The 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) took place 1-10 September in Hawaii, with the theme Planet at the crossroads. The event had over 10,000 participants from a range of countries, backgrounds, and sectors including the science community, business community, NGOs and policy makers. The IUCN is the world’s largest conservation organization and every four years the conservation community comes together to set priorities, many in the form of formal motions. This conference set the direction following the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.
105 motions were adopted covering a huge range of conservation topics. Many have relevance and importance to the oil and gas industry, the full list of motions can be found on the IUCN Portal. The motions fell into a few high level themes, including protection of endangered species, expansion of legally protected areas (on land and on the high seas), focus on forests and oceans using native knowledge to inform conservation, and recognition of the threat of warming oceans. Messages and highlights from the two-weeks include:
- Significantly, classification around Protected Areas has been strengthened resulting in an increase in ‘no-go’ zones for industrial activities and infrastructure development. One resolution called for all land classified under IUCN protected area categories to be off limits to industrial and infrastructure development. Similarly, another resolution called for an increase to 30% coverage for Marine Protected Areas as part of Aichi Target 11. There was also a call for better guidelines for the management of marine micro-plastics.
- Businesses continue to work to develop biodiversity performance metrics. The topic was discussed in a session at the Congress, highlighting the value of accurate, appropriate and up-to-date data to inform decision making.
- Natural capital continued to be a source of discussion and debate at the Congress with concerns shared from the conservation community on what placing ‘value’ really means and whether this is appropriate. The event also saw the launch of the Natural Capital Protocol Sector Guides.
- The Congress saw the launch of Flora and Fauna International’s Good Practice Guidance for Oil and Gas Operations in Marine Environments. The document aims to pull together existing guidance and good practice to describe potential impacts of activities on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) with recommended management measures. The document will soon be available.
- In alignment with the UNEP 2016 World Environment Day theme, Zero tolerance for the illegal wildlife trade, there were repeated calls and discussions on how to end illegal trade and cruelty to wildlife all over the world.
- Throughout the event, collaboration was highlighted as a key way forward to tackle global issues – the role of Indigenous Peoples, women, and local communities was emphasised. ‘Working together’ ran through into technical discussions where the power of nature-based solutions to climate change was highlighted as a key form of climate management.
Chevron represented IPIECA at the WCC’s Business and Biodiversity Forum at a well-attended session Providing Cross-Sector Leadership for Conservation in Developing and Financing Oil, Gas and Mining: best practice development, collaboration, consultation. This presentation highlighted IPIECA’s work developing and sharing good practices and practical tools with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the Equator Principles Association as part of the Cross Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI).
The IUCN World Conservation Congress provides a valuable forum at which the oil and gas sector can engage with a range of stakeholders to monitor new or emerging trends in the arena of BES issue management whilst also illustrating industry action in this important area. IPIECA will continue to monitor and assess the outcomes to understand any implications for the oil and gas industry.