As the IUCN World Conservation Congress opened today in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, thousands of government and NGO representatives prepared to debate and act on key issues including conserving the oceans, climate change and the role of private investment in nature conservation.
The delegation led by Ramsar’s Secretary General, Martha Rojas-Urrego, is present at the Congress to engage with the world’s leaders, governments, NGOs, grassroots organizations and other stakeholders and underline wetlands’ vital contribution to world’s sustainable development.
At the opening ceremony, the focus was on moving into action. US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, said: "The entire US delegation gathering here is on cloud nine, celebrating President Barack Obama's most recent addition to our national monument system – Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the largest protected area in the world.”
Ocean conservation is one of the key themes IUCN Congress is to decide on, including motions on increasing marine protected area coverage for effective marine biodiversity conservation and on advancing conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, or the high seas.
As he addressed the gathering, the Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, said: “I am committed to protecting 30% of our highest priority watersheds by 2030. Coral reefs provide capital for spectacular marine life and feed us and that is why I am committed to effectively managing 30% or our near shore ocean waters by 2030.”
The President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, spoke of the importance of fighting climate change and protecting the oceans for island nations like Palau.“Today only about 2% of the total area of oceans is protected. Scientists tell us that figure should be at least 30%,” he said. “This is why Palau has sponsored a motion through the IUCN Assembly to adopt a target of establishing marine reserves that fully protect at least 30% of our oceans. And I call on all nations of the world to step up and support this critical motion for the oceans.”
An IUCN response to the Paris Climate Change Agreement proposes to advance nature-based climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions.
Tomorrow, Ramsar's Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego, will be taking part in a high-level dialogue “A Changing Climate: Championing Nature-Based Solutions” advancing wetlands as effective ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change. More about the event here