Happy Birthday IUCN! The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 70th anniversary was celebrated in style by the IUCN National Committee UK and guests in London on the 2nd May 2018. Hosted by new IUCN Member the Margaret Pyke Trust and Population Sustainability Network at the Finsbury Circus offices of supporting partner law firm Stephenson Harwood, delegates were treated to a variety of excellent speakers and special guest, UK Government Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey.
In addition to congratulating IUCN on its 70th anniversary and affirming the renewed engagement of her department in IUCN matters, Minister Coffey reminded delegates of the UK Government’s manifesto commitment to “leave the UK environment in a better state than we inherited it”, highlighting the recently published ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’ as the mechanism to do so. NCUK CEO Chris Mahon spoke of the visit, saying “Minister Coffey’s attendance was much appreciated by those present. She had a very full Parliamentary schedule as usual and it showed some considerable commitment to fit us in, for which we are very grateful. IUCN has a unique partnership between its State Members and its NGO Members so it is important to renew that special relationship whenever we can.”
The Minister also took this opportunity to show support for one of the National Committee’s projects, the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, seen here with its Chair, Rob Stoneman from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and NCUK Chair Stuart Brooks. The new Peatland Strategy 2018-2040 was launched recently in York with a new Vision and has a target of achieving two million hectares of peatland in good condition under restoration or being sustainably managed by 2040 see more at the Peatland Programme website
The day comprised of four sessions on the themes of Nature and Human Wellbeing; Linking Spirituality, Religion, Culture and Conservation; Urban Dimensions and Livelihoods; and wrapping up with a summary on reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals. You can see the IUCN70 final programme 2 and speakers biographies here. There were very good panel sessions where speakers took questions from the floor. Presentations from the event will be uploaded shortly and available here.
Feedback so far has been enormously positive – “It gave me a much needed boost. So great to hear such inspirational stories. New connections too. Also good to relax with people with similar values” and “what a pleasure the day was ……….thank you for putting such wonderful people together – that makes a great difference to the world!” and “a creative, inspiring and worthwhile event” as some examples.
The event also provided the opportunity for the National Committee to hold its Annual General Meeting and you can find papers for this here, including the 2018 AGM agenda, 2017 AGM and Members Meeting minutes and the CEO report for the reporting year.
The networking and catering were all excellent and all the breaks were alive with the sounds of people making connections. It wouldn’t be a birthday celebration without a birthday cake and a highlight of the day was enjoying a suziebakescakes creation to mark the occasion. Happy Birthday IUCN!