcoming CITES conference in Johannesburg, governments must take aggressive action to protect wildlife and stop the illegal trade driving many species closer to extinction. At the Our Oceans Conference in Washington, leaders must expand commitments to marine protected areas and announce concrete steps to end the illegal fishing that puts the health of our oceans ecosystems and our own food security at risk. At the UN climate change conference in Marrakesh, governments and business must focus on implementing the promises they made in Paris.”