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IUCN ‘conservation Olympics’ starts in South Korea

We’re all in this together. Photo courtesy NASA.

Global environmental issues on the agenda at conservation summit in South Korea

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — When it comes to the global environment, there’s no shortage of issues to discuss, so delegates to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s quadrennial summit meeting should have plenty to talk about the next 10 days.

This edition of the congress starts today on on Jeju Island, South Korea, with 8,000 people from more than 170 countries on-hand to tackle some of the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet. The congress brings together government and non-governmental organizations, scientists, business and community leaders.

Follow the proceedings at the IUCN’s twitter hub.

“Nature is inherently strong, but we must improve how quickly nature and people adapt to change,” said IUCN director-general Julia Marton-Lefèvre. “If we strengthen nature, we’ll see that ecosystems are more resilient and people, communities and economies are healthier.”

Along with updates to the IUCN Red List of endangered species, the agenda includes discussions on growing threats to tuna populations, new data on coral reef destruction and the urgent need to stop countries making false claims on ocean protection.

Some local issues are also on the table, with Korean and German experts debating how to use the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, and its surprisingly intact nature, to promote peace, referencing experiences from the former iron curtain. Across the border, replanting and rehabilitating the destroyed forests of North Korea will also be addressed.

Some key themes:

• Conservation works: “The slowness of global decision making on environmental issues belies what’s really happening on the ground. Many local results show that investing in nature and restoring natural areas brings social and economic returns. Even if every success isn’t replicable across all ecosystems, cultures or political systems, they point the way to making nature more resilient globally,”

~Enrique Lahmann, IUCN Congress Director.

• Nature provides solutions to climate change adaptation. “Ecosystem-based adaptation is a cost effective, no-regrets solution that governments ought to incorporate proactively into national policies and take immediate action to implement on the ground,” Improving the management of river systems, coral reefs, mangroves and forests all tangibly improve the resilience of neighboring communities to deal with both the sudden and long-term consequences of climate change.”

~ Chong-Chun Kim, Secretary General of the Korean Organizing Committee. “

Nature+ is about boosting natural resilience. “Nature is inherently strong, but we must improve how quickly nature and people adapt to change. “If we strengthen nature, we’ll see that ecosystems are more resilient and people, communities and economies are healthier.”

~ Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN.

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