IUCN | International Organizations

IUCN or the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is the world’s largest and most important conservation network. It brings together 83 States, 110 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.


The World Conservation Union was founded in October 1948 as the International Union for the Protection of Nature (or IUPN) following an international conference in Fontainebleau, France. The organization changed its name to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1956. Since 1990, it is known by the name the World Conservation Union.

IUCN and its significance in today’s scenario

The idea of conserving the environment has steadily gained political acceptance over the past few decades. Nevertheless, people still underestimate and ignore the goods and services that nature provide to us. For example, today, 16,119 species of animals and plants face the threat of extinction and many ecosystems – wetlands, forests – are being degraded and destroyed, and all this while we know that natural ecosystems are extremely essential for the survival of life on earth.

The mission of IUCN is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

What Does IUCN do? 

IUCN supports and develops cutting-edge conservation science; implements this research in field projects around the world; and then links both research and results to local, national, regional and global policy by convening dialogues between governments, civil society and the private sector. The Union is actively engaged in managing and restoring ecosystems and improving people’s lives, economies and societies. As the world’s largest environmental knowledge network, the Union has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. The Union also has the official status of Observer at the United Nations General Assembly.

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