IUCN is a democratic membership Union which brings together the world’s most influential organisations in a combined effort to conserve nature and accelerate the transition to sustainable development. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its 1,300 Member organisations and the input of more than 10,000 experts. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. The IUCN European Regional Office represents 344 Members (2019), to include 32 Governments, 312 CSOs, Zoos, Academic Institutions, Foundations, Research Institutes and Museums. We provide regional and global services to the Union, by providing vital linkages to EU institutions and other stakeholders in Brussels. Our primary role is to connect and engage in policy dialogues with European institutions, governments, civil society, NGOs, science and the business communities to improve conservation policy and action. As a science-based organisation, IUCN provides essential knowledge products for a broad range of policy debates. The Brussels office focuses on issues such as biodiversity, climate change, nature conservation and supporting business, governments and civil society to integrate ecosystem services in decision making and practice. IUCN provides knowledge and tools to create awareness of the values of nature and capacity building. Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a key component of IUCN European Regional Office’s work, actively raising awareness of the many socio-economic and environmental benefits of NbS and their contribution to sustainable development, as well as providing support and guidance on their implementation. Currently, IUCN is developing a global Nature-based Solutions Standard – to promote the upscaling of NBS across sectors and in partnership with business, governments and civil society. We also advocate for Members at the EU level in case of urgent policy developments at national or local level. IUCN is a founding partner of the Natural Capital Coalition which unites the global natural capital community. The Coalition is made up of over 300 organizations who together represent all parts of society and span the global economy. Coalition organizations have united under a common vision of a world that conserves and enhances natural capital. The European Regional Office is engaged in a range of policy areas and projects. For instance, the well-known European Red List of Threatened Species helps to inform policy makers as well as the general public on the status of species in Europe. Our cooperation with local and regional authorities to promote NbS, highlights the pioneering role of IUCN in attracting new audiences to biodiversity conservation. Behind and in front of the scenes, we continue to support and push for a rapid implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement as well as the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. BUSINESS COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Globally, the IUCN Business and Biodiversity Programme focuses on three key areas of work to drive the changes required to deliver on IUCN’s global conservation and sustainable development goals. These include: 1. Valuing biodiversity 2. Promoting biodiversity net gain 3. Investing in nature IUCN seeks to build an action-based relationship with business that goes beyond Corporate Social Responsibility obligations, addressing the root causes of environmental degradation. The Global Business and Biodiversity Programme provides a wide range of expertise. It builds bridges between stakeholders, carries out independent scientific assessments, and develops conservation policy standards and tools. IUCN's Business Engagement Strategy and its related Operational Guidelines help outline and monitor IUCN’s engagements. IUCN provides knowledge products and tools to help businesses and policy makers adopt practices that conserve nature and generate benefits for people who depend on natural resources. To browse these products and tools, please visit the Business and Biodiversity Programme Resources section. Nature is essential to the future of the planet, however the loss of nature in the last 50 years has increased drastically. In addition, natural resources are being used up faster than the Earth can replace. More attention is needed for the value of natural capital. According to the latest Global Risk Report 2020 of the World Economic Forum, environmental risks continue to dominate the global business and economic agenda, with the top five risks extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters. Given the environmental crisis and the different challenges we face nowadays, we need to fundamentally change our relationship with nature from exploitation to sustainable use. Economic development which disregards nature conservation is self‐defeating. Generally the understanding and focus of economic development is narrowly conceived and fails to recognise that all economies are dependent on living within Earth’s planetary boundaries. There is a mismatch risk associated with the survival of the business model and its corresponding sustainability in the medium and long term. These changing global climate risks (Climate Change, nature degradation, biodiversity loss etc.) are not currently considered as a principal risk to the business model and just the most significant impacts, environmental legislations and extreme weather conditions have been identified. All businesses rely on natural resources for their production processes and depend on healthy ecosystems, therefore through understanding and considering the risks and opportunities created by nature, businesses can make better decisions that benefit themselves, society and the planet as a whole. Considering the growing risk of climate change and natural disasters, there is a clear sense of urgency to integrate nature into the decision making processes of the public and private sector, accelerating the mainstreaming through different approaches such as natural capital assessment, natural capital accounting (NCA), Nature-based Solutions (NbS), Green infrastructure (GI) and ecosystem-based approaches, which can contribute to a sustainable and resilient economy. The global economy in general and the business community in particular are part of the problem and they are also part of the solution, therefore the business community has a critical role to play in demonstrating that the safeguarding of nature makes economic sense and the global economic prosperity relies on a healthy planet. Without a strong commitment from the business sector, nature conservation becomes more difficult. To foster a sense of shared ownership over the agreements and outcomes, the conservation community and private sector can benefit pursing a joint action.
The Shift helpt leden gebruik maken van het globaal kader van de UN Sustainable Development Goals om hun maatschappelijke ambities in kaart te brengen.
11. Sustainable cities and communities
Natural areas in and around cities provide important benefits and services to society, including climate regulation, disaster risk reduction, and food and water supply. They also support the mental and physical health of urban and rural inhabitants. As cities continue to expand into natural areas, there is an urgent need to secure the continued delivery of these benefits through appropriate urban planning and management approaches. IUCN works with governments, the private sector and the scientific community to develop and implement cost-effective ‘nature-based solutions’ to urban challenges – actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore ecosystems.
13. Climate action
Ecosystems play a critical role in regulating the world’s climate through their function as ‘natural carbon sinks’. Healthy ecosystems also help vulnerable communities adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and offer protection against climate-related disasters. IUCN assesses the risks that species and ecosystems face from climate change, and develops conservation responses to these. It also advances practical ‘nature-based solutions’ to tackling climate change based on the effective conservation, management and restoration of the world’s ecosystems. IUCN’s work in this area aims to benefit humans and ecosystems alike, taking into account the needs of the most vulnerable, including women and indigenous peoples.
6. Clean water and sanitation
Nature provides the infrastructure needed to supply clean water for human use in daily subsistence, agriculture and energy generation. At the same time, secure water supplies are needed to maintain healthy water-related ecosystems. Pollution, deforestation and climate change are having devastating impacts on these ecosystems. This leads to water scarcity, which may contribute to conflicts within and between countries. IUCN protects and restores ecosystems and ensures effective management of water resources to secure clean water for its myriad of uses by society.
14. Life below water
Over three billion people depend on coastal and marine biodiversity for food and income. However, coastal, marine and polar ecosystems are under threat from over-exploitation of resources, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change. This has negative impacts on species, ecosystems and ecological processes, reducing fish stocks and increasing extreme weather events and plastic contamination. IUCN works to ensure that the biodiversity and productivity of coastal, marine and polar ecosystems are restored and maintained, and that their resources are used sustainably and equitably.
15. Life on land
Sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems helps mitigate climate change and supports the livelihoods, health and well-being of millions of people around the world. Terrestrial biodiversity faces a number of threats, however, including overexploitation, invasive species and climate change. As a result, species extinctions are currently occurring one thousand times faster than the natural rate. About 30% of land is degraded, leading to declines in agricultural productivity and outputs. IUCN works to conserve terrestrial ecosystems by assessing species’ extinction risk, improving land use management and restoring degraded landscapes.
17. Partnerships for the goals
Strong partnerships between governments, donors, the private sector and local communities are necessary to conserve ecosystems and the services and benefits they provide to support humans and wildlife. IUCN is a global union composed of both governments and civil society organisations. Working with governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities and indigenous peoples’ organisations, IUCN generates knowledge and informs policy, as well as institutional and financial measures, to ensure nature conservation and the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources.