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IUCN World Conservation Congress Adopts Jeju Declaration, Elects New President

15 September 2012: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress elected Zhang Xinsheng of China as the new President of IUCN, during the Congress held in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Before closing, the 2012 Congress also approved the IUCN Programme for 2013-2016, adopted several other motions, and adopted the Jeju Declaration on "nature-based solutions."

Zhang is co-founder and Executive Chairman of Eco-Forum Global, an independent organization working to build consensus among all stakeholders for development of a green and sustainable future. The Congress also elected a new Council, the principal governing body of IUCN, which includes a Treasurer, Chairs of the six IUCN Commissions and Regional Councillors. Among the elected or re-elected Commission Chairs are: Antonio Herman Benjamin of Brazil (Environmental Law); Aroha Te Pareake Mead of New Zealand (Environmental, Economic and Social Policy); Simon Stuart of the UK (Species Survival Commission (SSC)); and Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich of Mexico (World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)).

The new IUCN Programme focuses on mobilizing and uniting communities working for biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and poverty reduction in common efforts to halt biodiversity loss and apply nature-based solutions.

Among the motions adopted by the Congress are: one on conserving island biodiversity and supporting human livelihoods, requesting the IUCN Director General to undertake an independent review of the Global Island Initiative with due consideration of opportunities to transition the Initiative to an appropriately resourced IUCN Global Island Programme; and one that calls on countries to identify invasive species for priority control, enforce stringent regulatory measures to prevent introduction of invasives, encourage voluntary measures, promote eradication campaigns, and improve collaboration between the SSC and WCPA.

The Congress closed with the adoption of the Jeju Declaration by the IUCN President, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Korea, the Governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and the Chairman of the Korean Organizing Committee, highlighting that IUCN will work to ensure that nature-based solutions will be at the center of the successful delivery of the Aichi Targets, as well as the outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). [IUCN Press Release, 15 September] [IUCN Press Release, 12 September] [IUCN Press Release, 14 September] [Motion on Island Biodiversity] [Motion on Invasive Alien Species] [The IUCN Programme 2013-16] [Nature+: Towards a New Era of Conservation, Sustainability and Nature-based Solutions: Jeju Declaration]