Hawaii to host World Conservation Congress in 2016

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will hold its 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Hawaii.

This will be the first time a U.S. location is hosting the WCC since IUCN’s inception in 1948.

“This is both an honor and opportunity for us to show the entire conservation community, the world over, how Hawaii has adopted a leadership role in preserving and protecting resources, developing sustainability programs on multiple-fronts, and addressing many of the issues associated with global climate change,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie said Hawaii was widely recognized as an ideal venue and supported by President Obama.

As many as 8,000 delegates are expected to attend.

In February 2014, a four-person delegation from IUCN visited Hawaii for one week. The delegation toured natural and cultural sites on three islands (Hawaii Island, Oahu, and Kauai) and held meetings with government, non-government organizations, non-profit and private industry representatives who will be involved in the planning and execution of the 2016 gathering.

The state Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will continue to lead a multi-agency, private-public sector team up to and through the 2016 World Conservation Congress.

“Hawaii’s unique culture, location and environment are the perfect attributes for this worldwide conference,” said William J. Aila Jr., chairperson of DLNR. “We have a lot to offer in how we manage our limited resources and integrate indigenous knowledge and practices in our changing world.”

Brian Lynx, vice president of meetings, conventions and incentives for the Hawaii Tourism Authority said, “Hawaii’s selection further validates our position as an ideal location for high-level meetings and the cross-pollination of groundbreaking, world-changing vision and ideas. Their confidence in our ability to host a global conference of this scale is no doubt bolstered by our reputation for successfully handling other conventions of this scope and importance.”

Lynx said the economic impact is estimated at $37.7 million in visitor spending and $3.6 million in tax revenue.

IUCN World Conservation Congress’ has two main parts. The Forum is a hub of public debate bringing together people from all walks of life to discuss the world’s most pressing conservation issues. There will be many events that allow participants to explore the depths of conservation and innovation. The Members’ Assembly is IUCN’s highest decision-making body. A unique global environmental parliament, it involves governments and NGOs (non-government organizations) – large and small, national and international – making joint decisions.

The WCC is held every four years and is considered the only global summit that represents every aspect of conservation and aims to improve management of our natural environment for human, social and economic development.

For more information on the International Union for Conservation of Nature, visit its official website.

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