As climate and biodiversity emergencies escalate, the IUCN’s World Conservation Summit, originally slated to be held in 2020 but postponed to 2021 came to a close in Marseille, France today. The weeklong program was held in part on site and part remote due to the continuous threats posed by the pandemic.
The congress identified that the climate and biodiversity crises were not two but one with truly horrible human activities infinitely compounding an already extremely dangerous problem. A key theme of the sessions was that the environment and human beings were inseparable and that any response to these crises must be mutually reinforcing, implying that the harmonization of the human-environment interface which the Green Movement has promoted for so long is in fact a foundation for conservation.
The Marsielle Manifesto, the outcome document of the convention recognizes that the world has one nature and one future and as such commits itself to respecting and harnessing the perspectives and agency of all citizens, the pursuance of collaborative partnerships and local action as a tool for significant change. It also underscores the fact that the pandemic proved the unsustainable relationship that human beings have with nature and the way in which it amplified inequities within and between communities as well as between the global north and global south.
Particular attention was given in the manifesto to the rights of indigenous and local communities while additionally and significantly, noting that they were the leaders and custodians of conservation. There was also much focus placed on initiatives such as the WIO IUCN partners’ Great Blue Wall initiative.
Furthermore, the manifesto calls for positive public, private, people partnerships through promoting investments in nature – especially those that promote social justice and inclusion as well as transitioning to a nature-positive economy.
In terms of biodiversity, the document calls for a transformative, effective and ambitious post 2020 global biodiversity framework that includes cultural shifts in relationships with nature to ensure its conservation, restoration and sustainable use.
Noting the congruence of the climate and biodiversity crisis it calls for urgently reducing GHGs with the overarching messaging being action from all, by all.