On September 3rd, kicked off the first day of the highly anticipated IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, which brings together around 5000 participants from the 3rd to the 11th of September.
Global Youth Summit
One of the highlights of this opening day was also to be found in the Global Youth Summit, moderated by Melina Sakiyama, GYBN co-founder. Following the incredibly successful outcomes of its online segment, which was held in April 2021 and led to the preparation of an outcome statement to be presented at the IUCN Members’ Assembly, the GYS kicked off a week of events, discussions and activities, including a Youth Oasis exclusively devoted to showcasing young people’s leadership in conservation and nature action. A delegation of over 10 young leaders, coming from multiple youth organizations around the world was also welcomed by the project, with some high profile representatives giving inspiring addresses to the GYS audience.
“Youth bring attention to all inequalities but offers recommendations and solutions to these issues.” Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Youth Envoy
They recalled how inclusion and intergenerational equity were concepts that should go beyond presence and “tokenism”, and towards full and effective participation of youth groups in environmental decision-making.
“We do have solutions, but we lack a strong political will. All we need is YOUR action!” Brighton Kaoma, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network
IUCN Local Action Summit
This first IUCN summit for Local Action made the case for investing in nature-based solutions as part of a green recovery. In alignment with the Edinburgh Process and pertaining Edinburgh Declaration, the Summit built momentum towards the adoption of an ambitious and inclusive post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Bérangère Abba, French Secretary of State for Biodiversity explains why cities and regions are central to the successful implementation of this new framework.
“Cities diplomacy shows that local & subnational governments are sometimes more ambitious and transformative. Where states fail, cities can succeed to protect and restore biodiversity !” Michèle Rubirola, Deputy Mayor of Marseille
“The Province of Misiones joined CitiesWithNature and acts to develop a nature positive economy.” Patricio Lombardi, Minister of Climate change
Launch of the Mediterranean : a model sea by 2030 (PAMEX)
The CEO Summit featured a dialogue with industry leaders and IUCN constituencies, including representatives from government and NGOs, exploring the steps business can take to accelerate the transformation to a sustainable society. It was also an opportunity for businesses to issue an urgent call to action to governments, encouraging them to create the policies needed to enable this journey and inspire business to do more to support nature.
“The CEO Summit is taking place in parallel to the Local Action Summit and the Youth Summit. We are here to discuss how businesses can also move from commitment to action” Robyn Seetal, Global Shapers and member of youth constituencies
“Ecological transition is an amazing opportunity for companies” Barbara Pompili, French Minister of Ecology and Environment
Opening Ceremony of IUCN
The meeting delayed from 2020 by the pandemic comes ahead of crucial UN summits on climate, food system and biodiversity that could shape the planet foreseeable future. At the opening ceremony of the Congress, held by France, French President Emmanuel Macron said the conference should laid the “initial foundations” for a global biodiversity strategy that will be the focus of UN deliberations in China in April next year.
“Climate crisis and ecocide risk are deeply intertwined.” Frans Timmermans, EU commission executive vice president
“COP26 in Glasgow next November and COP15 in May 2022: the urgency is to resynchronize both agendas, because those two battles nurture each other” French President Emmanuel Macron
“In the world of finance, what gets measured gets done. We need to better understand the financial implications of biodiversity. TNFD & the EU’s corporate responsibility directive under review are key.” Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank President
“In Marseille, we need to turn the page of irresponsability.“ Benoît Payan, Mayor of Marseille