The Hawaii Conservation Alliance is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
is made up of 10,000 individuals belonging to 1,300 governmental and civil organizations, which aid public, private, and non-governmental groups in their efforts to integrate human progress, economic growth, and the conservation of nature.
As the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, the IUCN uses their knowledge and expertise to assess the state of the world’s natural resources. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. Experts are organized into six commissions dedicated to:
- species survival
- environmental law
- protected areas
- social and economic policy
- ecosystem management
- education and communication
In 2016, the IUCN held its World Conservation Congress in Oahu – the theme was ‘Planet at the Crossroads.’ This theme reflected the decisions and actions that need to be made worldwide in order to reverse the decline of the environment. The Congress provided a unique opportunity for diverse voices to collaborate and find solutions for pressing environmental issues. Out of the 2016 WCC, the Hawaiʻi Commitments were born.
From the Hawaiʻi Commitements: “Hawaiʻi in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, provided a special context for the 2016 World Conservation Congress, infusing it with the Aloha spirit and the tradition of living in harmony with nature. Aloha ʻĀina, an inherent part of the traditions and customs of Native Hawaiians, embodies the mutual respect for one another and a commitment of service to the natural world. This island context highlighted three critical issues for conservation in the coming decades:
- The nexus between biological and cultural diversity, and how their conservation and sustainability requires a combination of traditional wisdom and modern knowledge.
- The significance of the world’s ocean for biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
- The threats to biodiversity from habitat loss, climate change, invasive alien species, unsustainable exploitation, and pollution.
These issues are shared throughout the world, and the Congress provided an opportunity to examine nature-based, life-affirming solutions and the roles of governments, civil society and the private sector in their development and delivery. Embodying Aloha ʻĀina globally will help address the tremendous environmental challenges we face.
The Opportunities Identified by the Congress
To achieve the transformation required to promote a ‘Culture of Conservation’, while respecting human rights and gender equity, we need to support and build constituencies for nature, and to address the way human societies are changing nature and our world.
With the Hawaiʻi Commitments, we have made a promise to create a stronger culture of conservation as well as address the challenges of a planet at the crossroads. We believe that by linking spirituality, religion, culture, and conservation, and engaging and empowering our youth, we can better promote a culture of conservation. To address the challenges of a planet of a crossroads, we must address the challenges of sustaining the global food supply and conserving nature, preserving the health of the world ocean, ending wildlife trafficking, engaging with the private sector, and climate change.
“Our problems are complex, values are contested, and the future uncertain. Strong partnerships are needed to implement conservation at the scales required. We need to broaden and deepen the global dialogue about how we relate to nature, motivate collective action, and ensure that nature-based solutions are fair, just, and enduring. The conservation community will meet these challenges emboldened by the creativity of human imagination, empowered by scientific and traditional knowledge, and inspired by the spirit of Aloha ʻĀina.”
If you are interested in becoming a member of the IUCN or any of the related commissions, visit the Make a Difference on the IUCN website.
Members of several different organizations throughout the state of Hawaiʻi have formed the IUCN Hawaiʻi Hui in an effort to continue the work done in Hawaiʻi since the 2016 WCC and uphold the Hawaiʻi Commitments. If you would like to get involved in this group, please email either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to request an invitation to join the IUCN HawaiʻI Hui Google Group. All official communications will be sent through this group in order to consolidate communications.