At World Conservation Congress, participants call for fairer rules

Is it possible to organize a big global meeting in a fair way during a pandemic? The question is urgently raised in the middle of the meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Marseille. Some of its members call for reviewing the organization of the congress to make it more inclusive, through a motion to be debated on Wednesday, September 8, and to which France is opposed. Echoing these concerns, more than 1,500 organizations called for the postponement of the world climate conference (COP26) scheduled for October in Scotland on Tuesday, believing that it could not be «Ni juste ni inclusive».

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In Marseille, the motion tabled on 1is September calls for it to be possible to vote online, within a month, on almost all of the proposals for “High importance”, “Particularly controversial” Where “Urgent”, which will be discussed from Wednesday to Friday during the general assembly of members. It is these texts which, once adopted, establish the main rules and priorities in terms of nature protection at the global level for the coming years. Currently, the organization of the congress provides that only members present in France can vote – those absent can entrust their voting rights to a delegate in Marseille.

“Need to work all together”

“We need to make decisions but we also need to work together, says Vance Martin, president of the American NGO Wild Foundation. People are beginning to understand the catastrophic state in which nature finds itself, but this challenge must be met with integrity and unity. It is above all a question of principle. “

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The Covid-19 pandemic has largely hampered the movement of members. Those from countries in the red zone were only allowed to come to France if they had received a vaccine recognized in Europe. “We are fighting to survive in this period of Covid-19, many have less financial resources, so getting out of your country is very complicated”, confirms Ernesto Herrera Guerra, CEO of the Mexican NGO Reforestamos and chair of the IUCN Mesoamerican Region Committee. For those who have stayed at home, the time difference or technical difficulties make it difficult to follow the discussions remotely.

The IUCN affirms that a sufficient number of voters is present in Marseilles so that the quorum is reached during the assembly of the members, without communicating official figures. According to the American media Politico, who says, in a newsletter sent to its subscribers, to have been able to consult registration registers, nearly half of the 593 members of the IUCN who are in France and will be able to vote are from Western Europe, less than 10 % are Africans, 6.8% are from Central and South America, 15% are from North America and the Caribbean, and less than 8% are from South and East Asia.

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