The German government has officially recognised the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an intergovernmental organisation, a move observers believe reaffirms the Union’s role on the global environmental and development stage.
On Wednesday, 25 January 2017, the German Cabinet passed a regulation defining the legal status of IUCN as an “organisation created by intergovernmental agreement”. This decision recognises the official functions IUCN carries out on behalf of its Member States and affords the Union a range of rights and benefits. The new legal status will allow IUCN to build on its strong presence in the city of Bonn, home to the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. The regulation will now go to the “Bundesrat”, a legislative body that represents the 16 Länder (federal states) of Germany at the national level, for ratification in March 2017.
“IUCN is grateful to the German government and warmly welcomes this important recognition,” says IUCN Director General, Inger Andersen. “This opens up new opportunities to boost international cooperation on environmental issues. IUCN’s new legal status will reinforce IUCN’s already strong relationship with Germany. It will also allow us to strengthen our collaboration with key international partners based in Bonn, such as the UNFCCC, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species.”
“This decision recognises IUCN’s important role in global efforts to conserve nature. It also reaffirms the position of the city of Bonn as a hub of international cooperation and the headquarters for international institutions and organisations,” says the German Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks.
Founded in 1970, the IUCN Environmental Law Centre in Bonn is recognised as a leading global centre of excellence in environmental law. The Centre houses a joint initiative between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and IUCN, providing web-based access to the three organisations’ environmental law information as well as two extensive libraries.
“This decision reaffirms Germany’s commitment to IUCN and to the Environmental Law Centre,” saysAlejandro Iza, Director of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. “Germany and the city of Bonn have been excellent hosts for over four decades, and this recognition opens up new avenues of collaboration.”
IUCN and Germany have a long history of very close collaboration. The German government has been an IUCN State Member since 1958 and has provided significant support for IUCN’s work on issues including tiger conservation and protected areas.
In 2011, IUCN and Germany launched the Bonn Challenge – a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s degraded and deforested lands by 2020. With over 136 million hectares pledged, the Challenge is within close reach of achieving its 2020 target.
IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.
IUCN is considered the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation, with almost 1,300 government and NGO members and more than 15,000 volunteer experts in 185 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by almost 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.