Throughout its history, IUCN has brought the expertise and influence of its membership to bear on pressing issues, often ahead of their time and with results that steer the course of humanity’s relationship with our planet.
In the 1970s, IUCN senior ecologist Ray Dasmann spotlighted what he called ‘ecosystem people’ – those who depend on functioning ecosystems for survival. Indigenous peoples have been high on IUCN's agenda ever since.
“Our concern is for all life and not just those species that attract our eye through their size or their peculiar scientific interest,” said IUCN’s Senior Ecologist Raymond Dasmann at the Second World Congress on National Parks in 1972.
Gender commitments at IUCN Congress 2016 build on proactive efforts towards gender equality since the 1980's. These have led to groundbreaking knowledge products and policy impacts at global level and at the national level in dozens of countries.
In 2015, 195 countries adopted the landmark Paris Agreement with the aim of enhancing global action to address climate change. IUCN was among the first international organizations to flag the impacts of humans and modern technological development on nature, and call for research, practical action, and international-level coordination to address environmental and climate issues.
The 1972 World Heritage Convention and Protected areas legislation are important mechanisms for achieving biodiversity conservation and protecting human livelihoods. IUCN has been integral to the historical development of the ideas behind these mechanisms and for setting new standards for on-the-ground implementation today.
Working with governments, local communities and other stakeholders, IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) has contributed to reducing poverty, improving livelihoods and healthy ecosystems by helping people access and manage river flows in over 30 countries.
More than 50 years ago, IUCN Members began the call for international regulations on the trade of rare or threatened flora and fauna. The resulting CITES convention has helped protect thousands of species.